Sunday, 25 February 2018

25.2.18 Lots Going on in Sherry Country

There is a lot happening in the Marco de Jerez at the moment, so naturally I have been spending quite a lot of time there. The XXII Festival de Jerez is in full flow with Flamenco everywhere providing an unforgettable atmosphere. I went to two great performances, at Tabanco Eguiluz where Alberto “El Almendro” was singing with a guitarist whose name I failed to catch (photo on the right), and Tabanco El Guitarrón where Paco “Gasolina Hijo” and Jesús de Rebeco sang and played respectively, while Tatiana Cohelo produced the finest zapateado (Flamenco tap dancing) I have ever seen. Added to the superb Flamenco, Guitarrón has an excellent list of Sherries by the glass.

In the wine business lots of interesting things have been happening. Ramiro Ibáñez’ stunning 2016 naturally sweet Pandorga is now available, and he and Guillermo Pérez, having bought the rights to the famous De La Riva brand will shortly launch an ancient Oloroso, an ancient Moscatel and a Fino. They will not be cheap, but having tasted them they are of impeccable, outstanding quality as you might expect. Viña Armijo has launched a new table wine, 12 Liños, a barrel aged Palomino from Miraflores, and Bodega Forlong has launched La Fleur, a Palomino aged in butts under flor. Bodegas Álvaro Domecq has come up with an innovative bottled cocktail called Waler 19 (named after a thoroughbred Arab horse and its strength) while the Mayetos Sanluqueños have a new (2017) and delicious vintage on the market.

The Blanco brothers of Viña Callejuela will soon launch three new vintage (2014) single Pago Manzanillas using the same musts as their classic single Pago table wines. The Oloroso and Fino from Lorente & Barba are now available as are some new releases from Las Botas. A Pedro Ximénez and an Amontillado are now on the market from Fernández Gao, and the girls from El Puerto, Cuatro Ojos have launched their Desvelao, dry Moscatel aged under flor and Molinero, a dry lees aged Moscatel. Meanwhile Bodegas Juan Piñero have re-vamped their standard Oloroso, Palo Cortado and Amontillado under a new label “Great Duke” with a 12 years age declaration.

The producers of most of the aforementioned wines were on hand, along with their wines, at the annual and excellent Cuatro Gatos Wine Club tasting in El Puerto de Santa María. Federico Ferrer is to be congratulated on another great tasting, as always featuring smaller but always great bodegas, not all from the Marco de Jerez.

Also of interest is the second release of a Rioja, “Monopole Clásico” from Bodegas CVNE. It contains some 20% Manzanilla La Gitana and is partly aged in Manzanilla butts, and is far better than the standard version. In fact it is the original (and legal) version, discontinued over 30 years ago.

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