Oloroso el Cerro 

This is one of the top wines around. It’s mere appearance can’t begin to tell the story. A wine with a big structure that is still rapier fine and beautifully balanced. A rare oloroso from Sanlúcar – from the guys at Callejuela, one of the new power houses.

A dark brown in colour as you can see. The aromas are all burned sweetness, fruits and nuts singed to an inch of their life. Then on the palate it has that sharpness of acidity and then a big density of flavour, again half burned sugary raisins and walnuts, with a turn to the bitter but not too much. Real solidity to the middle part of the palate and then a remarkably clean finish. No astringency, just a long fade away.

Beautiful. A must try. (And if you don’t believe me, this was one of the wines of the year according to elmundovino in 2015.)

La Bota de Fino 68 – Macharnudo Alto 

When I first had this six months ago I was really impressed and when offered another glass today I jumped on it. It didn’t let me down. Not quite as flashy – I remembered an absolutely stinging salinity – but sharp enough, and full of the spicey cider, toasted almond, savoury nutty bread flavours I remembered. The minerals are still there too – makes your mouth water almost like a manzanilla, giving it a super fresh finish.

A really top class wine – a little cut above its cousin, the classic Inocente fino from Valdespino.





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. 

Fino Williams Colección Añadas 2009 – Saca de February 2017

They are back, the Williams Coleccion Añadas by Williams & Humbert, probably the leading champions of añada wines in el marco. Here by the glass (or two) at Territorio Era.

And this new saca is even more like the old one – maybe even better. The gorgeous colour, the sweet hazelnut nose and the sweet/salty combination in the palate – incredible hazelnut sweetness tempered with a mineral saltiness – and a zingy finish,  which again leaves a long nutty sweetness in its wake.

Not comparable to other finos, or even amontillados, that I can think of (except the ones in its own family of course). A unique wine and a fantastic advert for finos de añada.

Amontillado Cuatro Palmas 2016

The end of a superb dinner at Angelita and an appropriately superb finish. 

One of the most elegant of the old amontillados available, this 2016 saca is right in my wheelhouse. Whereas I remember more orange in a previous saca this is a deeper chestnut in colour and has a more nutty profile, dryer and finer in profile even. It strikes me that the elegance I associate with it may come from the finely integrated salinity – zingily present but not excessive and not separate from the rest of the wine. Also the concentration of the wine is not overdone – has a better balance of flavour and acidity/alcohol than some bigger beasts. 

A really fine old wine out of the very top drawer. 

Encrucijado 2014 

Another taste of this – currently available by the glass at Angelita – and it seems to be improving by the day. I enjoyed it the first time I was able to try it a couple of months ago, but really enjoyed it in Palo Cortado at last week’s tasting and am loving this too. Seems a sharper, more defined entry and then that elegant, butterscotch structure. 

Really worth trying if you get the chance so get down to Angelita! (On the other hand, looks like it is getting better in the bottle so mine is staying buried in the minibar.) 

Amontillado El Tresillo 1874

What an absolute gem of an amontillado, ladies and gentlemen. Not had a glass of this – for far too long – 2015 if this blog is to be believed. So a happy reunion when I was given this last night by David Robledo at Santceloni, paired wonderfully with a rodaballo confitado in jus de champignon. In fact it showed its class in general – concentration of flavour but elegant, dry and fine.

It was a night of fantastic pairings, and this followed a a 20 year old malvasia madeira wine from Henriques & Henriques. That comparison was itself fascinating – and may have added to the impression of dry elegance in the amontillado, but I also found the amontillado more aromatic, and expressive in aromas of caramel, sawdust and citrus, even a suggestion of brandy.

Fantastic stuff – no way will it be another year before the next glass.