Sunday, 7 July 2019

Manzanilla Mirabrás 2014 Edición Limitada 15%, Barbadillo

Strrawy golden yellow with bright golden highlights.
Classic and extraordinarily complex Manzanilla with notes of straw, mostly dried herbs, seaside salinity, olive brine, traces of sourdough bread crust, even toasted bread, and acetaldehyde. The flor bitterness is pronounced and there are slightly buttery hints of cabezuela as well, and yet there still remains just a hint of the original Palomino table wine. Super subtle, balanced and elegant.
Verging on intense but extremely refined. There is still just a trace of lightness and appley fruit behind all the flor and that slightly buttery cabezuela note rounding it off. It is incredibly smooth with the characteristic dry chalky texture from the albariza and a hint of salinity at the end. The key word is balance, there are just so many subtle flavours here, bur all beautifully integrated in a hand made wine watched over with love at every stage. Excellent wine.
The fascinating Mirabrás project began with the idea of using grapes from 40 year old plus Palomino vines in the Cerro de Leyes vineyard in Santa Lucía to make a classic unfortified Sanlúcar Vino Blanco the way it used to be made: briefly sunning the grapes in the vineyard, fermenting with natural yeasts and ageing on fine lees in toneles well seasoned with Manzanilla and full to restrict flor growth. The first release was the 2014 vintage which was aged for 14 months, first in tanks and then toneles with flor allowed to develop, but not enough to transform the wine, which was then bottled en rama. The vintage currently on sale is the 2017, but the bodega has already sold out, unsurprisingly.

This, by contrast, is an unreleased and very limited version of it, also from 2014, statically aged and from a single tonel, but the wine has remained in it since it was transferred from tank in 2016. It was then made into a fully fledged vintage Manzanilla. Thanks to the sunning, the wine already had some 13.5% so very little alcohol was required to bring it up to 15% and flor was allowed to develop. Its development was assisted by the occasional "saca en falso" which involves removing some of the wine and then putting it back again which gives the flor more air and the wine a trace more oxidation. It was bottled en rama in January 2019.
N/A commercially


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