La Bota 34 de Palo Cortado – “Pata de Gallina”

A touch of controversy these days if you dare to accuse anyone of “bota hunting” but if wines like this are the result you won’t find me questioning the process. In fact this wine is a great example of how the “bota hunters” do more than repackage the wine of others.

This is from the same solera that produces Lustau’s marvellous Pata de Gallina oloroso by almacenista Juan Garcia Jarana but while that wine is rich and juicy, fat on the palate (and one of the best value wines around) this has that potent flavour in a much finer, more elegant profile.

In fact it is an extraordinary wine. It was the wine that really made me sit up and take notice of the wines of Jerez back in the day and although it has changed over time (it was bottled back in February 2012) it is still quite superb.

While it used to be a vibrant red it is increasingly fading to amber brown. The nose is still a touch sweet with orange and ginger, but I feel has a little bit more bitter wood than I remember. On the palate it starts sharp and zingy, then aromatic and rich in flavour – again whereas I remember caramel this has a touch of bitter mahogany, black chocolate, and tobacco. And it lasts forever – lovely finish.

Beautiful wine. Congratulations to all concerned!

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La Panesa

A lot of stuff on this blog hasn’t aged well – when I started writing it only just over three years ago I was a little bit of a wide eyed novice. Everything was awesome, it was fun to be part of the team and I may not always have been the most discerning.

But there are a few things that have stood the test of time. A thousand or so posts later I can confirm I was dead right about La Panesa. It is pure class and absolutely superb. Savoury and toasty nose, sharply defined and elegant in profile, full in body and rich in flavours, from butter, nuts, curry and spices, with a mouthwatering finish.

A beautiful wine. Fashions come and go, class is permanent.

Manzanilla pasada Maruja

This is an absolutely class wine, one of the very best manzanilla pasadas you will find and one that just seems to get better and better every time I happen across a bottle.

It has a beautiful rich colour which is very nicely shown off by the clear glass bottle and as a result just looks incredibly appetising. The nose is no less inviting: wonderfully savoury, with a combination of sea-air, haybales and spices and herbs (an old spice box from the back of the larder).

And it certainly doesn’t disappoint when you tire of swirling it around the glass and finally take a glug. The profile is superbly elegant: a sharp, zingy start and a long fresh, mouth watering finish, with no edges in between but rather a smooth crescendo to a very intense mouthful of flavours. Savoury, spicey, umami and sweet like a meaty, tomatoey curry sauce – one of those curries with stewed apricots in them. It is the intensity, depth and completeness of those flavours – foreshadowed in the nose – that for me really set this wine apart.

Anyway, this bottle was gone in a blink of an eye. Must get myself two or three more!

 

 

Fino M Antonio de la Riva

Not my first glass of this or even my second but the first one I have had time to savour and write about. An old school, older fino from Balbaina Alta with a bit south of 10 years under the flor.

I first tried it back in February at the Cuatrogatos Wine Fest where it was a touch overshadowed by its magnificent big brothers the Oloroso and Moscatel but this is a class wine in its own right.

The colour is a beautiful, appetising rich old gold that puts you in mind of oxidation. The nose is also cracking: haystacks and rich roasted almonds, a really savoury nose. Then on the palate you get that classic combination of zingy salinity and roasted to bitter almond – a deep savoury flavour turning bitter at the end before a sizzling saline finish.

Really tasty, classy fino (and you can try it yourself at the bar of Angelita).

Solear en rama Spring 2015 in Corral de la Moreria

After three years in the bottle this little beauty is like a day old child – nothing wrong with this at all.

It was one of several really top wines that the marvellous David Ayuso opened for us at the lunchtime party to celebrate Juan Manuel del Rey’s big prize: Premio Nacional de la Gastronomia for best service (sala). It couldn’t have been more deserved – this is without fail one of the happiest of happy places – and it was a fantastic occasion, with Juan Manuel calling the whole team up on stage to a ringing ovation, superb finger food by the star chef David Garcia, “mucho arte” from Perrete, Bocadillo and the boys and girls, a bravura performance by Juan Andres Maya and a really joyful finale with Blanca del Rey herself. A chance to celebrate wine, food, music and dancing, and all before

Maybe it was the happy occasion, the music or the three earlier glasses but for whatever reason this struck me as as good a manzanilla as I have had in a long time. As aromatic, zingy and juicy as any that I can remember, and very expressive of those salty, peppery bitter salad flavours.

Absolutely top stuff. Congratulations once again to the crew at Corral de la Moreria … and the crew at Barbadillo!

De la Riva Blanco de Macharnudo 2016

One of the most hotly anticipated white wines in ages, this is a white wine from palomino fino grown in Macharnudo and sold under the reborn label of Antonio de la Riva, acquired by Domecq back in the 1970s but now in the hands of none other than Ramiro Ibañez and Willy Perez. I took it to a really fun blind tasting a couple of weeks ago.

At first it came across as a delicate flower. A really inviting sweet, apple blossom nose and a nice mouthful of fresh white fruit on the palate, with some salinity at the end. Fresh and vital but elegant and refined rather than big and bold. Lovely stuff, no doubt about it, but as I happened to remark at the time, it surprised me at how delicate and floral it was, missing the intensity and concentration that the Barajuela wines have us accustomed to.

And that just shows why you shouldn’t take top class palomino white wines to a blind tasting, and why indeed you should keep your lip buttoned if you do. Because like all these palomino white wines even after just a little while open this seemed to grow in intensity and presence, and suddenly I was regretting my decision to share my bottle with seven other winelovers, however likeable.

And in fact I managed to nurse a glass long enough for the gods of blind tasting to punish me for my second error. Hearing my earlier comments, the aforementioned deities chose to serve me a wine I know pretty well – the Barajuela Fino 2013 (Saca de 2017) – two wines later such that I had both in the glass at the same time. And that intensity and presence? By now the De la Riva was singing at the top of its lungs whereas the Barajuela was fresh open, and maybe if not twins as such, the resemblance was uncanny.

I have heard this called the best of the blancos de albariza and I would not dispute that at all, it is a really top class white wine. I just wish I had kept the bottle to myself.

 

 

Manzanilla pasada Maruja

Had lunch at Surtopia yesterday. It was fantastic as always, a superb carpaccio de tarantelo in particular. But the wines I had just blew me away, starting with this absolutely superb manzanilla pasada.

No apple or chamomile here, pure savoury power from start to finish. Beautiful colour – they are quite right to sell this in a clear glass bottle – an intense, dark gold. Then it has a nose of salty spices and vegetables that every time I put nose to glass reminds me of a Bombay Aloo. But the sensations really start when you straighten the elbow: a really intense palate with a zingy start, intense spice, a kind of stewed richness, clove like and bitterness and really intense zing, heat on the tongue at the finish.

If you are looking for something fruity look elsewhere, but this is a pure thoroughbred manzanilla pasada and a glorious wine on any measure.