I had another glass of this at the bar of Angelita and it left me in two minds.
On the one hand, I feel privileged to have had the chance to try another glass. It confirmed my growing impression that it is a wine of some stature and getting better: an aromatic butterscotch and hazelnut on the nose, zingy acidity and more butterscotch on the palate and a sapid finish.
On the other hand, it depressed me to find that such a wine hadn’t been exhausted long ago. I wrote about this wine being available by the glass in Angelita on March 15, and even given the diminute reach of this below average blog it is shocking to me that the half dozen or so readers didn’t tool up there and drain the swamp in the nearly two months since. You hear a lot about the “sherry revolution” these days and you can’t chuck a half brick in Madrid without inadvertently vandalizing a so-called “sherry temple”, but here we have a bona fide cathedral to wine and on its list they have one of the most exciting wines being made, in tiny amounts, in the sherry triangle, and in two months they haven’t sold out. There really can only be two causes: people are not going to Angelita as much as they should (a scandal itself in my view) and those that do are not trying the right wine. It is enough to make a fella weep.
Let’s be clear: if you love wine, you should be supporting places like Angelita and the other fantastic bars and restaurants that Madrid is blessed with; and if you want to understand anything about the “sherry revolution” that is possible, you should be trying wines like Encrucijado.
I am pretty sure this is the first Cabernet Sauvignon on this blog and it is another of the fresh and inventive wines from the guys at Forlong in Cadiz. I first tried it at the Cuatrogatos Wine Fest a while ago and had another chance to have a closer look this week.
As you can see it is a clear pink/orange or orange/pink – maybe pink/gold. The nose is floral and summery fruit but also has some nice dairy and bakery notes. On the palate it is fresh on entry, maybe even has a bit of zingy salinity, a nice buttery texture, some summery red fruit and a bit of undergrowth. Again a fresh, slightly mineral finish with notes of baked fruit.
One of the top cabernet sauvignon wines I have tried from Cadiz, no doubt.
Some final great memories from the Cuatrogatos Wine Fest in Puerto de Santa Maria. Hard to believe that it is already a couple of weeks ago (a fine testament to the velocity with which I write up my posts). It was billed as wine and laughter and vice versa and delivered on both promises.
For a start, some absolutely cracking wines you can drink by the gallon from makers like:
- Jose Crusat (Entre os Ríos) and his fantastic range of wild and woolly whites including the leesy and buzzy Altares de Postmarcos, the super sharp Vulpes Vulpes, his two wild albariños Komokabras Yellow and Green, an even wilder one with time in a tinaja and a funky ancestral called “Bubbles from Rivendell” (which I missed out on on the day);
- German R. Blanco and his range of reds from across the North, including juicy fresh Quinta Milú and La Cometa, increasingly refined mencias from Altos de San Esteban the fascinating range of parcel specific wines from Casa Aurora, and his new Rioja, La Bicicleta Voladora (which I again missed out on on the day – you snooze, you looze);
- Javier Castro and Sonia López (Bodega Ziríes) and their garnachas from Toledo – four wines that were in turns mineral, fresh, aromatic, concentrated and expressive;
- Beatriz Herranz, the “Verdejusticiera” (Verdejo law maker) from Barco del Corneta with what are probably the best wines being made in Rueda, mineral and rich, serious stuff, and also a really interesting palomino (Bruto);
- Cristina Carrillo (Bodega Finca Fuentegalana), whose stand seemed to be mobbed every time I stepped near it (to the point where I could only try one wine at a time) had a really interesting stuff range of wines from albillo to shiraz; and
- many other cracking bodegas (I would write them all up if I was a half decent blogger/had time), including Xabier Sanz and his fantastic feathered friends from Navarra (Viña Zorzal), Eulogio Pomares and Rebeca Montero, Miguel Montoto and Inma Pazos (Vinos de Miguel: Coto de Gomariz, Ailalá y Vinos de Encostas); Xurxo Alba (Albamar); Charlotte Allen (Almaroja); Verónica Ortega (Verónica Ortega); Cuatro Ojos Wines, Clos Lentiscus, Casa Castillo – the list could go on and on.
There was plenty of laughter too. Shouldn’t really have been a surprise given that we were all there thanks to the genial Federico but in addition to it was genuinely a fun place to spend the day.
And for me it was a fascinating and inspiring day. When you think about it wine making is miraculous – and I refer to all winemaking, not just the water into wine at wedding stuff – and to me there is something not quite canny about winemakers – people that can look at a vine and consider how to prune it, how many leaves and bunches it can support, when to harvest the fruit etc, let alone all the decisions and judgments needed thereafter in terms of cepage, batonnage, barrel age, and other words ending in age. It requires a lot of knowledge, skill and, frankly, hard work and I find it extraordinarily inspiring to chat to really good winemakers and let the technical knowledge wave over me. When they are as friendly and generous as this bunch were it makes for a really uplifting and educational experience.
Another taste of this – currently available by the glass at Angelita – and it seems to be improving by the day. I enjoyed it the first time I was able to try it a couple of months ago, but really enjoyed it in Palo Cortado at last week’s tasting and am loving this too. Seems a sharper, more defined entry and then that elegant, butterscotch structure.
Really worth trying if you get the chance so get down to Angelita! (On the other hand, looks like it is getting better in the bottle so mine is staying buried in the minibar.)
Here it is, the second edition of the most unique wine being made in el marco.
It is by Ramiro Ibañez‘s Cota 45 label and is an evolution of the Encrucijado 2012: whereas that was 50% palomino and had six varietals in total (10% each of Beba, Cañocazo, Mantuo Pilas (aka “Uva Rey”), Mantuo Castellana and Perruno) this is 40% “Uva Rey”, 40% Perruno and only 20% Palomino. The fruit was dried in the sun for two days to bring up concentration, fermented in bota, given a couple of months on the lees and then two more years in bota – including four months or so under flor. I am not sure of the historic back story but the back label has a reference to the old classifications of rayas, palmas and cortados, of which this would presumably be a cortado.
Dark gold in colour and has a spirity, honeysuckle, overripe melon nose. It is fat in texture for a two year old wine and on the palate it has an initial dash of that overripe melon but quickly turns to a grapefruity citrus. It seems more potent than my memory of its predecessor with less butterscotch, more grapefruit bitterness, and more obvious alcohol. However it is sharper in its features and has a more defined, elegant structure to it: there is just a little bit of acidity (some esparto grass from the empty glass at the end?) and a nicely integrated salinity leaving a mouth watering, fresh finish.
Overall this is different, even exciting, enjoyable and feels like it might get better with time. Only just 1,000 bottles made though so get it if you can. (I am having a glass at the bar of Territorio Era, since you ask.)
A much talked about new/old release from Rioja giant CVNE, this is a classic that was discontinued for a good while before being brought back in 2014 to celebrate the centenary of the brand. It gets reported on here because although it is nearly all viura from la Rioja, it has been topped up (somewhere between 15 and 20%) with manzanilla de Sanlucar (and from no less a bodega than Hidalgo-la Gitana). (And because they have it in Territorio Era.)
As you can see it is very very pale in colour. It is possible there is some sea breeze on the nose alongside the peachy, floral viura but I may be imagining it. On the palate again you have a nice combination of white fruit acidity and that touch of salinity – bitey at the front and mouthwatering at the end. The manzanilla definitely adds to the flavour profile too – gives it a bit of savoury depth.
A fresh, tasty and enjoyable wine and a very happy return.
A sought after wine ever since the boys at Can Roca apparently cornered the market in recent years, I have been able to try this – and the Albillo Criollo and the Diego – thanks to David at Territorio Era. Listan blanco (aka our friend the palomino) from old vines about 250-450m above sea level on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands: one of the vineyards with the picturesque little walls to protect the vines from the wind.
So a lot of expectation and it was a very interesting wine alright. Not high acidity but just enough, and nice concentration of over-ripe apple and chemistry-set minerals. Minerals in colours – more dimensions than your standard salinity and steel. Nicely integrated too.
A flavourful and complex wine.