Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Amontillado Viejo 1830 VORS 19%, El Maestro Sierra

Quite pale amber/chestnut through to yellow with golden tints, looks old, legs.
Intense, complex and beautiful. It is amazing how it retains minute bitter traces of its Fino origins despite its age, depth and potency. There are vaguely smoky spicy wood notes, along with the sweeter toasted hazelnut and almond notes, but all these are beautifully integrated into an amazing wine. The more you sniff, the more you find
Crisp, intense, tangy and dry, racy, quite a mouthful, but once you let it roll round the mouth it keeps on giving. These old wines are hard work, but so very rewarding - they are a bit of an intellectual exercise. There is a decent amount of glycerol balancing out the acidity and wood notes, but not enough to stop it being a very dynamic wine, assertive and fresh, with unbelievable length.
This astoundingly good wine is from a tiny 1 butt solera with 3 criaderas dated 1830, still in the original beautiful and still totally practical butts made by the bodega's founder, the master cooper Jose Antonio Sierra in the early XIX century. Most unusually, however, these butts contain 120 arrobas (2,000 litres), and they offer a fantastic balance of air to surface area of wood to wine, giving the wine its incredible depth of character. After a long biological ageing period in the Fino solera, the wine destined for Amontillado goes to  the first of the 120 arroba butts and is fortified to 17%. Here it undergoes an even longer oxidative ageing, leaving the solera with over 50 years of age, before being bottled and labelled by hand. Only 200-300 bottles are released.
Somewhere around £120 per bottle. UK importers Indigo Wine

(foto:Migue Zayas)

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