Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Palo Cortado Viejo VORS 19%, Hidalgo la Gitana

Clean deep amber to patinated mahogany through yellow to a touch of green at the rim, legs.
Deeply nutty; walnut, toasted nuts, garrapinadas (almonds cooked in caramel), toffee - a slight suggestion of Madeira, and also a savoury hint, wood too, and in the background a distinct saline air from the flor once there and overall delicacy which show it is from Sanlucar. Very complex and constantly opening out. Beautiful.
Tangy and lively, dry - only some glycerol to give a little smoothness. Intensely flavoured if not as full bodied as some wines from Jerez, but rather more incisive. No full fat oloroso on the palate, more lean amontillado but with more depth. That tang carries the flavour through to some incredible length. If the standard concept of Palo Cortado is amontillado on the nose and oloroso on the palate, then this is exceptional: more amontillado on the palate, leaner, crisper. Who cares, it's lovely!
This magnificent wine would be brilliant with game or after dinner, but perhaps accompanied by some sort of nibble, ideally old cheese. It was bottled in 2003 after ageing for a minimum of 30 years - and probably quite a few more. Thus, it also has a decade of bottle age which has certainly done no harm - but there is a little sediment. The grapes came from Balbaina and Miraflores, and the juice was free run. The family used to pick out special butts for personal use, but decided a while ago to bottle limited quantities for sale. The label shows an Imperial Eagle as Javier Hidalgo, proprietor of the firm, is a great supporter of wildlife in the nearby Coto Donana.
About £80 per 75cl bottle in the UK. I got this from Villeneuve Wines, Edinburgh and Peebles. UK distributor is Mentzendorff.

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