Oloroso Pata de Gallina, Lustau/Juan García Jarana

I am a big fan of this wine and it is one of the great values available – really very cheap indeed for what it is, and very hard to resist when you come across a bottle.

It is a dark dark colour here and looks for all the world like one of these very concentrated olorosos but the nose doesn’t give you wood and leather but toffee, nuts burnt caramel and mineral smokiness. Then on the palate it is fatty and full bodied, even maybe to the point of being a little heavy, and it is full of flavour, with a nice acidic attack, nice caramel to burnt caramel flavours and a spicey and racey finish. Not too bitter and astringent, in fact quite a sticky sweet finish.

Hedonistic wine, even if the bottle is rather small.

Oloroso la Cigarrera

If you look closely at the picture you will see a reflection of the photographer off the wine glass. If you look even closer, you will see the wine glass reflecting off the forehead of the photographer. Even closer etc …

But more important than the photography, here we have a very enjoyable Sanlucar oloroso. It is a disconcerting class of wine because they are unlike their more plentiful Jerez brethren – specifically they tend to be much lighter and slightly more saline. 

This is no exception. As you can see, a nice sandy/auburn colour, it is nicely aromatic with nuts, a little bit of volatile, coffee granules and a suggestion of haybales (on the label there is a reference to time under flor?). On the palate again it is has that bit of volatile acidity and is light and airy, lightly roasted nuts again. 

Very decent – an easy wine to pair, or indeed to drink on its own. I had it with callos a la tailandesa in Territorio Era. 

CGWF17: Part 4 – the Barajuelas 

I have written about these wines before but would never miss the opportunity to have another dig, so when I heard the capsule coming off from across the room – even early doors – my feet seemed to move by themselves.

First the Fino 2013, a wine with a massive range from low to high, with a yeasty fruity nose, big intense concentrated fruit, sharp, deep salinity and a crisp finish. A fruit full fino, or a superpotent white wine with added mineral kick. Absolute belter whatever you call it.

Second, the as yet unreleased Oloroso 2013 – here the minerals are turned down a touch but if the fino was full bodied this is immense. That oxidation is still getting to grips with the wine – not caramel juice here just concentrated fruit with a bit of burn to it. Above all there is an impression of solidity about this wine. Love it and hope it will be released soon.

Not a bad breakfast by any standards. 

CGWF17: Part 2 – Zerej Volume II 

There is a lot to like about Armando Guerra’s Zerej releases, of which this is the second.

The first volume would be a few years ago now and was something of a pioneer: a boxed set of four magnums of wines for with different amounts of biological ageing, accompanied by an explanatory booklet. The idea is for a group of friends to hammer their way through the four magnums and the booklet and by so doing learn about the miracle of the flor. I never tried it but would have loved it – and the format (in particular the magnums) is dead right.

The second volume is the oxidative ageing version and now Armando Guerra has the full might of Barbadillo behind him, so your box includes magnums of a white wine (in the style of Mirabras), an amontillado (think Principe de Barbadillo), an oloroso (the classic Cuco) and a stately old palo cortado (Obispo Gascon). This time around I did get the chance to try them, although not without some difficulty: on the day the man was absolutely mobbed as the locals piled in.

They are classic wines, full of the spikey character I associate with Barbadillo. Really interesting too to be able to taste the spicey, vegetable white wine and see the evolution in that character. They also undoubtedly serve their educational purpose – particularly if you had the discipline to wade through the accompanying literature – although for my money more an illustration of classic styles than the effects purely of oxidative ageing (I wouldn’t mind seeing the same wine with six, twelve and eighteen years of oxidation, say).

Not sure how many of these sets there are, but given Barbadillo’s distribution muscle there must be a chance of this being available internationally. I certainly hope so – there are too few opportunities to sit down with four magnums of sherry and a few mates!

Oloroso Mar 7

Rounding off a cracking lunch at Territorio Era with this Sanlucar oloroso from Mar 7. (In fact we had something after but this was the last sherry.) Not sure about the details of the wine but I would guess it has an average age of 15 years or so. 

It is a beautiful deep brown colour and has a saline, haybale, nutty nose. Nice and sharp on the palate but not excessively so, and attractive salty, nutty flavour to it. Not huge in profile or body either – a smooth, elegant, slightly smokey oloroso. 
Very tasty and very handy as a table wine.

Oloroso Extra Viejo 1/7 Maestro Sierra 

After two quite magnificent Sanlucar wines (La Bota de Palo Cortado 41 – on the right in the picture above – and Amontillado Muy Viejo Don Paco) my week of sobriety’s horse has now bolted and rather than sit in an empty stable I am going to chase it downhill with this meaty old Jerez oloroso.

Even older than the others, with an average age north of 80 years, the contrast in styles is really fascinating. Compared to its old muckers from Sanlucar, here the nose has less salinity and ozone and far more polish and walnut. It is said to be a “fine” style of oloroso and it has tremendous elegance but it also has a much fuller palate of burnt caramel and spicey tobacco – with a dustier, tobacco finish.

Really excellent, maybe the best of the three, but time for something a little less potent or my evening will be over quickly!

Oloroso Extra Viejo 1/7 El Maestro Sierra

If for any reason you are averse to late night liquids then look away now because this juice is fully nocturnal. It is absolutely a vampire-like, bitter brooding negative version of your day wines, with its furniture polish, sawdust and burnt caramel aroma, bitter bite and walnut wood and tobacco flavours.

I opened this and wrote about it way back in April and have been back to the well several times since. It is intense, and bitter, and there is no doubt you have to be in the right frame of mind (don’t try this lad as an aperitif), but for those moments of silence when everyone else is in bed and the only sound is the sporadic hammering of the laptop keyboard what a wine it is.