Amontillado Viejo Hidalgo y Cia

I am really not sure what happened here. I can clearly remember writing a blog post about a very enjoyable lunch with Jens Riis at Angelita and about how this wine was class but a bit long in the glass (it is a bottle from October 2007 which I got from the guys at Vila Vinoteca).  But then when I happened to open the blog this morning the post had gone.

It is not the first time it has happened. Other posts have disappeared in equally mysterious circumstances, and neither is it the most serious: the post about the first time I tried the Encrucijado 2012 is missing without trace and given how unique that wine was, and how much of an eye opener tasting it was, I feel the absence keenly.

It is nevertheless very annoying and also quite curious – when I look at my twitter timeline I see that the now empty link to the blog post has been retweeted numerous times. It is almost as if people retweet based on the picture without reading the post first!



Cream Santa Petronila 

Another wine from remarkable little Santa Petronila, this time the cream. As readers of this blog will know, with few exceptions creams are not exactly my bag.

I don’t really know a lot about this one so can’t tell you age or blend or the like. What I can tell you is that it is an attractive red in color, perhaps a touch murky (everything is en rama without the slightest filtration), and like the oloroso and the palo cortado has a slightly sharp, acidic character to it. That acidity gives it a nice attack that is less syrupy than many creams on the palate, and although the orangey, sugary fruit catches up with you it too is relatively light in profile, there is just a touch of bitter chocolate flavour that gives it a nice balance and on the whole it is a lot fresher than you might expect.

Not bad at all: we had this with Miguelitos de la Roda in Territorio Era bit I bet it would be cracking with some ham.

El Muelle de Olaso 2016

A dry white palomino wine from the Corregidor vineyard on Pago Carrascal.

Corregidor is the source of the two most exciting wines from Jerez at the moment – the Barajuela Fino and Oloroso – and this wine is the little brother of those two giants. It is made 80% from grapes collected/discarded while “clearing” the vines in the months prior to harvest and 20% from the mosto used for the Barajuela itself. And even better, there is a lot more of it: whereas the Fino and Oloroso are about as common as singing unicorns there are no fewer than 10,000 bottles of this. It is fermented in Bota de Jerez and then spends six months in stainless steel.

Curiously, despite coming from prime Jerez real estate the name of the wine is a reference to a landmark not of Jerez but of Sanlucar: el Muelle de Olaso, or Olaso dock. A pier built from concrete between 1911-22 on Bajo de Guia and used for many years by the shipping lines before being demolished in 2005. A symbol of Sanlucar’s past importance in exports for the region.

I have only had this in convivial occasions and it contributed significantly to each – a really fun wine. What strikes me is the relatively sparky acidity and the richness of the fruit on the palate. It is quite a lively lemon yellow color and has a really nice nose with almost tropical fruit like pineapple, then it is a big juicy mouthful but still fresh thanks to that sparkiness up front and a faintly mineral finish.

Very drinkable indeed – in fact maybe even better than that because this is a serious wine, and while I don’t often talk about prices on this blog this is cheap as chips – less than a tenner. No excuse for not getting stuck into this this summer people.

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.

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. 

Fino Santa Petronila 

Santa Petronila is said to be the smallest bodega in el Marco de Jerez and it is certainly one of the newest. They also have a small but very vocal group of supporters, and seem to at least say the right things. 

Although the majority of their wine today is acquired from the cooperative, I gather they have a small vineyard and intend to vertically integrate over time. In that regard they are in the right place geographically – either in or near Macharnudo depending on who you listen to – and where they are well ahead is in the tourist side of the business. They give a great tour (maybe hence the passionate support) and you can even stay the night there. 
Most importantly, the wines have a bit of character about them. For my money this, the fino, is the strongest of their wines, but they are all worth trying.

And this glass of fino was a very nice way to start a bite of lunch in Territorio Era with my countryman Nick Drinkwater of Quaff Spain (and Devour Madrid). It is from a saca on December 3, 2016 but had evolved quite a bit in the nearly seven months since. The colour, as you can see, is a dark amber (somewhere between this one with three months in the bottle and this one with ten) then it has a big expressive nose on it with a touch of oxidation – hay bales, salty air, yeasty aromas and sweetish roast apples. A similar story on the palate too: nice crisp salinity, then a tasty mouthful of yeasty, crusty bread and roast apple with a long smoky, mouthwatering finish.

Funny looking back at those other tasting notes from three and ten months – based on the description I would say that this wine is right in the sweetspot. It certainly didn’t last long on the day.


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.