Manzanilla Solear en rama – Spring 2017

My excitement t getting my hands on a first few bottles of the new saca of the Solear en rama manzanilla was tempered by my guilty conscience at the big backlog of draft posts accumulating on the blog, of which this is one. I appreciate that this might be disconcerting, implying as it does that I actually take some time to write these posts (against all evidence to the contrary) but it is true. The silence in social media over the last few weeks was less an indication of monastic self denial and more an indictment of my lack of blogging discipline. In my defense, I would plead that many of the wines in the backlog were knocked back during pretty convivial lunches (many of them, like this one, at Territorio Era) that it would have been a shame to interrupt, however rapid a chap’s thumbs have become over the years.

But enough excuses, this wine deserves a write up, even if it isn’t the first, and even if I don’t have anything useful to add (but after all noone comes here for that). It is one of the most “biological” of the recent sacas – a real buzzy yeasty and salty pungency to the nose that goes beyond sea air and strays over onto rockpools and low tide, and then a very sharp, sizzling profile on the palate. It has that big, spicey and slightly bitter green leaf favor and then again a super fresh, saline finish.

An absolute belter. Bring on summer!


Colet Navazos Reserva Extra Brut 2011 

Really top class Spanish bubbles these: 100% chardonnay from Penedés as the base wine with 41 months of secondary fermentation and rack and licor de expedición made up of manzanilla and manzanilla pasada.

A nice deep, gold color as you can see and tight, well integrated bubbles. Although it is dry it is big and rich in body, and elegantly shaped – not too much of the “diesel” I sometimes find in cavas with a lot of rack time. Maybe a hint of nutty and roasted flavours like an oxidated blanc de blancs, and mouthwatering mineral freshness at the end to make the finish extra clean and fresh.

In fact a great combination of a big tasty wine but with a sharp acidity up front and a fresh salinity behind. Really excellent.



La Bota de Fino 35 – Jerez – five years later

This was one of the first Equipo Navazos magic numbers that I tried back in the day and I had been hanging on to a bottle for nostalgia’s sake, but some recent experiences with bottle aged finos persuaded me to get stuck into it.

And I am glad I did. It is a top quality fino. In aromatic and mineral terms right up there. The nose in particular was fantastic after opening, and it was a lovely bottle to have open (if not for very long).

But I am also glad I opened it now rather than waitig. There is no doubt that these wines – in particular the finos and manzanillas – evolve with the years and I am far from sure that they improve after the first two or three. Comparisons may be odious but when I compare this to the current, absolutely outstanding release from the same source, I find the new wine to have more pep, more body and more all around pizzazz. The flipside of that is that the wine becomes more elegant, more gentle with years, and the time also seems to result in a change in flavour profile from roasted to slightly burnt, bitter almonds.

So a lovely wine opened just in time. How does it evolve once open? Sadly we will never know.

Fino Collecion Añadas 2009, saca de febrero 2017

The Williams Coleccion Añadas were a revelation when they came out last year and although the second saca hasn’t had as much fanfare, for me it may be even better.

It still has the rich colour, the nose of sweet hazelnut (my colleague called tiramisu today which was a great shout) and the salty, nutty potency on the palate, but this to me seems finer and more elegant than the 2016. In particular the finish seems sharper and fresher. 

A lovely wine that is rich and fine at the same time. 

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.