Saturday, 7 January 2017
Manzanilla 16%, Alexander Gordon
Bright, fairly deep amber fading to gold, legs.
Very well developed and quite intense, this has been in bottle for at least a decade. It smells lovely nonetheless, and much more complex than it was originally. The extended bottle ageing has endowed the wine with an oxidised, very slightly oily, almost Amontillado character yet crisp Manzanilla shines through: salt, dried flowers, flor bitterness with a strong umami note along with faint autumn leaves, seaweed and tobacco notes. It does not have that slightly sweet aroma of Amontillado, and has a wilder penetrating character.
Full and intense, tangy, crisp and dry with a trace of bitterness. The most obvious flavour is oxidation, but it works so well with the wine's wild Manzanilla character. It is very clean and quite delicious with terrific length, but not for the faint hearted.
Lustau own the Alexander Gordon brand name which is used as a sous-marque for export markets such as Scandinavia and Japan, so I was surprised to see it available here, though it is an old bottling. There is a whole range of these wines: Fino (at 15.5%) Amontillado, Oloroso, Palo Cortado, East India, Cream, PX and Moscatel. The Gordon family has a long history in Jerez starting with Arthur Gordon and dating back to the XVIII century and there are various branches which have intermarried with other Sherry dynasties. Many people might think this wine is off, but it is far from off, it has simply aged beautifully (it has 16% alcohol to protect it) and provides a fascinating insight into how Sherry develops when well stored in bottle over long periods of time.
10 euros from Er Guerrita