Wednesday, 29 June 2016

29.6.16 More Medals for Sherry; Lustau Appoint New Oenologist; Goya XL

The XXII edition of the Premios Mezquita which takes place annually in Córdoba has rewarded the Sherry bodegas with lots of medals.  Diez Mérito won a Mezquita Grand Gold for Fino Imperial and Gold for the PX VORS while the firm’s Bertola won gold for the PX, Palo Cortado, Amontillado, Cream and Oloroso, all 12 years old. González Byass also won gold for the Noé, Amontillado del Duque and Tio Pepe en Rama. Meanwhile the Jerez Cooperative La Angustias won gold for its Fino Mira la Mar and silver for the Oloroso, PX and Cream from the same range. Their Romerito range won silver for the Oloroso, Cream and Medium and their excellent Fino sin Pecado also won silver.

At another competition, the Concurso Internacional de Vinos de Atlántico, Bertola PX 12 years old, while at yet another, the Akatavino Top Ten, included 98.5 for Williams & Humbert’s Jalifa and 96 for Dos Cortados. González Byass scored 94 for their Tintilla de Rota, 97.5 for Cuatro Palmas and Tres Palmas. Delgado Zuleta scored 98 for Amontillado Quo Vadis.

After the immensely sad loss of oenologist Manuel Lozano, Lustau have appointed Sergio Martínez in his place. Sergio has already worked for the firm for 13 years and spent 10 of them working daily alongside “Manolo”. Lustau’s director general, Luis Luengo, said that “Sergio has our full support in leading the team. There is no one better to maintain our style and bring new ideas to the project.”

Sergio was born in San Fernando (Cádiz) and spent his childhood among the towns of Cádiz Bay. While passionate about nature, the sea the marvellous local beaches and animals he is also passionate about Sherry and says his favourite style is Amontillado “for its complexity, subtle nuances and elegance thanks to both biological and oxidative ageing which makes it unique.”

Bodegas Delgado Zuleta have released a new saca of their superb Manzanilla Goya XL. It has already received 93 Parker points and gold at the International Wine Challenge and Best Manzanilla. This wine is released extremely rarely, in fact this is only the third ever saca. It comes from an exhaustive selection from 10 butts from the La Goya Solera by oenologist Salvador Real, is over ten years old and bottled en rama. It is an outstanding wine, a true classic, get it if you can. Now.

Salvador Real (R) at the Madrid presentation

29.6.16 Very High Points for Williams & Humbert

Akatavino Guia de Vinos Xtreme has scored its top ten Sweet and fortified wines 2016 and no fewer than two are from Williams & Humbert. Amontillado Solera Especial Jalifa VORS came top with an amazing score of 98.5 points, closely followed by Dos Cortados Solera Especial VOS with 96 points. Akatavino is run by professional sommeliers and there are 35 members of the tasting panel who worked their way through 3,000 wines.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Palo Cortado Jauna 20%, Bodegas Garvey

Bright transparent coppery mahogany to amber at the rim with an almost imperceptible trace of green. legs.
Delightful, open and clean with some forthcoming wood notes: old oak butts with traces of old furniture and astringency followed by almond and walnut with a little volatile acidity then a hint of turrón and a trace of glycerol doing their best to balance things. Serious and old yet charming.
Some Palos Cortados lean towards the Amontillado and others towards the Oloroso. This is one of the former. It is elegant and polished with the wood and nut notes roughly balanced, and it is dry, with only just enough glycerine to cover the bones, but what classic bones; not over tannic, it has terrific length and leaves a feeeling of great satisfaction.
This lovely old wine comes from a solera established by the firm's founder William Garvey Power in 1817 and is one of the wines in the firm's Sacristia range. There is no question that it is very old  but there is no VOS or VORS label on the bottle. Given the parlous state Garvey is in, it is probably simply not worth their while to pursue the qualification. But it is worth our while to seek out these excellent wines. Do be careful though; there are some much higher prices online.
A very reasonable 26.40 euros from Licores Corredera

Monday, 27 June 2016

27.6.16 Ex Pedro Romero Director Charged with Fraud

Only his initials E.H.A. have been released but he is in big trouble for defrauding Hacienda, the Spanish tax authority, of 451,622.68 euros by underpaying tax on alcohol in 2009. He also faces a potential 15 months in prison. The tax must be declared and paid monthly, and apparently the staff was told to declare much lower amounts than were in fact leaving the premises. It seems that this continued after 2009, and a further 261,060.99 euros was defrauded in 2010, but E.H.A. no longer worked there.

According to the authorities the bodega’s books showed that firstly sales far outweighed invoicing (demonstrating cash sales without invoice and therefore avoidance of tax), and secondly that these sales were much greater than the alcohol tax which was being declared. The judge said that this was “deliberate and fraudulent” bearing in mind that the bodega had the means to pay the tax since it is included in the sale price of the wine, but this money was “obviously used for other purposes.”

All this only recalls to mind the sad demise of a once great bodega which was struggling to finance its takeover of Gaspar Florido and thus insolvent led to the suicide of its owner, Pedro Romero Candón in 2014.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Manzanilla Los Caireles 15%, Bodegas Portales Pérez

Bright golden straw with golden glints, legs. 
Fairly pungent, saline with distinct dry scrub notes of flor and a savoury hint, slightest trace of fruit and dried flowers, with a doughy yeasty touch. A distinctively sanluqueño nose.
Crisp, full, fresh and saline, very maritime with a gentle tang, dry, yeasty and zippy with a light clean and decently long finish. This is good wine.
All the wines from the Portales  Pérez family, now in its fifth generation, come under the Los Caireles umbrella. The 300 butts of Manzanilla are housed in a separate, very old and more suitably humid bodega in the Barrio Bajo while the 500 butts of other wines live in the San Antonio bodega. All their wines are produced in the artisan way and undergo minimal treatments, and the Manzanilla is about 5 years old. Unusually for Sanlucar, there are only two criaderas feeding the solera, which is probably because of the confined space in the XVI century bodega.
Around 5.50 euros

Saturday, 25 June 2016


52% of British voters have done the unthinkable and given our EU friends a major slap in the face, and there now begins a long period of uncertainty for all of us. The Conservative party has a great deal to answer for. The referendum campaign was badly fought on both sides so the electorate voted according to their own often blinkered and ignorant view blaming all our woes on the EU. 

Immigration, widely misunderstood and whipped up by the gutter press, is what probably sealed the Remain camp’s fate. One of the central EU tenets is the free movement of people, and if a member state’s economy is less healthy, its citizens can go elsewhere to find work, and pay taxes. The British economy is healthy and has naturally attracted people, but the British are at equal liberty to work in Europe in similar circumstances. However Britain’s “Island Race” mentality often doesn’t get it.

But not all of Britain wanted to leave the EU. Northern Ireland and Scotland have always embraced its ideals and voted strongly to remain, as did London. I am from Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, which is home to some 30,000 Spaniards, among other EU nationalities who have always been welcome and contributed much to the city and its cosmopolitan atmosphere, but now they are worried that they are suddenly no longer welcome, and that is an uncomfortable feeling. The Scottish Government, which has clearly stated that they are welcome, has already started talks to do all it can to remain in the EU, which may require an independence vote. That would break up the UK, the last thing the Conservative party wants, but you reap what you sow.

To misquote Monty Python, “What has the EU done for us?” A lot, actually. Europe has provided decades of peace, nearly 60% of our trade, huge infrastructure investment, security, food and drink standards, trade, workplace and environmental protection and much, much more. It has fostered a more global outlook and friendship, cultural exchange and trust among member states and their people. But it is not perfect, realistically it can’t be; there is an inevitably large bureaucracy and much reform is needed, but the good outweighs the bad, and the only way it can be reformed is from within.

I fervently hope that an independent Scotland can somehow remain, sharing and contributing to the European ideal with our friends on the continent, and continuing to ship Sherry without any new English taxes.

Cream Micaela 17%, Bodegas Barón

Deeply coloured walnut brown through mahogany to amber at the rim, legs.
Attractive, fairly fruity, raisiny PX and caramel aromas followed by savoury hints of walnut and fairly old Oloroso, but overall it has a fresh, gently fruity and tangy aroma with some seriousness behind and a notable PX texture.
A nicely balanced blend,generously flavoured and not excessively sweet, and with a soft texture and good Oloroso flavour. What a Cream Sherry should be. There is just a trace of salinity betraying its sanluqueño roots, but that just adds to its freshness and vitality. Good length.
This is a very good Cream Sherry from Sanlúcar. It is aged for about five years as a blend and is part of the well-priced and well-made Micaela range from Barón. I feel Cream Sherries are overlooked because everyone wants more fashionable dry Sherry, but this is perfect for sipping slightly chilled with some torta malagueña while watching a late night film.
About 12 euros from La Casa del Jerez