Last night I had the great pleasure to attend a tasting by Jesús Barquín of Equipo Navazos at Bodegas Mar, their excellent Granada distributor, in Motril. Given the growing interest in Sherry and in Equipo Navazos who have done so much to develop it, the room was packed with Sherry enthusiasts. Jesús’ enthusiasm and sheer knowledge was infectious as we began with the exquisite La Bota de Amontillado 61 “Bota No.”
Then there was a vertical of the Navazos-Niepoort white wines, made in conjunction with Dirk Niepoort of Douro fame, from 2014, 2011, 2010 and 2009 (the latter showing really well from a magnum). These are Palominos from Valdespino’s Macharnudo Alto vineyard fermented and aged in butt for about 6 months under flor, but not fortified. They are delicious and the older ones showed really interesting evolution, edging slightly toward Fino flavours. They were followed by the Fino itself: the excellent La Bota de Fino 54 “Macharnudo Alto.”
Next came the Colet-Navazos sparkling Extra Brut 2012 made from Xarel.lo grapes in Penedés by Sergi Colet which, instead of a dosage had a touch of Amontillado and Palo Cortado added. Barely noticeable, this addition simply made this clean elegant dry wine more complex. This was followed by La Bota de Florpower 57 MMXII, a superb Palomino wine, not unlike the Navazos –Niepoort, but it is made from Sanlúcar grapes and aged there which really shows; there are more Manzanilla characteristics. Last in this flight was the La Bota de Palo Cortado 52 “Sanlúcar” which is a very interesting and unusual wine being a young (not quite 4 years old) Palo Cortado. Laden with Sanlúcar flavours it is amazingly complex despite its age and will surely improve over many years in bottle.
The last flight began with the zippy and complex sparkling Colet-Navazos Reserva 2011, again no dosage save for a few drops of Manzanilla and aged on lees for about 4 years. Then it was back to Sherry with the delicious La Bota de Manzanilla 55 from Sánchez Ayala, the amazing super complex La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada “59 Capataz Rivas” and the outstanding La Bota de Amontillado 58 “Navazos” from La Guita. The tasting finished with Pedro Ximénez Casa del Inca 2013, a young vintage Montilla from Pérez Barquero with open texture and delightful toffee flavours.
A brilliant tasting! What really stood out were
the distinct aromas and flavours imparted by different soils: inland vs. coastal
albariza, the different microclimates in Jerez and Sanlúcar, the effects of
flor and bottle age. Above all that there are people like Equipo Navazos who
treasure these things over homogeneity. As the French say: “Vive la difference!”
(Tasting notes on the Sherries can be found in the Tastings section)