Thursday, 28 July 2016

Fino en rama Añada 2009 15.5%, Williams & Humbert

Deepish brassy gold with golden highlights, legs.
Full, very clean, super interesting and very complex with slight waxy, olive brine notes, flor is not overpowering at first but certainly obvious, and while its bitter, almost sourdough almondiness grows, a gentle oxidative note comes through. There is a certain Fino-Amontillado character, but that flor shines through with traces of quince jelly, cider and autumn leaves.
Full and solid for a Fino at the start with those waxy, briny, oxidative notes then it gets dry as the flor kicks in, and (I mean kicks). There is real presence and weight on the palate so this is not some delicate Fino but a big sturdy wine. There is a slight nutty, oily texture which perhaps smoothens the bitterness a bit, and a very long very clean finish. You know you've had a glass of Sherry!
This amazing wine, from the Williams Colección de Añadas which are now being regularly released, is made from grapes harvested in 2009 from W&H vineyards in Añina and Carrascal and fortified to 15% before being left to age statically under Consejo supervision and therefore without any interference till it was bottled in February 2016. It is therefore about seven and a half years old and showing real class. It would be SO interesting to know how it would have ended up with further ageing in butt; going Amontillado perhaps, but then how will it age in bottle? Fabulously! It is worth remembering that this is only the second release - ever - of a vintage Fino, and W&H released the first, the 2006. A drinking tip: don't over chill it. 93 Parker Points.
11.70 euros per 50cl bottle from Licores Corredera

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

27.7.16 Masterchef Winner Visits Consejo

Masterchef winner, Virginia Naranjo and her twin sister Raquel, also a finalist, visited the Consejo yesterday, signed the book of honour and enjoyed a glass of Sherry with president Beltrán Domecq and director César Saldaña. César wanted to publicly thank the girls, both from Jerez, for their promotion of Jerez products during the televised competition. He said “we are very grateful to you for promoting our products as we were sure you would, but as we watched the competition our hearts jumped and filled with pride on the many occasions you mentioned them.”

Raquel (L), Virginia and Beltran Domecq (foto:diariojerez)

Beltrán also expressed his gratitude, “an objective of the Consejo is to integrate our wines with gastronomy for which we are very grateful for your participation.” Raquel wants to work with the Consejo in promoting the products of Jerez “because we are proud to be from Jerez.” While Virginia, who has already published a cookery book, said “we are very proud and grateful for this recognition by the Consejo, it is a great institution, Sherry’s head office.”

27.7.16 Fundador Improves Wine Tourism Offer; Promotional Aid for Sherry

Before its purchase by Andrew Tan, Fundador was owned by Beam Suntory who were slowly selling off assets like the Palacio Domecq (bought by an events company) and a sizeable chunk of Macharnudo vineyard (which went to Estévez). But things are changing. Buoyed up by the recent international successes of their Sherries and brandies, the firm is working on recuperating its former glory with new projects linked to wine tourism.

Bodega la Mezquita

The bodega, which was founded in 1730, is planning to commemorate its tercentenary, a landmark event which it wants to celebrate in advance with Jerezanos and visitors, for whom they will re-open the doors of the El Arroyo bodega complex and upgrade the offer in line with the times. There will be a tour through the history of some of the most emblematic bodegas of the area: El Molino, the first to be built, the enormous La Mezquita, built in 1974 to celebrate 100 years of Brandy Fundador, Los Claustros, which is kept for large celebrations, and more.

Another historic bodega, La Luz, where Fundador was born, has been converted into a museum with exhibits like photos of famous people, awards, old labels, old carriages and stable equipment for the Terry horses. Next to this, a recently constructed wine tourism centre with a shop will open during the Fiesta de la Vendimia. It is suitable for tastings of Sherry or the Bristol Cream cocktail with ice and a slice of orange, or the Fundador mojito, which the bodega offers to visitors.

Castillo de Macharnudo

Access for visitors is currently at the Puerta de Rota, but Fundador has begun works to facilitate access to a new oeno-gastronomic centre in the Calle San Ildefonso – a continuation of the Cuesta del Espíritu Santo – in the form of a tabanco or Sherry bar. They are also working on a similar development at the Castillo de Macharnudo which overlooks the El Majuelo vineyard. In fact, on Saturday there will be a gala here celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Ruta del Vino y del Brandy de Jerez, which will be an opportunity for the trade to see for themselves Fundador’s upgraded commitment to wine tourism.

While Brexit is viewed with both surprise and dismay in Jerez, all may not be lost. European Union funding for the promotion of agro-alimentary products from member states in third countries would be able to be used to at least partially compensate for the losses predicted in the UK market. At least once the UK has actually left, but there will be a couple of years of difficulty till then.

Consejo Director, César Saldaña, said “these funds would at least partly compensate for the negative effects of Brexit, especially when you take into account that the UK is the market in which we spend most, being the largest export market.” He pointed out that the value of Sterling has already fallen, making European products more expensive. To this could be added the expected impoverishment of the British people as taxes rise and levels of consumption fall. The first taxes to rise will inevitably be on alcohol and tobacco, but this will most seriously affect cheaper products, and Sherry is now selling at more up-market prices.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Oloroso Puerta Real 20% Bodegas Garvey

Deep transparent patinated mahogany of old furniture with coppery glints and the slightest trace of green at the amber rim, legs.
Pure, fragrant and  beautifully harmonious Oloroso with gentle hints of cinnamon, nuts, american oak and an ever so slightly bitter, walnut edge with a hint of toast nicely balanced by traces of caramel and dried fruit. It shows the complexity and integration only age can bestow and has real charm.
Mid to full bodied with an attractive walnutty bite leading to a gentler more glyceric feel with those dried fruit and caramel notes, but that is balanced by a little volatile acidity giving zest to an old wine. It is good and dry with slight autumn leaves notes and an elegant, proud, long and assertive finish.
This excellent wine was made from Macharnudo grapes. It is one of the Sacristía de Garvey range of six old wines between at least 15 and over 20 years old, and is from a solera laid down by the founder's son, Patricio Garvey Gómez, in 1826. It is somewhere approaching 20 years of average age. No doubt these wines have aged a bit more as a result of the parlous situation Garvey has been in, and that is no bad thing in the short term, but let us hope that the Emperador purchase of the bodega will guarantee their continuity and proper maintenance.
26.40 euros from Licores Corredera

Monday, 25 July 2016

25.7.16 Consejo Predicts Smaller Harvest; Fedejerez Re-joins FEV

With the 2016 vintage barely a month away, the Consejo Regulador, in its first harvest prediction, estimates a crop reduction of 10-15% because of the recent mildew attack. This will leave about 68 million kilos of grapes. Vineyards nearer the coast around Sanlúcar and Trebujena were the worst affected by the mildew since they have higher humidity than those situated inland. The Consejo puts the area of land affected by mildew at 7-10%, noting that the Levante (west wind, which has been blowing recently, has reduced the chance of an attack of oidium, another fungal disease which affects the quality of the grape rather than the quantity.

The 2015 harvest totalled 76.4 million kilos of grapes, of which 68 million qualified for Sherry production, whereas this year the Consejo expects about 68 million of which 65 million will qualify. It should be remembered that the 2015 harvest was 14% bigger than 2014, thanks to good weather conditions leading up to the harvest, and the Consejo is cautious, reminding everyone of the saying that “August has the key to the harvest” and much depends on whether the Poniente or the Levante winds predominate. The Levante is hot and dry and reduces the crop, and temperatures are already high in Cádiz. It is still early to say, but many think this year’s harvest will be a little later than last year when it began mid-August.

Fedejerez, the association of Sherry bodegas has re-joined the Federación Española del Vino (FEV), of which it was a founder member in 1978. The FEV is an organisation which represents the entire Spanish wine sector. Fedejerez had let its membership lapse in recent years, but some bodegas remained on their individual account. Pau Roca, general secretary of the FEV said he was delighted to have a founder member back in the fold, especially at a time when unity in the sector is so important.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

24.7.16 Jerez Cooperatives May Join D Coop

The seven cooperatives of the Sherry zone are in “very satisfactory” talks with a view to joining D Coop, Andalucía’s largest "super" cooperative, based in Antequera (Málaga) but with members all over Spain. D Coop is a group of cooperatives specialising in the production and marketing of olives (it is the world’s largest olive oil producer), cereals meat and wine. The Jerez coops control 55% of the annual Sherry production, and it is hoped that they can sell more wine direct to market, reduce costs and gain the power to have more control over grape prices.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

La Bota de Fino 35 15%, Equipo Navazos (re-taste)

Very slightly hazy amber with brass reflections, legs.
Full, pungent nose with prominent damp scrub notes of flor, quite evolved yet amazingly fresh, and bottle age has only conferred more complexity. With only the slightest oxidative notes this is effectively a concentrated mature Fino with bitter notes of dried flowers and just a trace of cabezuela. There is a thrilling wild, natural character to it enhanced by its time in bottle.
Full with classic Macharnudo generosity, dry with  the slightest trace of background fruit and a gentle texture, moderately low acidity is compensated for by the bitterness of the flor which also gives it tremendous length. Lovely wine.
Bottled June 2012, this absolutely delicious wine has 4 years bottle age, and clearly shows what Equipo Navazos are aiming at - not just outstanding Sherry, but Sherry which will evolve over years and just keep on giving.  Its appearance would indicate that there might be something wrong with it, but there definitely isn't. Any white wine gains colour over time, and this was bottled en rama without "stabilisation" so inevitably has a little sediment - hence the haze. The more that is left in the wine, the more there is to develop, and this has done a terrific job. Anyway, this is Fino from Valdespino's Macharnudo Alto vineyard and the wine was selected from the Inocente solera and the first and second criaderas. It has an average age at bottling of about ten years. Last tasted May 2014 and it has just got better with a little more concentration.
22 euros from Pura Cepa, La Cala de Mijas (Malaga)