Monday, 21 November 2016

Alba Ancestral 11%, Viticultores Alba

Very slightly hazy pale strawy gold, virtually no legs and good, very fine mousse.
Attractive and very fresh with gently tangy Palomino fruit, traces of apple, lemon peel, dried apricot and straw. Some aromas of bottle fermentation and a certain yeasty, bready, almost autolytic undertow balanced by some minerality. 
Fresh, clean and quite light with moderate acidity but develops more depth and complexity. There is some fruit there and a hint of biscuit but also some Manzanilla flavour, but without any flor bitterness. There is a real sense of  terroir which shows how good Palomino can be in the right hands; it is very moreish with an amazingly clean finish - and the sparkle lasts really well.
This is a delicious naturally sparkling wine from Sanlúcar made from Palomino grapes grown in Miraflores albariza. No vintage date is given, but L15 on the label probably indicates 2015, which seems likely. At 11 degrees the grapes were presumably picked reasonably early to retain some acidity and give zip to the wine. Hardly any sulphur was added. Fermentation took place with local yeasts in special food grade plastic containers and after 12 days the wine was bottled still fermenting and unfiltered so the fermentation could continue in bottle. The bottles then spend 5 months laid down before hand disgorgement  with no addition of licor de expedición, just more of the same wine, so it is good and dry. This process is a variation on the method used to make Champagne and Alba refer to it as "método sanluqueño" and it is all about the Palomino and the albariza, a soil which is very similar to that of Champagne. It does leave a trace of perfectly harmless, almost unnoticeable sediment though. This stuff is lovely and could have a big future, but the quantities number only in the hundreds of bottles, unfortunately, but one can only much admire its producers.
18.20 euros from Licores Corredera

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