Sunday, 7 October 2018

Manzanilla 8/41 15% Alexander Jules

Clean bright lightish amber with golden highlights.
Classic quality Sanlúcar nose with lots of saline maritime yeastiness and all the dry grassy herbal strawy, overripe apple notes one would expect, but this is serious with lots of acelaldehyde, gently oxidative  and with slight almond notes. It smells very yeasty yet not particularly bitter as some of that is from the bottom of the butt and much more complex, and it would really like to become a natural Amontillado, only they keep refreshing it, almost monthly.
Full and intense, dry and tangy, saline with a faintly rancio mineral note. It is virtually a Manzanilla Pasada with all the wonderful nuances that entails. Acidity is fairly low yet it is enough, along with a hint of bitterness, to balance beautifully with a trace of glycerine and that cabezuela character. It even has a modest texture giving it feel which adds a dimension to its great length. Superb.
This wine was selected from 8 butts in the the top row of the 170 butt Manzanilla Maruja solera system at the excellent Juan Piñero bodega in Sanlúcar's calle Trasbolsa. This is an intermediate 4 scale solera between the younger Manzanilla Jarona, also with 4, and the older and magnificent Maruja Manzanilla Pasada solera. This lovely bodega is in a prime location very close to the mouth of the Guadalquivir and has a wonderfully humid atmosphere. The Maruja solera originally belonged to Terry and used to be refreshed with wine from the pago Balbaina, close to their home town of El Puerto de Santa Maria, but for the last 20 years or so it has been refreshed with wine from the Sanlúcar pago Hornillo, from the Blanco Brothers of Viña Callejuela in fact, making it even more Sanluqueña. The wine was bottled in June 2017 - with a Diam cork - at about 8-9 years of average age and with minimal filtration. It is not called Manzanilla Pasada, but it is 
15 euros per 50 cl, Er Guerrita

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