Tuesday, 2 September 2014

La Bota de Palo Cortado Viejisimo No. 48 Bota Punta, 21.5%, Equipo Navazos

Deep golden amber to light mahogany with coppery tints and  a trace of green at the rim, legs.
Spectacular and super complex, bursting with nuts of all sorts, turron guirlache (almond brittle), American oak, hints of tobacco, oak, a slight hint of yeast autolysis, traces of honey on toast, caramel,and  that implied sweetness and grace of the Amontillado.
Huge, mouthfilling, dry and textured with deep old wood and walnut grip like an Oloroso but very well rounded with terrific length. There are traces of Oxford marmalade orange peel, raisin, caramel, various nuts, a spicy almost cedary note from the wood and a trace of bitterness at the finish which betrays its Sanlucar and Flor origins. This is a very old and exceptionally fine wine.
Quite magnificent! It is exquisite, and it  is difficult to do it justice in tasting notes. Sell the car, the TV, just buy some! This wine comes from the end butt of the andana (row of barrels) of the GF 30 solera at Gaspar Florido, now owned by Pedro Romero in Sanlucar. The wine in end butts can be slightly different to that in others as they can be near doorways and have a subtly different microclimate.

The wine was drawn off in December 2013 and is somewhere between 50 and 80 years old. This solera also provided the wine for bottlings 41 and 51, and was located in an old bodega in the Calle Rubinos in the heart of Sanlucar until it was moved to a ramshackle old bodega on the road to Trebujena. It was here that Jesus Barquin, Eduardo Ojeda and Alvaro Giron tasted the wines with old Gaspar Florido and noted that their quality was in direct inverse proportion to the stae of the bodega which housed them. It also housed the solera GF25. Both these soleras are now at Pedro Romero's Sacristia.

This is bottled history: it is becoming increasingly rare in the Sherry area to find wines of this great age which are also balanced, and the chances of coming across gems like this are unlikely to be repeated, especially at this price, much less the luxury of a choice of barrels of them.
A scary £65 per half bottle approximately, but I for one would willingly pay that for this quality. You could easily pay hundreds of pounds for an inferior claret. Imported into UK by Rhone to Rioja.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

31.8.14 Sherrymaster II; Tintilla de Rota

Gonzalez Byass is organising Sherrymaster II at their Bodegas in Jerez. The two day event taking place on Wednesday and Thursday next week is open to sommeliers, gastronomes, experts, and specialised journalists and guided by GB’s chief oenologist Antonio Flores. Firstly participants will have a tour round the viña Esteve vineyard followed by a look at the company’s historic archive. The first day concludes with two tastings conducted by Juan Ruiz Henestrosa, sumiller at the famous Aponiente restaurant in el Puerto de Santa Maria. The second day will start with a tasting in the bodega led by Antonio Flores about the differences between one butt and another, and will conclude with GB’s homage to the famous sommelier Custodio Lopez Zamarra.

The VI celebration of Tintilla de Rota got underway yesterday evening and runs till Friday. Organised by Bodegas El Gato, one of the few bodegas still producing this precious liquid, and one of the most active, there is a dedicated programme to show these wines and others from the area, along with local gastronomy. There will be conferences, a tapas route, an exhibition of art relevant to Tintilla, and a final tasting, all in emblematic venues in Rota.

Friday, 29 August 2014

29.8.14 Harvest Approaching Completion

High temperatures (It was 40C in the shade in Jerez the other day!) are ripening the grapes quickly. All the 20 press houses are working hard and more than half the harvest has been crushed, over 42 million kilos. The expected yield this year is about 65 million kilos, a drop from last year’s 82 million, but last year had higher rainfall and was “abnormally abundant” in the words of the Consejo director, Cesar Saldaña, while this year is seen as about normal.

A harvesting machine in action (foto Voz Digital)
He says that the grapes’ sugar content is easily 10.5 Beaume, with Chipiona at an average of 11.97 and Jerez with 11.81. The coastal vineyards are a bit further behind but are still at well over 11 degrees. This suits the bodegas as they need less fortifying spirit. This year’s crop is one of the more advanced for many years, but the grapes are in a good state of health. Some bodegas, those with more inland vineyards, have actually finished harvesting, such as Gonzalez Byass, who were first to begin harvesting. 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

La Bota de Manzanilla No. 42 15%, Equipo Navazos

Clean brassy gold, maybe a trace of green at rim, legs.
Most attractive with hints of wax, apple, dried flowers, dry scrub, lots of flor even a trace of wood. Dry fresh and zippy yet there is some autolysis. There is also a saline maritime hint and a poised elegance and intensity. Pure real Manzanilla.
Tangy and fresh, classic older Manzanilla going on pasada, fine, balanced and quite intense yet so very drinkable, it is delicious. Hints of dried flowers, herbs, salinity, trace mineral and yeast autolysis. This doesn't reach the dizzying complexity of some of the pasadas (though it would have), but is so much more approachable, "cheerful" as EquipoNavazos put it. And fantastic with food.
This is the 6th release of Manzanilla from 19 butts in the oldest Manzanilla solera at the bodega of Miguel Sanchez Ayala in the Barrio de la Balsa area in Sanlucar. It was bottled in February 2013 with the lightest possible filtration. 94 Parker Points.
Around £27 Importer Rhone to Rioja

27.8.14 Fiesta de la Buleria; Alcazar Tastings

The XLVII Fiesta de la Buleria will take place on the 6th September in the Plaza Mamelon in Jerez, at the spot where the Vuelta a España (Cycle race) started. It was originally to be at the bullring. This year’s event will be free, and is dedicated to the famous local singer Juan Moneo “El Torta” who died earlier this year. There will be leading flamenco artists playing, including singer Remedios Amaya and guitarist Diego Carrascal.

El Torta painted onto a house in an art project from a year or two ago (foto reporterosjerez)
Grand tastings are to be held between the 3rd and 13th of September at the Alcazar as part of the Fiestas de la Vendimia. Seven bodegas will participate along with the excellent catering of Alta Cazuela to create a fantastic marriage of food, wine and flamenco. The bodegas are: Emilio Lustau, Harveys, Estevez, Aecovi, Romate Gonzalez Byass and Williams & Humbert. Oenologists from the bodegas will show all the main styles of Sherry, and there are two different menus depending on the type of Sherry being shown. The tastings begin at 20.30 and tickets are a very reasonable 25 euros, available from Bar Juanito or the Tourist Office.

Alcazar tasting (foto +Jerez)

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

26.8.14 Vendimia; Huge Bunch of Grapes; Vuelta a Espana; Horseracing Sanlucar

The harvest is in full swing with over 25 million kilos of grapes crushed already. The sugar readings in the grapes are averaging 11.7 Beaume. The crop will be smaller than last year, due to lack of rainfall, but the quality is looking very good. Meanwhile, many Spanish people have been heading off to France to help with the harvest as there is such a lack of temporary jobs in Spain. 80% of the Sherry harvest is now performed by machines. Once there were 20,000 pickers, now barely 5,000.

What 4.42 kilos of Palomino looks like (+Jerez)
Trebujena’s annual bunch of grapes competition has been won by Francisco Baez Caro, whose bunch of Palomino grapes weighed in at 4.42 kilos. Winner of the Pedro Ximenez was Manuel Gil Parra whose bunch weighed 3.97 kilos. The record so far is last year’s bunch weighing 6.845 kilos, but last year’s grapes were bigger.

(foto diario bahia de cadiz)
The Vuelta a España is also underway, and no fewer than 96,000 people were there in Jerez to watch the 12.6 kilometre timed event. The three venencias in the fountain at the Plaza del Mamelon will remain there, along with the stack of barrels, both of which were erected to form a departure point for the race.

(foto voz digital)
In Sanlucar, the famous horse races are under way at Las Piletas beach, with much exciting racing to be seen by the thousands lining the beach.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Amontillado 18%, Dios Baco

Quite pale golden amber, legs.
Light with remaining traces of Fino such as hints autolysis, refined and elegant with lots of hazelnut and hints of vanilla - even pastry - praline perhaps, from the American oak. Traces of raisin, wood and some glyceric sweetness. Attractive.
Fresh, light and elegant, super smooth and grows on the palate with a gentle tang. A medium weight wine with lots of nuts and real character from those traces of Fino still there, quite classy actually with good length.
Aged as a Fino for 9 years, fortified and aged for a further 10 years in the Amontillado solera, this wine is remarkably light yet equally complex and very good value considering that the VOS Amontillado which only need be 20 years old (though is actually a good deal more) sells for 42 Euros.
A reasonable 8.76 Euros from the bodega, available from Twenty One Wines in Brighton