La Maruja and La Guita 

Another fascinating side by side (aka excuse to drink two quality wines together). And these are two quality Sanlucar wines. The Maruja manzanilla pasada (april 2017) and the La Guita en rama (october 2015). 

For all that they have in common they are also quite different: the Guita (probably the younger wine) is deeper in colour, higher and more chalky/metallic in register and maybe a little warm and briney in the finish, while the Maruja is more savoury, more intense, is slippier and has a little more herbal breadth, with the salinity coming across as spicey rather than hot. 

I personally am a big fan of La Guita – it really has a unique chalky character – and am really looking forward to the new batch this winter but frankly I doubt that this bottle of La Maruja will even make it to next week … 

Manzanilla Pasada Maruja 

One of my favourite examples of one of my favourite styles of wine. From Juan Piñero in Sanlucar this is one of the older, more intense manzanilla pasadas around. In fact at a recent dinner I had the chance to try it against some other top examples and it blew them away (a great example of the advantage of opening several bottles at once, as if any excuse were needed).

It is a rich colour and has intense yeast, spice and herb aromas. Then on the palate searing, zingy salinity and savoury, spicey flavour, with just a hint of ftuitlike sweetness, like potatoes in a rich spicey tomato sauce. Hint of curry to it in fact. Then a finish that still sizzles. 

Just what I needed after a tough day. A beautiful wine.

Corral de la Moreria: The greatest show on earth 

A magical evening last night at the Corral de la Moreria in every sense. I had seen flamenco before but this was a different level, in fact a different game altogether. While we watched we tucked into an absolutely first class dinner – including certainly the finest pigeon I have ever tasted – served with incredible efficiency and dexterity by waiters cunningly crouched down low so as not to obscure the view of the show. And the wines were not only individually outstanding – just look at that lineup – but perfectly matched. 

If anything it was just too much: my tiny mind could not take it all in. Even had I been able to follow everything that was taking place on stage and simultaneously appreciate the superb cooking, the wines were just excessive, culminating in a final three of Palo Cortado Privilegio, the 1946 Convento Don PX and the Toneles. How does a fella even begin to describe all that? 

An unforgettable experience. Really exceptional.

Manzanilla Elias Superior

According to the back label, this has the “flavour of a sunset over the Doñana plain, on the banks of the Guadalquivir river.” If you haven’t been there you won’t appreciate quite what a big call that is – one of the finest sunsets I have seen. 

And although this kind of wine lavel poetry normally leaves me inclined to resort to base prose on this occasion it can be justified (even if not forgiven) because this wine is cracking. The big brother of a manzanilla I tried for the first time recently this is a step up in salinity and intensity, with a deeper colour, more pronounced zingy salinity and flavours of slightly bitter burnt almonds and even a touch of liquorice root.

Absolutely cracking with some spicey patatas bravas at Territorio Era. 

El Majuelo, Vinagre de Jerez, 10 años

This here is as different from your “vinegar flavoured condiment” that it is possible to get. This here, is the real thing.

A generous gift from a friend (searching on line to find out more about it I discovered how generous) this is a limited, numbered edition 10 year old “gran reserva” vinegar, here being utterly wasted on a mixed salad by the ignoramus responsible for this blog. (Having said that, ever since I have been wracking my tiny brain for suggestions of what dish is good enough for such a vinegar, with no luck so far).

How to describe it? Well it is to your standard white wine vinegar what a VORS oloroso is to a mosto – incomparably more intense. Full bodied and dark in color, it has the most unbelievable aroma (I knew I had made a mistake right away) and is even more incisive taste wise. A really intense experience.

Really worth looking out for this stuff – a really eye opener.




Dulce de Añada 2014

The last wine from a spectacular lunch with Bodegas Alvear a couple of weeks ago was this fantastic sweet wine. 

It is a dulce de añada, a sweet wine made from pedro ximenez from the 2014 vintage. Grapes that have spent 7-14 days on the pasera, been pressed through capazos and then aged in tinajas. 

It is really top class. A rich hazelnut in colour, clear as a bell and extremely appetising, it has a nose that in addition to sultana fruit has smokey aromas and even cigarrette tobacco.

On the palate at first it seems all fruit with beautiful clarity and freshness – the harvest conserved in alcohol as they say. But then you notice the nice acidity and the sharp mineral freshness to it. Then at the finish it is salty and white pepper spicey. Makes it light and fresh over all – you would never guess that this was 16% or had 400 grammes of sugar per liter. 

A fantastic end to a fantastic lunch. One of the best sweet wines I have ever tried. 

Lacum Listán Dulce 2014

A sweet wine from palomino fino (listán Sanluqueño) that I was first told had been aged in Sanlucar in old oloroso barrels but I have since been corrected – inox all the way.

I have only ever had a couple of sweet palomino wines and haven’t really warmed to them. (In fact to be honest I am not the biggest fan of sweet wines in general.)

This has a nose of sweet tomatoes and a nice mineral, sweet herb sweetness on the palate. It has a nice texture and isn’t over the top in sugar or alcohol, but for me lacks a bit of acidity up-front and has a slightly sticky bitterness – like biting tomato seeds – on the finish. Comes across as a bit heavy and a bit two ended – no real shape to it. 

File this one under interesting.