Thursday, 20 September 2018

Barbazul Rosado 2015 13%, Bodegas Huerta de Albalá

Appearance
On the dark side for rosé, a sort of pale plummy cherry red with a faint trace of brick at the rim.
Nose
Fairly full with both floral hints of rose and violet and fruity hints of plum and black cherry. There are also gentle notes of spices and herbs and a trace of smoke, one of the hallmarks of Syrah, and a refreshing trace of raspberry. Attractive and unashamedly southern.
Palate
Closer to red wine than white, there is no shortage of body and character here, one could say it is a rather masculine style. There is plenty of fruit , perfectly judged acidity and even a hint of structure: it has a mineral feel from the albariza soil probably, a dry texture with a faint trace of tannin and it is not low in alcohol, though all the components are well balanced. It has a long plummy, raspberry, smoky finish.
Comments
This full, no - nonsense rosado is made from 100% Syrah grown on the Huerta de Albalá estate near Arcos de la Frontera owned by Vicente Taberner. Making rosé requires skin contact with red grapes, but  how long that contact lasts is up to the winemaker, and obviously the longer it lasts the darker and more intensely flavoured and structured the wine will be. This wine bucks the current trend for super-pale anaemic salmon coloured rosés and gets a decent period of skin contact, so it is in the good old fashioned style and none the worse for that.
Price
7.50 Museo del Vino Málaga

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Fino Ecológico en rama Añada 2015 (2) 15%, Williams & Humbert

Appearance
Brass tinged gold with a little depth and golden reflexions.
Nose
There is an interesting balance between faintly sweet traces of apple and quince puree and bitterness from the flor. It has some weight and depth as one might expect from a wine which has not been refreshed and there are some slightly herbal notes of esparto, sourdough and olive brine.
Palate
Quite full and intense for a Fino, perhaps less fruit now and more straw with  just the very faintest hint of oxidation. It is very stylish, assertive and serious, yet elegant with a pronounced texture, at once chalky and with a hint of grapeskin, and great length. Not only super interesting, but delicious.
Comments
Bottled on the 27th July 2018, this is a second saca of the first ever organic vintage Fino en rama from a single pago: Burujena in Trebujena. The first saca (qv) was bottled in March so there is around four months more crianza. As before, the must was fermented at 22° and fortified with organic spirit to 15.5° so the flor has consumed half a degree over around 3 years meaning it would have to be bottled before that level dropped to below 15°. Not all the Añada butts turn out to be Fino of course, so there is not much of this unfortunately.
Price
15.50 per 50cl Licores Corredera


Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Bodegas B Rodríguez La-Cave SA


Enrique Rodríguez Cabanzón, was a montañés from Mazandrero near Santander who emigrated to Sanlúcar where he was very successful in business. His son Joaquín Rodríguez Roldán who inherited part of what would become Bodegas Barbadillo, married Magdalena La-Cave Domínguez, related to the La-Cave family with bodegas in Cádiz, and their son was Benito Rodríguez La-Cave, 1871-1913.

Part of the old Bodega Trillo (foto:Aula Gerion)

Benito married his cousin María Concepción Rodríguez Terán in 1890 and thus they had a joint grandfather in Enrique Rodríguez Cabanzón. María Concepción’s other grandfather was Rafael Terán Carrera, another montañés who had made his fortune in Sanlúcar, mainly in the wine trade, like Benito’s other grandfather, José María La-Cave Gassin, who married an aristocrat and once served as the town’s mayor. The couple thus inherited considerable wealth and established bodegas based on what they inherited. Interestingly, María Concepción’s sister Caridad married into the Barbadillo family providing it with even more wealth. Benito and María Concepción had seven children.



Rodríguez La-Cave owned vineyards in the Pago Miraflores and bodegas in various streets of the Barrio Alto in Sanlúcar including the Calle Caballeros, Calle Monte de Piedad, Luís de Eguílaz and the XVII century morisco style bodega in Calle Trillo. Most if not all were inherited from Rafael Terán, and at one time the firm was bigger than Barbadillo. The bodegas are all now demolished except Calle Caballeros, which with its lovely house was converted into the hotel Posada del Palacio. There can have been few families so intimately related to the Sherry business.



After Benito’s untimely death, María Concepción ran Rodríguez La-Cave under the title of Viuda de B Rodríguez-Lacave until she retired in 1934. It remained a family business run by her children and grandchildren, who maintained the firm’s excellent reputation, until they decided to merge with Delgado Zuleta in 1978. In 1989 the firm began moving all the wines from the many RL and DZ bodegas into one perfect purpose - built bodega where they can all be in one place. It took 16 years, and a fortune was spent on repairing old butts.



While members of the Rodríguez family currently own some 40% of the combined firm and have occupied management posts, their name only appears on the three wines which are still faithfully produced from the original Rodríguez La-Cave soleras: Manzanilla Barbiana, Amontillado Goyesco and the Amontillado VORS Quo Vadis? The latter has an average age of over 40 years. It has always been fermented in new butts as the original wine had been. The story goes that it was fermented from Miraflores gapes in new butts, and as a buyer could not be found, it was locked away for decades, turning into a magnificent old Amontillado which scored 97 Parker points.



Monday, 17 September 2018

Brandy Lepanto OV Solera Gran Reserva 36%, González Byass

Appearance
Deep mahogany with copper highlights fading to amber with a trace of green at the rim.
Nose
Rich and fragrant with beautifully integrated notes of oak, Oloroso, walnut, praline and vanilla with  traces of dried fruit, a suspicion of orange and a gently sweet hint of brown sugar. This is a brandy with considerable class; it is complex yet fresh and open, and quite beguiling.
Palate
Full and rich and very smooth with no rough edges, it makes quite an impact at first then softens and rounds off with a faint bitter note, probably tannin from the wood, balanced by those brown sugar and orange notes, then hints of nuts and nut oil come through but the finish is dry. It is full bodied with lots of Jerez character and has terrific length.
Comments
Lepanto, which was launched in 1951 is the only brandy still distilled in Jerez and it is made from a base of Palomino wine made in Jerez. The wine is stored under inert gas while awaiting distillation to avoid any oxidation.The firm began distilling in 1844, and for Lepanto they use Charentais (Cognac) type stills which use the double distillation method. These have been replaced since then, of course - in fact the current ones date back to 1960 and each has a capacity of 25 hectolitres - but the method has not. The distillery is in the bodega Los Arcos in Jerez while the firm's other brandies are made in La Mancha. Only the hearts of the distillation, between 65 and 72% are used to make the holandas which then spend 12 years in ex Tio Pepe butts before being transferred for 3 years' finishing in butts which previously contained Matusalem 30 year old sweet Oloroso so the finished product has an average age of 15 years. The original Lepanto bottle was designed by the Real Fabrica de la Granja (est 1727) near Segovia. There are 3 versions of Lepanto: the standard 12 year old aged in Fino butts, this one, and the 15 year old PX finish. There was a limited edition (200 bottles) of Lepanto Aurum 30 year old, but that is now almost impossible to obtain.
Price
37.95 Roali


Sunday, 16 September 2018

Vibrations 2016 13%, Bodegas Muchada-Leclapart

Appearance
Very deep amber to old gold with ambery-golden highlights.
Nose
Intense and unique. Fascinating. The deep colour suggests oxidation or even sweetness but there is none; instead there are surprisingly fresh aromas of super ripe dried fruit like apricot, quince, apple and a trace of orange and their skins and a hint of quince preserve. It smells of a noble old wine with many years of bottle age not totally unlike a Sauternes, strangely, yet there are noticeable hints of salinity and hints of toast with apple jam. And some say Palomino is boring!
Palate
Full and dry with lots of character and texture which is a combination of the chalky feel one gets from albariza and the faintly tannic texture of the grapeskins, thanks to them having been macerated rather than being discarded. Mature fruit and acidity are perfectly balanced and there is even a faint background note of ginger. It has a very natural feel, as if nature has been allowed to just get on with a job she does so beautifully, but it takes skill and faith to keep an eye on how things turn out. A seriously interesting wine with real class and absolutely delicious.
Comments
Only 700 bottles of this amazing wine were made by an architect who fell in love with wine, and a Champagne producer. It is 100% old vine Palomino (over 60 years old) from the 1.7 hectare La Platera vineyard located in the Pago Miraflores and biodynamically cultivated. The must is fermented in ex Manzanilla butts on the skins like red wines, which is unusual for white, but it gives much greater intensity of flavour and texture. (Red wines have to ferment on the skins to extract colour, but white wines, obviously, do not). Temperature control is minimal with only a couple of air-conditioning units in the bodega. The absolute minimum sulphur is added and the wine is neither fined nor filtered before bottling and simply spends 18 months or so in bottle before release. While it  is as natural as possible it is not called "natural" because some don't understand the concept, and, being unfiltered, the bottle contains some fine lees, both of which put people off, but it shouldn't as they are perfectly harmless and simply add to the flavour. If need be one can decant through a cloth, but it's not worth the hassle. It is not a cheap bottle of wine and far from conventional but it is a very rewarding experience.
Price
37,50, Licores Corredera


Saturday, 15 September 2018

Manzanilla San León White Label 15%, Bodegas Argüeso

Appearance
Fairly pale golden Straw with bright golden highlights.
Nose
The super fresh and fairly intense maritime aromas are not surprising as the bodega is among the closest to the estuary. They are strongly saline with very pungent flor, bitter almond and dry scrub along with faint notes of seaweed and esparto in the background.  Cracking nose.
Palate
Intense and full of character, it is a big Manzanilla with considerable concentration and yet there are only faint notes of cabezuela; the bitter yeastiness is mostly – but not all - from the wine’s surface, and there is no shortage of that. It epitomises the Spanish word “punzante” (sharp) but in a wine context, meaning up-front, crisp, incisive, pungent. In the very long finish there are briny notes of sourdough and cabezuela and a dry chalky texture. It is amazigly complex for wine which is not yet really a Manzanilla pasada - though it is getting close.
Comments
This wine was launched comparatively recently and fairly quietly – until it won the Manzanilla Trophy at the International Wine Challenge 2017. It is a blend of selected butts in the Manzanilla solera which dates back to 1822 and it has an average age of over 6 years. Back in the day Don León de Argüeso separated out some particularly good butts to form his own private stock and that is now sold as Reserva de Familia, the firm’s top Manzanilla. This wine however, is arguably better still – I tasted them side by side, along with the standard San León, and while there are obvious similarities, this one is darker in colour - probably en rama but there's no mention of this - more intense, bitter and wild, possibly at the expense of elegance, but certainly not class. The label resembles one used in the past. Most of the firm’s production is Manzanilla with the wine being sold at various ages under various brands: Fina, La E (draught only), Medallas, San León and Reserva de Familia, and frankly they are all excellent. Judging by the quality of this wine I reckon even more interesting Manzanillas could yet be to come from this revitalised bodega. Great price too.
Price
5.95 euros per 50cl, De Albariza


Friday, 14 September 2018

Atlántida 2014 13.5%, Compañía de Vinos del Atlántico

Appearance
Bright deep blacky ruby red, still with some pink at the rim.
Nose
Very attractive with lots of perfectly ripe - but not overripe - fruit. There is a distinct and very slightly yeasty, almost creamy, aroma of sappy black cherry with a hint of loganberry backed up by restrained hints of toasty French oak. There is a faint balsamic hint which is all that gives away the heat of the vineyard - even the alcohol is restrained.
Palate
The almost crisp sappy black fruits predominate while gentle notes of oak and a certain minerality add complexity and freshness. The structure is medium with unaggressive tannins and perfect acidity giving very good, almost zippy balance and long tangy fruity finish. This wine is delicious and would repay keeping for up to five years.
Comments
The Compañía de Vinos del Atlántico produces and distributes fine quality wines all over Spain and Portugal, and also exports them. This is one of their best, made by Alberto Orte from 100% old vine Tintilla grapes grown organically on albariza soil in a single 1 hectare vineyard in the pago Balbaina. The bunches of grapes are harvested at night, by hand, and only 10% are de-stemmed. During fermentation there are two daily pump-overs and afterwards the wine is pressed and put into used 500 litre French oak barrels where it remains for a year, going through the malo-lactic and depositing sediment before being racked into used 225 litre barriques where it ages for 16 months before bottling. The result is superb and shows what a great grape the Tintilla is.
Price
25 euros, Er Guerrita