Socaire 2016

There she goes, the third vintage of Chiclana’s finest, and a wine that has in its short history acquired its own cult – socairismo. It is by Primitivo Collantes, a 100% unfortified palomino from the vines on Finca Matalian (I think), fermented and aged for more or less two years in botas that had formerly held Fino Arroyuelo. Not necessarily under flor, bot not necessarily not under flor either: there is definitely a touch of biological on the nose and the palate (although that might be accounted for by the barrel).

Whatever the process, the result is a cracking wine. A clear gold in appearance, has a nose of chalk, ripe apples, nuts and chamomile, then a zingy, tangy palate that is rich with a mineral finish. An exuberant, tasty wine (for connoisseurs, this is much closer to the explosive first vintage in 2014, with a touch less acidity and a touch more shape than the 2015).

Love to see the date proudly displayed on the label too – about time the authorities recognized and encouraged these wines. I had this when I visited Primitivo this summer with some chicharrones and a slice of the excellent local cheese. As I wrote then, the most impressive thing about Primitivo is not just the wine he makes, but the progress he has made against the tide. This wine is almost the embodiment: when he first had the idea he couldn’t convince the company, so paid for and bottled at least the 2014 himself.

Class wine from a class bloke.

Advertisements

Manzanilla Solear en Rama Autumn 2017 – the Iberian Lynx

Back in Madrid and back in business with this superb little bottle. I remember being slightly underwhelmed when this came out – the wine not quite living up to its majestic label – but after a year in the bottle and a few weeks in which the sherry levels in my bloodstream have dropped to dangerous low levels this is absolutely delicious.

Aromatic like a hayloft after a rainstorm, zingy and sharply saline, packed with vegetable flavour and spice. Love it.

Thinking outside the box: Pitijopo Volume 2, Number 2

Eighteen months ago when a group of friends and I sat down to share Volume II of the Pitijopos this wine, from Miraflores Alta, was my pick of the crop so when I saw them being sold individually in Reserva y Cata recently I couldn’t resist picking it up for another dip.

And I am glad to say it is just as good as I remembered – maybe even a little finer. A little closed first up but the clouds soon burnt off and it grew into a really class, fresh and “vertical” (in the parlance) white wine with a lot of enjoyable lemony umami citrus on the nose and the palate and just a classy touch of salinity on the finish.

Lovely stuff and great memories.

Manzanilla de Añada 2012 – 4/11

The fourth episode of this awesome saga comes with a darker colour, a richer nose and a softer feel. A real change from its three older (or younger?) siblings.

The series always promised to be an education in the effects of static ageing on the wines but it has also been a delight. The first wine had fruit and body resisting the biology: it was frankly a revelation at the time, and a glimpse of what could be possible with the minimum ageing under flor. The second was sharper, finer and the apple fruit and salinity marked it out as a real manzanilla. The third was a manzanilla with purpose: heavier with ozone and salinity. Now number four has oxidation and the resulting wine is enticing on the nose and full of mellow fruitfulness on the palate.

Nothing will ever repeat the emotion and excitement that accompanied that first wine or its significance – I remember it getting a standing ovation the first time I shared it with the guys-, but as a wine itself this may be the most enjoyable yet. It is a little beauty.

 

 

 

La Fleur 2015 by Bodegas Forlong

I get a bit of stick for the number of wines on this blog that have never been under the proverbial flor, most often when I write about unfortified white wines (for some reason noone raises a sniff about olorosos and palo cortados – probably because they have all had some biological ageing but that is another story altogether). Fortunately this problem is avoided here because this little gem, another small production, high quality wine of 100% palomino from this jolly little operation in Puerto de Santa Maria, has indeed had a modest stay under the veil, a stay which has added considerably to its charm.

100% palomino from the albariza of Pago Balbaina, this is given a little bit of sunshine (asoleo), fermented in bota and then spends around two years in the bota, with some or all of that time under a veil of flor. The bottle is little, and there aren’t many of them available but they are worth looking out for (they had at least a couple of bottles in Zalamero Taberna last time I checked).

In style this is one of these in between wines – a little bit of flor but by no means a fino – that I really believe are a winning combination. It preserves the fruit – here sweet apple pie – but has just a touch of almond and the fine, saline, punchy and above all fresh quality that is the gift of the albariza and the flor. And the aromatics, too: has a really lovely nose of apple and chamomile, like one of those fruity teas you see around and really similar to the nose of some jura wines.

Lovely stuff, really a great little wine.

UBE Carrascal 2015

Sorry for the radio silence everybody: have been running around a lot lately and haven’t found time to get the posts out. Rest assured, however, that I have maintained my blood alcohol level and that the silence does not indicate abstinence. Rather, I have accumulated a big stack of draft posts.

Of which this is one: an encounter with the 2015 UBE Carrascal, by Cota 45. The original UBE and for me still my favourite: a wine that starts fresh, sharp and mineral and just grows in breadth and stewy, beefy flavour as it opens in the glass. A really expressive wine – this one started a little chilly but soon warmed up – and one that shows that you don’t have to compromise between freshness and flavour.

Fresh, expressive and flavourful. Top drawer.

The Williams 2009s in El Escaparate de Vallehermoso

It’s nice to discover new places and it’s nice to run into old friends, so you can’t argue with running into old friends in new places. These two wines – which I was able to enjoy yesterday at El Escaparate – are definitely old friends.

I first came across the 2016 sacas of these released as part of the Colección Añadas – in fact they were among the first añada (vintage specific) wines that I had tried.

The two have a lot in common: from the same palomino in the same vineyards in Añina and Carrascal (Jerez), aged for the same eight years in botas of american oak of 500 and 600L before the saca in April this year. The difference is that the fino was fortified to 15º after fermentation, allowing it to develop flor, whereas the oloroso was fortified to 18º and allowed to age “traditionally”. It makes for a great opportunity to compare and contrast the effects of the biological and oxidative ageing.

It is also really interesting to contrast the various sacas. The first saca was in february 2016 and there have been two or three before this one in April 2017, and it has been interesting to see how the fino, in particular, has changed over time.

It was always a rich, juicy fino with a touch of oxidation, but this one for me has gone over the top from fino to amontillado, with slightly less sharpness and caramel complementing the hazelnuts that, foe me, characterized this vintage. Just look at the colour of it for a start: it is barely distinguishable from the oloroso.

The oloroso too has changed: it always had a spirity, volatile heavy hazelnut nose but this one seems a little quieter by comparison – but maybe the bottle had been open a while, or maybe it was just the change in the fino that made them closer in character.

Two lovely wines, and absolutely perfect with the various delicious meats on offer at El Escaparate (they certainly did the job with Higinio’s finest breasts of Barbary duck and wood pigeon).