Sunday, 11 October 2015

Amontillado El Carro Single Cask 18.5%, Lustau

Quite deep browny amber with coppery highlights fading to gold with a slight trace of green at the rim, legs.
Rich and full and complex with notes of honey glazed toasted almond, turrón yema tostada and slightly spicy notes of cinnamon, vanilla pod, oak and cedar. There are all sorts of nuances both sweet and phenolic such as burnt wood, bitter orange peel and caramel, and to round it off there is a noticeable glyceric sweetness which gives a winning charm.
Full bodied and opening out to a very toasted almond/hazelnut in fruitcake with caramel character. It has a lot of texture and the sweet glyceric side of the wine almost obscures its more phenolic side, where there is a little tannin. A very long dry finish  never loses that balance and charm. A Serious wine yet a charming one, for sipping of an evening.
Using the word "cask" rather than "butt" could Lustau be taking a cue from the Whisky industry? Probably not, but it doesn't matter as this is still a really good idea, and extremely good wine. Starting in 1995 Lustau, who have long bottled and marketed Almacenista wines, decided to bottle the wine of exceptionally fine individual butts of Almacenista Sherry which would otherwise have been lost in the final blend. Being a single butt from a small solera, each release is limited to 600 bottles, and there can be no more of that particular wine.

As to age it is hard to say but this is not a young wine, maybe around 20 years. From time to time the bodega offers a range of these single cask wines: Fino Amontillado, Amontillado Fino, Manzanilla Amontillada, Amontillado Viejo, Palo Cortado, Oloroso Seco, Moscatel and Pedro Ximenez, but they are not always available. El Carro, by the way, means the cart, the sort of ox cart used formerly to transport butts - or perhaps casks - of mosto or Sherry.
€ 51.85 per 75cl bottle in Spain. Limited availability obviously. Try the internet.

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