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.

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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).

Amontillado el Fossi in Fismuler

I said I would be back and when it comes to having an enjoyable lunch with nice wine I can generally be relied on. Cracking little list here at Fismuler and the food is cracking too.

There has been a lot of chat this week about sherries with a sense of place and El Fossi is exactly that. A uniquely fine, punchy amontillado that is absolutely a product of its unique habitat a patch of albariza to the South of Jerez, a mere 7km from the sea but 100m above the aforementioned briney called Finca Matalian.

I have written about this little beauty quite a bit and you can see the posts here. Suffice it to say that it is killing it with this clam and artichoke rice right here.

Terroirpower right enough.

Fino Tradicion November 2017

Lunchtime in Media Ración and no better way to start than a glass of Tradición Fino. Any time I drink this it always takes me back to a memorable, unforgettable vertical in Reserva y Cata (already three sacas ago – none of which I have blogged about until now) and the overwhelming impression is of a series of wines that just gets better and better.

This is one of the top wines in the older fino bracket and has the big bones and solidity that 12 years under flor will create, but as with other wines from Tradición what sets it apart is not so much how old it is but how youthful it seems for its age. In color it is a rich gold, but nowhere near as dark as some younger wines, and while not as aromatic as some finos it has an impressively compact, clean profile to the nose. On the palate too, you get a good dose of roasted almond, particularly in these November sacas, but also fresh citrus notes (and a slight gooseberry bitterness). You have the impression that it is a wine that will age very impressively in the bottle (if it ever gets the chance).

A high quality fino, from a line of high quality finos. Must find myself those two missing sacas!

Amontillado de añada 2003 (Saca de noviembre 2017) in The One Wine

Recently I am starting a lot of posts with “not exactly a sherry temple but” and here is another one. Just two sherries open by the glass, but never mind the thickness, feel the quality …

This is a lovely, lively fine wine. Just on the orange side of old gold, with a brandy like nose of hazelnuts and polish and just a bit of sweetness. Then on the palate it has an acidic sharpness and a very elegant, fine palate with flavours of nuts, yeast, and minerals.

Absolutely top drawer. Enjoyed with a tomato salad and some smooth jazz but more of that in another post!

Viña Matalian 2017 in KultO

One of the most criminally under-rated wines I know of and just the perfect wine for summer. Really fresh, fruity, smooth, just a hint of mineral texture and salinity that makes your mouth water. Beautiful profile to it – like an almond in shape – and has a bit of that almond umami on the palate too. This one has even more fruit on the nose and palate than other vintages I have tried but still has the lovely freshness.

Cute as a bug’s ear and I could drink this by the litre – but get yourselves down to Kulto and you won’t have to because they have it by the glass.