Wednesday 30 January 2013

30.1.13 More on Consejo Plenary

The bodegas will have to pay 1 centimo per litre towards generic Sherry promotion. This is about triple what they were paying before. The bodegas pay about half of the Consejo’s promotional budget. The increase will help fund other sectorial projects which will also receive funding from other institutions, but CRDO director Cesar Saldana worries whether these institutions will really be able to help given their own funding crisis. The Consejo is also going to put support into the new Sherry Bar phenomenon and also the tabancos, always providing that what they are selling carries the Denominacion de Origen.

29.1.13 Ex CRDO President "Unfairly Dismissed"; Sherry Sales, 2013 Budget

The ex- President of the Consejo Regulador, Antonio Fernandez, who was relieved of the post when he was accused of fraud committed when he was a minister for employment, has had his case for unfair dismissal upheld by a court. A plenary meeting of the Consejo unanimously dismissed him last May, and he was subsequently imprisoned. He had already said that he would resign, but had not yet submitted it in writing, leaving the Consejo open to the unfair dismissal charge. He was replaced by Beltran Domecq.

Sales of Sherry have declined by 1.9% in 2012, but the figures are better than predicted. Beltran Domecq said that the last quarter of 2012 saw a positive movement providing a brake to the drop in sales. Figures announced at the first full meeting of the Consejo this year show the UK is the biggest market, showing a 3% increase, including a huge 40% increase over the festive period. The budget for 2013 was approved, showing a healthy increase in spending to 1.1million euros on generic promotion.

Monday 28 January 2013

Fino 15%, El Maestro Sierra

Quite deep strawy gold, not as pale as some, legs.
Dry yet very slightly creamy, lots of flor: saline bitterness, traces oily nuttiness,  yeast autolysis, traces olive brine, complex, quite full and serious, some age and not over filtered apparently.
Similar, an unexpected trace of ripe palomino fruit balances the bitterness, quite intensely flavoured and single-minded in style, very Jerez, long,very fine Fino.
A really characterful wine from a really characterful bodega. The grapes are from the Balbaina vineyards and the must is bought in from one of the cooperatives. Aged in a solera consisting of 5 criaderas and a solera (more than usual in Jerez) this wine has 5 to 6 years of crianza with 4 sacas annually. A bodega worth visiting as it is probably the highest in Jerez with great views to sea and facing directly into the Atlantic breezes. It is run by Pilar Pla Pechovierto, an ex almacenista, and her daughter. There are various activities at the bodega too.

I bought this in Jerez for about 6.50 euros. UK importer Indigo Wines

Back from Jerez

As many will have noticed from the odd recent post, I've been back for a couple of weeks, but have been up to the eyes with work and dealing with ancient relatives. Here, however is a brief report on the trip.

My first bodega visit was to Delgado Zuleta in Sanlucar. Pelayo Garcia, the export manager, kindly showed me round the installations in the upper part of the town on the Avenida Rocio Jurado. These bodegas are quite new and make life a lot simpler than having the 12 different addresses they had before.

New Delgado Zuleta bodegas

Before choosing the site, however much research was done into its humidity and atmosphere to ensure the optimum ageing of the wines.There are always doubters when a firm decides to move its soleras, but the move seems to have not only done no harm, but if anything actually improved them. Certainly the wines I tasted were all excellent. The new bodega has lots of up-to-date equipment, but it is used judiciously according to the needs of the individual wine.

While in Sanlucar, I stopped in at what's now the Lustau Manzanilla bodega (formerly Domecq) for a bottle of Macarena. My visit was much quicker than I'd hoped, as the Policia Local were about to tow away the car for being parked on one of the new Carriles Bici (cycle lanes). Phew! And when I got the Macarena home it was oxidised. So I suppose the Police won in the end!

Manzanilla La Goya being perfected
Back in Jerez the new blue buses were out on the streets. These were bought second-hand from Madrid as Jerez couldn't afford new buses. It can't afford much at all these days. There is a slight air of depression what with terrible unemployment (last year 3000 Jerezanos lost their jobs). There are many closed shops, even bodegas, some of which are now superstores. The Gallo Azul is closed too. What with not being able to reach agreement with the building's owners and the effects of the crisis, Juan Carlos Carrasco has decided to close and concentrate on other restaurants he owns. Hopefully the closure will only be temporary, till another restaurateur can be found to re-open the emblematic bar.

I went to see bodegas Emilio Hidalgo, and spent some time with Fernando Hidalgo discussing our favourite topic! These bodegas still occupy their original site, Calle Clavel, close to Lustau and Harveys, and very little has changed over the years. What an atmospheric bodega! It is still a family business, and is dedicated to "proper" Sherry. If you have once tasted Fino Panesa, you will see how serious they are. I can't quite decide if it is fortunate or unfortunate, but many of their wines are released in tiny quantities. It is delightful to see a firm which is content to make a decent living making excellent Sherry, and which is not bent on expansion. If you are in Jerez, this is a bodega well worth a visit - but remember to make prior arrangements. It is situated near three good restaurants: Carbona, El Patio and La Posada.

Here's a picture of the amazing Manuel Simon de la Riva roundabout in Jerez with a massive venencia pouring water into a Sherry copita.

Unfortunately, my time was limited, so I had to return to Malaga - clutching a few bottles naturally! - to see my friends and family. Even among the excellent wines from Malaga, I came across one or two interesting Sherries, and these will appear soon in the tasting section of the blog.

26.1.13 Sherry Shines at Madrid Fusion

For another year, the wines and brandies of Jerez were protagonists at Madrid Fusion, the gastronomic fair held there last week. The Consejo Regulador had a stand which was a meeting point for numerous professionals and experts who took part in the food offerings developed to demonstrate the versatility of the products of Jerez and the infinite wine/food matching possibilities. Some sessions were partly education, partly tasting, such as cocktails made using Jerez Brandy. There were also workshops marrying various types of Sherry with gourmet products like Torta del Casar and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses as well as Los Pedroches ham. Michelin starred Chef Angel Leon, of the innovative A Poniente restaurant in El Puerto de Santa Maria, initiated a conference on pescados humildes.

Friday 25 January 2013

Oloroso Sangre y Trabajadero 18%, Gutierrez Colosia

Quite deep blacky mahogany/amber fading to green tinged yellow rim, legs.
Full, quite rich, deep, hints of toast, walnuts, old barrels, quince jelly, implicit sweetness and gentle oxidation, with leathery, savoury and truffley notes suggesting the humidity of the bodega with a trace of tangy dried fruits.
Quite full, tight, fairly young but well flavoured, lots of oxidative, dried fruit and walnut notes, quite tangy and has a little drying tannin at the end, long though.
This wine has an odd name, and as far as I can find out sangre (blood) refers to Calle Sangre (Blood Street) which adjoined the central market in El Puerto de Santa Maria and where the butchers were to be found. The Trabajadero was the part of the Bodegas Cuvillo cooperage on Calle Sangre where the butts for export were branded with the name of the customer. Gutierrez Colosia bought the solera when Cuvillo went under in the 1980's, retaining most of the original label design. It is sold at about 7 years of age, but has great complexity being an old solera.

About 9 Euros in Spain, not sure about UK availability.

Thursday 24 January 2013

Amontillado Viejo 19.5%, Delgado Zuleta

Paleish, almost pure amber fading through yellow to a hint of green at the rim, legs.
Pungent and tangy, definite flor saline notes and slightest trace autolysis despite its age and sweet toasted almond and hazelnut too. The initial crispness gives way to the rounder nuttiness, very fresh, some maritime hints, could only come from Sanlucar. Zippy and very attractive.
Crisper and leaner than the Jerez equivalent, tangy, opens out on the palate just like an older and more concentrated Manzanilla pasada with the extra nuttiness from oxidation. Very long - and begging for food!
A classic old Amontillado from Sanlucar, you can still taste the Manzanilla. This lovely wine is over 20 years old, and could age for much longer. It would be great with Iberico pork...!

I paid 19.43 Euros at the bodega, but in UK Borough Wines in London have it

Bodegas: Emilio Hidalgo

Bodegas Emilio Hidalgo has a similar story to many bodegas founded in Jerez in the XIX century. The firm had its beginnings with Jose Hidalgo Frias who had set up in business in 1860 with a few acquired soleras. He was joined in 1874 by his nephew Emilio Hidalgo e Hidalgo, a businessman from Antequera (Malaga), and it was Emilio who would be the driving force of the business.

Emilio stored his wines in the bodega owned by his brother in law Raimundo Garcia Vega in the Plaza de Silos. The two men had married the sisters Ana and Josefina Lopez who owned two vineyards, Santa Ana and El Bote in the pago Carrascal. Before long the firm owned 140 hectares of vineyard in the prime areas of Anina and Carrascal. These have since been sold and the firm now buys in musts.

When Raimundo died without issue his estate passed to Emilio, who at the start of the XX century acquired the old bodegas of Molina & Cia. in the Calle Clavel from Servando Alvarez of Algeciras. This bodega in the old centre of Jerez had been owned a century before by Carlos Haurie, and serves as the Hidalgo bodega to this day. It is built in the classic bodega style with a high roof, thick walls and upper windows, specifically designed for the ageing of Sherry wine. There is a patio crammed with plants, among other things, and little if anything has changed in the last century.

By the beginning of the XX century, Don Emilio Hidalgo e Hidalgo already had a successful local business as an almacenista, and had an agent in London, and by the 1920's was developing in international markets. From 1935 the company changed its name from Emilio Hidalgo Sucesor to Raimundo Hidalgo & Cia. to Emilio Martin Hidalgo and finally in 1970 to the name we now know and respect, Emilio M Hidalgo & Cia. During those years the brothers Juan Manuel and Emilio Martin Hidalgo worked tirelessly and succeeded in exporting important quantities of wine to European markets as well as the USA and Japan.

Today the bodega remains in family hands, among them cousins Juan Manuel, Emilio and Fernando Martin Hidalgo, representing the fifth generation. Juan Manuel, an ex lawyer is involved with finance, Emilio is general manager and Fernando deals with export. After 40 years as capataz, Manuel Nieves has recently retired and been succeeded by his son Jesus. All here are dedicated to top quality “proper” Sherry. Soleras from 1860 are still running, indeed improving, and the firm's wines are a point of reference - even reverence! They take pride in the fact that they are at the forefront of quality, and  that the rest are slowly catching up. 

They have a fantastic range of serious wines. 
Fino Especial Panesa comes from a 1961 solera and takes the possible ageing of Fino under Flor to the limit – about 15 years. It is filtered only minimally to conserve its complexity. Panesa is the name of a vineyard the wine was once sourced from. An absolute cracker!
Marques de Rodil is an excellent Palo Cortado
Privilegio is a magnificent older Palo Cortado from a solera established in 1860. Only about 150 bottles are released annually.
There are two Olorosos from the same solera; Governador, taken at about 12 years old from the criaderas, and Villapanes, drawn from the solera at about 20 years old. 
Then there are the Amontillados: El Tresillo Amontillado Fino, a stunningly elegant wine taken from the criaderas at about 15 years old, and El Tresillo Amontillado Viejo, drawn from the solera (laid down in 1874) with about 50 years of age.
PX Santa Ana comes from an 1861 solera and is a huge wine, very old and complex, and only released in tiny quantities, one of the best in Jerez.

Address: C/Clavel, 29, Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz
Tel: (+34) 956 341 078
Visits? Yes, but only serious Sherry lovers and by prior appointment.

23.1.13 Top Penin points for Sherry

The top Spanish wine guide, the Guia Penin,  has begun the marathon series of tastings for the next edition at the Consejo Regulador in Jerez. By the end of the trip, they will have tasted some 10,000 wines. After tasting well over 200 Sherries, the team declared that the standard was very high with marks averaging over 90 points out of 100. In the last edition (2013), wines from the whole of Spain except Sherry managed an average score of 87.5, while Sherry managed an average score of 91.

Tuesday 22 January 2013

22.1.13 Prices of Sherry to rise 6%. Lustau Successes, Consejo Tastings

Due to the shortage of grapes from the drought-ridden 2012 harvest, the price of musts has virtually doubled – though still 12% below the average price in Spain.

For the time being many bodegas are maintaining existing prices, as it takes a long time for new wines to come through the system.  Producers estimate that the price of recent sales of must in the area (@360 Euros per 500 litre butt) have almost doubled in the last year.  In the case of grapes, the price has also doubled, from 18-24 centimos per kilo to around 36 centimos last year.

Francisco Guerrero, president of the growers, reckons that the bodegas will have to gradually increase their bottled wine prices to cover the rise in the cost of raw material. The wines are ridiculously cheap anyway.
According to the Observatorio Espanol del Mercado del Vino (OEMV), the 2012 harvest in Spain generally came to about 33million hl, 7 million hl or roughly 20% below average, the same as in Jerez. With shortages of grapes/wine in France and Italy as well, there has been heavy demand for blending wines resulting in inevitable price rises.

Bodegas Emilio Lustau has finished 2012 as the Spanish bodega winning most prizes - 82 trophies and medals. This puts the firm in seventh position in the world in the list published by the World Association of Journalists and Writers on Wines and Spirits. This does not include Robert Parker putting 25 Lustau wines among the best in the World. Spain as a country came third after the USA and France.

The Consejo Regulador is re-starting the monthly Initiation to Sherry tastings which it does at the Casa del Vino on the first Saturday of the month as of the 2nd February after the Christmas break.
The tasting course will start with the Pemartin range produced by Diez Merito, and will be imparted by the bodega’s enologist, Jose Antonio Portales along with the Consejo Director, Cesar Saldana. The tastings, which bring together Sherry aficionados and professionals with the top wines, include a seminar on vitiviniculture, sensorial analysis and tasting techniques, and an accreditive diploma.
The prices are 12 Euros for the seminar and tasting, and 18 Euros for the virtual tasting kit. Places should be booked in advance at the Aula de Formacion ( as places are limited. Tastings last for two hours, from 12.00 – 14.00.

La Casa del Vino, Jerez

Sweet Old Oloroso "Las Senoras" 18%, Delgado Zuleta

Quite deep old blacky browny amber with reddy/coppery tints, fading through amber to yellow rim, legs.
Assertive, full and quite sweet mainly Oloroso and PX but a hint of grapey Moscatel, hints of toffee, molasses and the slightest trace of orange and a slight savoury note, complex and refined.
Sweet, but not excessively so, the most obvious thing is flavour and depth, not too grippy, deep raisin and fig notes along with Oloroso, long and very clean finish, no cloying. Well put together.
This wine was originally blended for the ladies of the house, and no wonder they liked it. It is a touch less sweet than a cream, and less sweetness tends to mean more flavour. The wine is around 10-12 years old, and contains Oloroso, PX, Moscatel and a touch of Amontillado.

10.00 Euros from the Bodega. Available UK from Borough Wines, London - and hopefully soon at Drinkmonger in Edinburgh.

21.1.13 Gonzalez Byass "Sherry Summit"

Gonzalez Byass UK is holding its first “Sherry Summit” in Birmingham on January 23rd to help spread the growing Sherry revival to the midlands.  In London the revival has been growing for a couple of years with the establishment of some Sherry Bars. GB has been working closely with bars and restaurants with comprehensive Sherry listings, and is keen to go beyond London.  The Summit is a chance for the trade to taste the full GB range including the new release of the Palmas and a vintage Sherry. Tio Pepe will be served from the cask by a venenciador.

Date: January 23rd             Time: 13.00 – 17.00
Venue: Lost And Found, 8, Bennetts Hill, Birmingham B2 5RS
To attend please e-mail

11.1.13 New President for IWSC

Mauricio Gonzalez of Gonzalez Byass has been succeeded as president of the International Wine & Spirit Competition by Garvin Brown IV, president of Brown Forman (who own Jack Daniels). Sr Gonzalez was the 3rd spanish president of the competition which was established in 1969 and this year celebrated its 42nd edition. In 2010 GB won the IWSC Wine Maker of the Year and Spanish Wine Producer.

Monday 7 January 2013

Manzanilla La Goya 15%, Delgado Zuleta

Bright strawy gold, light legs.
Moderately intense and marine with hints of salinity, flor and dried flowers with a trace of bitter almond and cabezuela showing through. A classic Manzanilla nose with a trace of wildness, but just on the elegant side of that.
Fairly intensely flavoured, dry with that delightful bitterness from the yeast, hints of nuts and traces of butter from the autolysis giving it depth, and a moderate acidity giving it zing and length. This is thoroughbred Manzanilla and has a strong capacity to make you want more.
Named after a famous singer, Aurorita Jaufre, nicknamed La Goya, and who loved this wine, the brand name goes back to 1918 when she gave permission for her name to be used. The wine, which is aged through 7 "clases" or scales is at least 6 years old, about enough to call itself Manzanilla Pasada, and certainly showing signs of intent. In fact in Spain it is labelled "Manzanilla Pasada" but just "Manzanilla"  for the export markets. Delgado Zuleta is the oldest firm in Sanlucar still trading, going back to 1744. La Goya was the Sherry served to their Royal Highnesses Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Asturias on the occasion of their wedding banquet on the 22nd May 2004. They are now, of course King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain. In 2018, to celebrate the centenary of the brand, a smart new label was introduced.

£7.00 (half bottle) from Vino, Edinburgh. Whole range available at Borough Wines, London.

7.1.13 Canada Agrees with EU to Recognise DO Sherry

31st December 2012 was the date when Canada officially recognised the Denominacion de Origen Sherry, leaving all the wine’s third rate imitators unable to use the word on their labels. For a long time, the Canadian market has been used to imitations from the US, South Africa, Australia,  and even Canada itself which were undercutting the price of the real thing, effectively stealing its market. Now, even phrases like “Sherry style” cannot be used in labelling.

Canada imported 330,285 litres of (real) Sherry in 2011, 12% down on 2010. Unsurprisingly, the Canadians are used mainly to the medium and cream styles which are more easily imitated, but there is now a major opportunity for real Sherry to be promoted and take advantage of the new situation. Let’s hope the opportunity is acted upon quickly. A lot of education will be needed, and careful promotion in the 13 Canadian Liquor Boards.

Sunday 6 January 2013

6.1.13 New York Times; Wine Spectator; Reyes Magos

New York Times visits Sherry Country

The New York Times travel section decided to delve into the mystery of Palo Cortado, and visited two bodegas in El Puerto and one in Sanlucar for their report. They visited Gutierrez Colosia and Obregon in El Puerto and Hidalgo La Gitana in Sanlucar, three family-run bodegas who stock these wines, as complex as they are beautiful, to try to understand Palo Cortado.

The NYT discovered (what we all know) that Palo Cortado is a chalk cask marking which identifies the wine in the form of an angled stroke with a short horizontal line crossing it. Juan Carlos Gutierrez told them that he couldn’t tell them how to make PC, it just happens. Sherry is not just any wine; there are factors which can’t be controlled by humans. Manolo Obregon agreed, saying that PC is an accident. It is quite a rare one too, Obregon rarely sell any, but the picturesque bodega attracts many visitors.

Javier Hidalgo, one who really knows Sherry and has written books on the subject, declared that “it is no accident. We make a quite a lot and it has taken generations of family to do it. It lacks the delicacy of Amontillado, the structure of Oloroso and the freshness of Manzanilla. We only sell about 800 bottles of PC a year and that’s more for prestige than profit”. He then put the remains in his glass back into a butt - of Amontillado. When quizzed about this, and would that not change the style of the wine, he shook his head, saying no, it’s like a tear in the ocean. Then he switched off the lights.

Source Diario de Jerez

Wine Spectator listing for Lustau
The American publication The Wine Spectator publishes a list of the 100 best wines of the year, all having been awarded 90 or more points, and in position 82 is a Sherry - Amontillado Solera Reserva Los Arcos from Emilio Lustau. Other Spanish wines also feature in the list, from Rioja, Almansa, Ribera del Duero and Bierzo.

Reyes Magos (Three Kings) visit Jerez

The Kings' cavalcade hit the streets today, throwing millions of sweets to the children.

Source Diario de Jerez

Saturday 5 January 2013

5.1.13 Students visit Osborne

1,800 students will visit Osborne’s bodegas in C/ Los Moros in El Puerto de Santa Maria to see how wine is made during their courses. The visits have been going on for a decade as part of the Council’s education programme, and are very popular. This year students from 17 schools and colleges will visit, totalling 61 groups, the first of which will be tourism students from the Juan Lara Institute. Students from 5 years old can also attend cooking workshops “Cooking is Fun”. The intention is to impart an understanding of food and wine as well as good dietary habits.

Tuesday 1 January 2013

Tapas: Bolitas de Bacalao

Bolitas de Bacalao (little cod balls) are delicious tapas from Southern Spain and Portugal. They are made from the traditional salt cod, so need pre-preparation, but only take half an hour to prepare. Here's how...!

Ingredients for 5 people:

500 grams salt cod (any other fish would do just as well)                        Olive oil for frying
300 grams potatoes, coarsely chopped                                                  Plenty chopped parsley
1 large onion, finely chopped                                                                 Plain flour
2 large eggs, beaten                                                                               Breadcrumbs
2 teeth garlic, chopped                                                                          Salt and pepper

Soak the cod in water for 24 hours to remove salt, changing the water 3 or 4 times. You can leave it in the fridge overnight. Once ready, fry the cod with the onion and garlic for ten minutes or so, or till the cod flakes and the onion is golden. Remove from the frying pan and allow to cool, then carefully remove any skin and bones from the cod.

Chop the potatoes and boil them, and when ready, mash them with a little olive oil. Once everything is cool, take a fork and mash the cod, onion and garlic together with the potato, a little salt and pepper and lots of parsley forming a mixture of everything.

Now form 4-5cm diameter balls from the mixture and roll them in the flour, dip them in the egg and finally roll them in the breadcrumbs. (At this stage one could freeze the cod balls for future use). Fry the cod balls in a frying pan with plenty of hot olive oil until golden, keeping them on the move constantly.

Two or three cod balls make a lovely tapa served with a little salad, and /or some alioli (garlic mayonnaise) for dipping.

The ideal accompaniment to this tapa would be a Fino or Manzanilla Sherry.

Off to Jerez...Again!

I'll be away in Spain soon for a couple of weeks of you-know-what, and apologise in advance for the inevitable lack of posts during that time. Hopefully it will be worth it, though, as there will be more info, photos, tasting notes etc. to follow.

Hasta luego!

The Palmas from Gonzalez Byass

I've just posted my tasting notes on the four Palma wines released by Gonzalez Byass last November, and I'm hoping very much to be able to afford to buy the 2012 releases... Quite apart from being excellent and interesting wines, they represent an exciting innovation on the marketplace, for which GB must be heartily congratulated. It is only Sherries of real quality which can carry the standard for Jerez, and these are certainly  fine examples which show emphatically just how good and how unique Sherry is.

What is most interesting is that one can study the wine's metamorphosis from a six year-old Fino through to a forty-five year-old Amontillado, observing all the subtle changes that happen. The wines are selected from the solera, 1st criadera, 2nd criadera and 3rd criadera, showing one what is happening inside the butts themselves. All the dead yeast cells on the bottom of the butts start to add autolytic nuances to the Fino - those traces of Marmite - which, with the bitter almondy Flor aromas give Finos their identity. This simply becomes more concentrated and complex over time. By ten years the Flor has started to die off, the oxidative process has begun, and levels of glycerol, acidity and alcohol slowly rise as there is no longer any Flor to consume them. Oxidation and age add further nuances, as does the fact that the wines are bottled "en rama" and have thus lost nothing in the way of flavour and aroma which stabilisation causes. Seek out these wines, buy them if you can - or share costs with friends - but whatever you do, you must try them!

Cuatro Palmas 20.5%, Gonzalez Byass

Pale towards mid-amber, ruddy tints, legs.
Most attractive, classic Amontillado nose of top quality. The transformation is complete. Toasted hazelnuts, honey, toast, a glyceric sweetness like turron yema tostada, almond essence, traces of cinnamon, damp barrels, toasted sesame seeds, yet also traces of Flor salinity and zip. Very complex and beautiful.
Quite crisp, some acidity there, up front flavour which mellows through hazelnut and marzipan, eternally long and quite superb.
This wine is 45 years old and comes from the six butts dating from 1871 called the Museo Solera. GB still refer to it as a Fino, but it has surely been Amontillado for at least the last 30 years. It was bottled "en rama" on 24th October 2011 for release in November. It underwent carbon 14 tests to prove its age. It is very rare to try a wine so old, let alone one which could happily age for much longer. Only age itself and the fact that it was aged biologically as well as oxidatively could confer on it such complexity. It is absolutely wonderful.

About £57.00 (50cl)

Fino Tres Palmas 16.05%, Gonzalez Byass

Slightest trace of amber creeping in to the deep strawy gold, legs.
Definitely turning towards Amontillado, fewer Flor influences, though still some bitterness and salinity. Now there are hints of sweet hazelnut, toast, traces of turron yema tostada (a delicious ground almond egg and sugar bar covered with egg yolk and toasted lightly), perfectly controlled oxidation.
Still light and Fino feeling, tangy with traces of autolysis, still quite bitter, but hints of toasted hazelnuts and honey. A drier finish, and very long and with intricate complexities.
 This wine comes from the 1st criadera of the same solera as the Una Palma and Dos Palmas. It is now 10 years old, and most butts have lost the Flor, but this selection was made from those which still retained a very thin layer. It was bottled "en rama" on 24th October 2011 for release in November.

About £39.00 (50cl)

Fino Dos Palmas 15.55% (2011 Release), Gonzalez Byass

Strawy, golden, only very slightly darker than Una Palma, legs.
Full, lots of Flor, salty and bitter, a trace drier than Una Palma and less fruity. Still a Fino, but a hint of autolysis and that oxidation which is beginning to lean towards Amontillado.
Noticeable increase in glycerine giving palate a rounder feel, but still has that bitter saline Flor character, full, tangy and very long. Lovely.
Nearing the cusp where Fino begins to change into Amontillado. This wine is 8 years old, from the second criadera, and still under Flor, and was bottled "en rama" in October 2011 for release in November. (Valdespino's Fino Inocente is sold at about this age).

About £18.50 (50cl)

Fino Una Palma 15.15%, (2011 Release) Gonzalez Byass

Paleish strawy gold, slightly deeper than most Finos and with some legs.
Full, touches of salinity and yeastiness from the Flor with early stage hints of autolysis. Still very much Fino but certainly developing, with slight traces of oxidation, toast, bitterness, and quince-like fruit, very complex and attractive.
Still Fino but fuller, touches of quince, salty yeasty bitterness. Interestingly it appears ever so slightly sweeter and more acidic than Tio Pepe but it isn't. Tangy, complex nuances and very long. Delicious.
This wine was drawn and selected from 142 butts in the 4th criadera of Fino Amontillado. The wine is 6 years old and most butts are still contain Flor. It was bottled "en rama" on the 21st October 2011 and released in November.

About £14.00 (50cl)