Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Amontillado del Duque VORS 21.5%, Gonzalez Byass

Deep coppery amber with golden glints through yellow to trace green at rim, legs.
Full, intense yet a certain lightness and salty almost autolytic note betrays the faintest traces of Fino origins. The nose grows, however and develops some power and considerable complexity with hints of oak - almost cedar wood, and lots of nuts with traces of dried fruits, cinnamon  and walnut.
Big, crisp, obviously old and with some austerity. On the structural side there is lots of grip from the sheer concentration of the wine and also from wood tannins and a fair amount of volatile acidity. On the flavour side there are hints of oak, lots of toasted hazelnuts and almonds and a hint only of glyceric sweetness. Great length. It might be tempting to add a spoonful of PX to alleviate the astringency, but this has not been done, so we are left with a totally natural old very dry wine suitable for real connoisseurs or for matching with game or old cheese perhaps.
This magnificent wine comes from a very small 16 butt solera bought in 1835 (but already considerably older) by the Duke of Medinaceli and sold to Manuel Maria Gonzalez in 1857 (hence the name). The butts were originally made from cherry wood, but the wine was later transferred into the American oak it is in now. The grapes are from the Carrascal and Macharnudo pagos, and the wine from the Tio Pepe soleras eventually feeds this solera.
£25-27 in UK for a half bottle (it goes farther that way!)

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