Tag Archives: Jerez

Bibendum Degustacion de Vinos – 3/06/2013

Bibendum as I have said many times, are one of the best importers of wine in Australia. For the first time they hosted a tasting of their entire range of Spanish producers, and some were gracious enough to fly all the way to Australia for the event. Here is a very long list of wines I tasted.

Colet-Navazos Cava Extra Brut 2009
Nice gun flint volcanic notes. Clean pure fresh light, classic but fairly simple and safe.

Navazos I Think Manzanilla
Slightly rich and creamy, toasty and crunchy texture.

Argueso Manzanilla
Pure fresh light, clean and brisk, friendly and appealing.

Argueso Las Medallas Manzanilla
A bit deeper and richer, bolder but still nice and salty, sweeter fruit character.

San Leon Manzanilla
Zingy zesty, so fresh, not what you think of manzanilla.

Angel Rodriguez Martinsancho Verdejo 2011
Fig skin and herb notes. Exquisitely balanced, light but not thin.

Val de Sil Montenovo Blanco 2012
Mid-palate texture saltiness. Bright fruit-driven but savoury.

Val de Sil Godello 2011
Quiet. Bright and fresh, fruit-forward, nice and textural.

Val de Sil Pezas da Portella Godello 2010
Salty volcanic oily nose. Much more elegant and restrained.

Horacio Calvente Pago La Guindalera Blanco 2010
Classic but restrained and dry, fresh musky floral elements.

Mengoba Brezo Blanco 2011
Tight and sharp, very precise, really good but not offering a lot.

Mengoba Blanco Godello Y Dona Blanco Sobre Lias 2010
Nicely developed, slightly wilder and more mineral.

Mengoba Brezo Tinto 2011
Bright juicy floral notes, fresh and juicy but tight and straight.

Mengoba Flor de Brezo 2010
Tighter spicier and leaner, much more savoury.

Mengoba Mencia de Espanillo 2009
Intense tight concentrated, juicy and fairly soft but intense.

Mengoba Mencia de Espanillo 2010
Amazing precision and integration, LENGTH.

Mengoba Estaladina 2010
A little dirtier and wilder, dark and intense.

Domino do Bibei Lapola Blanco 2010
Tight juicy round full friendly.

Domino do Bibei Lapena Blanco 2010
Wilder funkier basalt, intense super godello up to 11.

Domino do Bibei Lalama 2009
Soft juicy full, tight.

Domino do Bibei Lacima 2008
Wild but a little short, lacking something.

Adega Algueira Brandon Blanco 2012
Herbal green fig, very fresh and food friendly.

Adega Algueira Cortezada 2011
Denser and more lifted aromatically, brisk concentrated quince like, high acids.

Adega Algueira Merenzao 2010
Spicy wild earthy, generous yet tight.

Adega AlgueiraCarravel Barrica Mencia 2009
Denser tight, softer and fuller.

Adega Algueira Pizarra 2010
Not seeing it, might need more time.

Quinta Da Muradella Caino Redondo 2009
Too funky and wild, tougher more traditional and rustic.

Quinta Da Muradella Souson 2009
Closed and developed, tight focused acid great.

Exopto Horizonte Blanco 2011
Juicy fruit (musk) sweet, quite different, more Loire style.

Exopto Bozeto de Exopto 2011
Soft bright juicy clean, pleasant character, exceptional value.

Exopto Horizonte de Exopto 2010
Tighter more integrated, much more traditional.

Exopto de Exopto 2009
Deep and soft, juicy reflection of the variety.

Felix Callejo Rosado Vina Pilar 2012
Juicy fresh red fruit sweet.

Felix Callejo Flores de Callejo 2010
Bold juicy dark and intense, fairly straight-forward.

Felix Callejo Crianza 2009
Denser earthier and fuller, quite vintage specific.

Felix Callejo Majuelos de Callejo 2009
Tighter grainier and earthier, very generous.

Felix Callejo Gran Callejo 2006
Intense tight precise and still closed.

Felix Callejo Finca Valdelroble 2008
Stinky reduction, bright wild salty.

Felix Callejo Finca Valdelroble 2009
Juicy hot still very fresh.

Condado de Haza 2009
Very intense dark almost molasses, very soft easy and generous.

El Vinculo Crianza 2006
Extremely traditional, burnt aromatics.

Pesquera Tinto Crianza 2009
Wild earthy savoury, soft concentrated, REAL.

Pesquera Tinto Crianza 2010
Rounder larger fuller, not too different in fact.

Pesquera Reserva 2008
Wild earthy savoury, unbelievably tight.

Dehesa La Granja Tempranillo 2005
Soft bright and generous.

Bodegas Carchello 2011
Quite spicy and approachable.

Terroir Al Limit Torroja Vi de Vila 2011
Light fresh pure lean and clean.

Terroir Al Limit L’Arbossar 2010
Tighter, denser more generous.

Terroir Al Limit Dits del Terra 2010
So elegant but hauntingly complex.

Terroir Al Limit Les Manyes 2010
Beautifully floral yet spicy, intense and tight, extremely long.

Terroir Al Limit Les Tosses 2010
Darker more brooding and more fruit sweetness.

Clos Manyettes Priorat 2007
Punchy and unctuous.

Clos Mogador 2007
Toasty smoky earthy wild terroir wine.

Equipo Navazos No. 31 La Bota de Amontillado
Toasty caramel nose, rich but still dry, wild and feral.

Equipo Navazos No. 37 La Bota de Amontillado
Creamier honeyed spice caramel, salty richer rollier.

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The Sherry Revolution (Jerez, Spain – Day Two)

As I talked about in my previous post, most people think sweet when they think sherry, but there is far more to it. Different styles were developed over time, but essentially the principle of the fortification process was to allow the wines to age in an oxidative process whereby barrels were not completely filled and in the case of the dry styles a thin layer of yeast was allowed to form on the surface of the wine known as flor. With the sweeter and higher alcohol wines this flor does not exist and are thus more oxidative in nature, and often age for longer both in solera and bottle. After all, if the wine is already oxidised in the barrel it hardly matters if you drink it several months after opening the bottle. With the sherry rainbow of styles on offer, it actually means that sherry is a versatile and unique companion to food. Possibly one of the most famous food matches with manzanilla for example, is freshly grilled sardines which are very salty and pair perfectly with the fresh acids of the sherry. There is currently a sherry revolution as new generations are discovering this ancient wine style, most notably in London and New York. Several wine experts still maintain that sherry is woefully undervalued and I couldn’t agree more. It just takes a little while to understand the wine, and shake the image of it being for old fuddy-duddies.
Can you tell I’m missing home?

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Hitting the flor (Jerez, Spain – Day One)

What comes to mind when you hear the word sherry? Depending on where you are from, the most likely response is little old ladies of British descent sipping on sweet wine out of small glasses. Considering the history of this particular wine this image is makes a lot of sense, but certainly isn’t 100% accurate. There is a certain irony in the fact that many of the sweet wines in the world were actually heavily targeted towards the British markets of the past, possibly none more so than sherry. They even designed specialty wines for them, most notably cream sherry which is still today the most familiar style to consumers in many parts of the world. Sherry wine as it is today is one of the oldest wine styles in the world, dating back to the Moors who introduced distillation and fortification over a thousand years ago. The British fell in love with the wine after Francis Drake sacked Cadiz and took several thousand casks back to England, and since then the UK has been their biggest market. To maintain consistency a system was devised to always have a constant supply, and this was the solera system. A minimum of four rows of barrels were stacked, and a minimum of three times a year the barrels are filled one-third from the top down. In the past this was done by hand using jugs, but today the wine is transferred to tanks and blended before being passed down. Therefore you can bottle sherry three times a year, which is important for the drier styles which are much better when they are fresh. With the higher alcohol fortification the wine can live longer in the bottle even after opening, which is why it is so common to find really old bottles in your grandparents bars. But the dry styles really need to be drunk within six months of bottling, as they tend to become a bit tired. Not easy for us down in Australia, hence my desire to taste from the solera when I visited. The two producers I visited are some of the oldest and most important in the region.

The first of many attempts to remove some sherry from the solera

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Gonzalez Byass – 03/07/2012

Tio Pepe
Fresh apples, toasty brioche quite doughey, bright pale nose. Very fresh and intense fruit forward, bright acids, very little rancio influence, nice texture, and good clean finish. Very nicely balanced and approachable.

Del Duque Amontillado Viejo (30 years)
Creamy toffee burnt caramelised butter, caramel fudge. Creamy smooth sweet texture but dry flavours. Very complex, evolves across the palate, fairly intense, quite hot but relatively well integrated, showing some toasty barrel characters.

Apostoles Palo Cortado Viejo
Deeper darker caramel and toffee notes, slightly smoky toasty roasted nut aromas. Sweet viscous texture, very warm and rich on the palate, toasty almond biscuit caramel, hazelnuts walnuts, caramel brittle.

Matusalem Oloroso Dulce Viejo
A suprising amount of freshness, very late toasty smoky (almost whiskey cask). Very raisined, very rummy, very spirity in general.

Noe Pedro Ximenez Viejo
Interesting balsamic notes, very mature complex characters, looking a lot less sweet than younger ones, a lot less raisin notes, toasty deep dark chocolate characters, complex slightly savoury raisin characters.

That’s a big bottle of Tio Pepe

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Lustau – 3/07/2012

Manzanilla Papirusa
Very pale straw colour, purest palomino. Quite a light and fresh nose, very delicate salty characters, some fresh green fruit notes. Slightly viscous but very light and fresh, some good intensity. A little complexity and salty ham character.

Puerto Fino
More smoky toasty rancio elements, slightly gamey. Toastier more intense texture, but with some savoury creaminess. Still very fresh but a more masculine style of dry sherry.

La Ina Fino
Very intense aromatics, very flor oxidative, mineralic earthiness. Bolder and fuller on the palate, retaining freshness but much more heavy and complex in structure and flavours.

Almacenista Manuel Cuevas Jurado Manzanilla Amontillada
Very cheesy notes, different leesy elements above the salt characters. Very soft and subtle, creamy texture and viscosity, roasted vegetables, savoury baked cream, quite long and complex.

Los Arcos Dry Amontillado
Lovely toasted caramel toffee aromas, glazed cheeses. Creamy palate, lightly smoked wood, soft creamy texture, quite light and fresh, not a lot of character. Builds a little on the back of the palate.

Amontillado VORS (30 years)
Gorgeous colour, like rich toffee. Astonishingly aromatic but also quite subtle and complex, toffee and coconut, almost like a Bounty bar. Very fresh tight and focused on the palate, elevated on the palate, Commands your attention, very fresh and slightly salty savoury.

Almacenista “Vides” Palo Cortado de Jerez
Amazingly complex aromas, floral, maraschino cherries, almonds, hazelnut liqueur. Very soft smooth and complex on the palate, wonderful savoury nut characters, still some freshness making it good with food, but something subtle and savoury to pair with.

Emparatriz Eugenia Very Rare Oloroso
Quite delicate on the nose, almost too subtle. Pure freshness, very long, some fermentation characters. Very nice drinking, just a little empty and without character or definition.

Anada 1997 Vintage Sherry Rich Oloroso Abocado
Showing a little of the alcohol on the nose, very delicate small raisin aromas. Slightly rum sweet, very fresh raisiny characters, nice full flavour and character, good balance, hitting a nice spot between sweet and savoury. Wonderful character and unique style.

East India Solera
Smoky toasty molasses, a hint of raisin, but quite dark and savoury in character. Bold rolling flavours, constantly changing, very complex and long, some nut and umami characters. Some interesting fungal shitake truffle character.

Moscatel Emilin
Bright intense fruit sweet nose, quite raisiny. Deep soft and full, but wonderfully fresh and balanced, a great companion to dessert. Wonderful characters of dried moscatels and some delicate spice.

Pedro Ximinez San Emilio
Very grapey and thick on the nose, a very classic style of PX, very thick heavy, some nice chocolate character.

Pedro Ximenez VORS (30 years)
Smoky toasty woody ash aromas, very very toasty burnt coconut husk. Insanely reduced and thick, barely even liquid anymore. Insanely complex, tastes exactly like treacle, very smoky intense coconut, like a really rich dark dessert.

Javier Lustau Solera Gran Riserva Brandy
Quite a subtle nose, very complex and delicate, agree that it has more an Armagnac character. Very balanced and subtle, quite smooth and yet fresh. Well contained alcohol.

Graduation of aged pedro ximinez

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Bodegas Hidalgo – 2/07/2012

Amontillado solera (120 years old, 43 year old wine)
Nice toasty caramel smoky toasty notes. Fresh but salty, you taste the difference in the wine here, fresh but quite complex and very rancio oxidative, good structure through the middle of the palate, nice clean finish with complex texture of nuts and lees notes.

Oloroso solera (roughly the same as above)
Slightly more tar and molasses, slightly more vanilla. Much deeper toastier texture and slightly more noticeable alcohol. Depth and concentration, full flavour, nice focus and drive.

Palo Cortado (40-60 years old)
Showing some floral elements somehow, strong vanilla essence character. Amazingly fresh but expressive oxidative rancio notes, warming balanced and rich, smoky toasty intensity. Very mature.

Pastrajanna Manzanilla solera 12 years old
Green parsley basil notes, maybe some garlic in there, with that classic salty element. Tastes like prosciutto, amazing.

La Gitana herself

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Sanchez Romate – 2/07/2012

Fino solera
Wonderfully fresh, clean nose with solid rancio character. Tight clean and balanced. Well protected but nice oxidative complexity. Second solera rounder richer and more oxidative. Smoother somehow.

Amontillado solera
Wonderfully creamy burnt caramel, complex rancio oxidative notes, some nutty characters, vanilla beans. Toasty creamy texture but very fresh and dry, wonderfully complex characters.

Oloroso Sacristia solera
More oxidative wood notes, very dark caramel and chocolate notes. Deeper denser, very late nutty oxidative complexity, very long finish, creamy texture. Opulent rich and slightly sweet.

Pedro Ximenez solera
Extremely raisiny, so dense and viscous, quite warm, toasty and rich, very chocolatey. Somewhat subdued aromatically, slightly closed. Thick and gloopy. So heavy and full, more solid than liquid. Christmas in a glass.

Oloroso Viejismo (VORS, very old and rare sherry, minimum 30 years)
Wonderfully rich and deep aromas, extremely complex, integrated oak and toast aromas. Intense flavours, wonderfully bright, crunchy complex, less creamy characters, powerful expression, amazing companion to food, so fresh yet so complex.

Romate Very Old Oloroso

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