Lustau Manzanilla ‘Papriusa’

img_4806-edit-2I haven’t been drinking a lot of manzanilla lately, I had a couple of glasses on the beach at San Sebastian a month or so ago but that’s been it. Quite shameful really, it’s such a joyous drink. So I was very happy to see this little half bottle in a box of gear from Negociants a couple of weeks ago.

Fresh and light with aromas of sea spray, nuts, toasty, yeasty bread, apples and wild flowers. Light and delicate in the mouth, it is however intensely flavoured with apple and almonds with some good flor character. The contrasting delicate texture, intense flavour and crisp, crunchy finish make this a very tidy drink. 90 Pts.

Source: Negociants Australia Price: $18 (375ml) Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.emilio-lustau.com

Bodegas Jose Estevez ‘Real Tesoro Manzanilla Fina’

egas Jose Estevez 'Real Tesoro Manzanilla Fina'A new manzanilla from new importers Outlandish Imports. It’s always good to see someone importing something new, I’ve got a couple of whites from these guys to look at too. Jose Estevez is a fairly large group In Jerez, they also make Valdespino. Plus this gave me a chance to test out my new toy, a Canon 85mm F1.8 lens.

A fresh and salty nose of orange peel, yeasty flor, dry chamomile tea and almonds. Very clean and fresh in the mouth, well balanced but bold. There is a bit of a mealy texture to it as well. Super savoury and dry, there is a sensation of sweetness on the mid palate that’s nice too. Long, long finish. A very tidy Manzanilla, well worth seeking out. Insane value 88 Pts.

Source: Outlandish Imports Price: $12 Closure: Cork Stopper

Web: www.grupoestevez.es

Gonzalez Byass Elegante Fino

There doesn’t seem to be much good news in the paper these days. Words like economic meltdown, recession, jobs cuts and such seem to be on every page. It’s a good thing the only market I follow is the local farmer’s market, all these tales of woe could drive a man to drink. If you have done your wad in the market, at least you can find some reasonably priced sherry to dull the pain.

This note has been hanging around for a while, but this is a good budget priced fino to while away a few hours with.

Very pale in the glass, you could almost confuse it for water. The nose is full of healthy flor character, green apples and a hint of salty nuts.  Fairly basic in the mouth, fresh apple and roasted almonds with zingy acid and .  Fresh and light, it’s a fun drink with plenty to offer at this price point. 86 Pts. 

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $17 Closure: Cork Stopper

Web: www.gonzalezbyass.com

Herederos de Argueso ‘San Leon’ Manzanilla

San LeonSo this is the big daddy from Argueso, the award winning San Leon. I’ve written this up before, but as it turned up in a box of samples I tought it would be worth while re-visiting.  If you had a look in my fridge at home you’d find at least a  bottle of La Goya and a bottle of San Leon ready to go. For me, these are the best two examples of Manzanilla that are available in Australia, they are both regularly shipped out so you can usually find something that was bottled about 4 to 6 months ago, which is about the best we can expect on the other side of the world from Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

I have been trying drink a fair bit of stuff that is not from Spain or Portugal over the past couple of weeks in an attempt to keep the old palate broad.  A bit of 06 burgundy, a few older aussies, some 07 german Rieslings and a bit of 06 Chianti Classico, so its nice to get back in the swing of things with an excellent manzanilla.  I had written a new tasting note, but I think my old one captures this wine very well. One thing I will add is that this wine show what a bargain a sherry is in the world of ever rising prices. San Leon is now being imported by BibendumBTW.

Very pale, almost colourless. Classic nose, salt spray, chamomile, roasted nuts and flor.  Refreshing and highly drinkable.  This is not a simple sherry, the palate is complex, but subtle.  More nuts, light sea salt and tangy apple. There is also a textured, mealy character that I find very interesting.  You will need to order a couple of these, it goes all too quickly.  92 Pts.

Source: Bibendum Wine Co. Price: $19 (375 ml) Closure: Screwcap

Web: www.argueso.es

Argueso “Las Medallas de Argeso” Manzanilla

Argueso Yesterday I wrote about the younger brother of this manzanilla, which was all about edgy acidity and freshness. This guy is a year older and is more about flor complexity, softness and the barrels. I like both, but we finished the bottle of the 4 year old on the day, this was left…

Notes of almonds and ground oats, plenty of flor character and a little vanilla essence. Soft and round in the mouth with plenty of salty tang. Almonds and apples with an old wood note and a touch of citrus peel. A fairly complex little number, but not the freshness that I crave from manzanilla. 88 Pts.

Source: Bibendum Wine Co. Price: $15 (375 ml) Closure: Screwcap

Web: www.argueso.es

Herederos de Argueso Manzanilla

Bodegas de Argueso ManzanillaYou may know these guys from their very popular San Leon Classica Manzanilla. Most of the Manzanilla that gets shipped out to Australia is about 8 years old. However, this is a very young manzailla, with 4 years in wood. This leaves it with a bright, fresh outlook and a touch of flor character. It’s manzilla with the training wheels on, but at the same time I love the freshness and vibrancy. Fresh bottles will be very important with this style, Bibendum are regularly shipping this stuff out so you’re in good hands.

Very pale in the glass, with the lightest bit of gold tint. Aromas of fresh apple and white field flowers with some yeasty flor character mixed in. In the mouth it’s fairly straight forward, but that bright fresh quality carries it off. Almonds and yeasty flor, a bit of apple and a sage/wintergreen note on the long finish. A great introduction to the style if you’re a bit sheepish about getting into manzanilla or a refreshing summer drink if you’re already a convert.  88 Pts.

Source: Bibendum Wine Co. Price: $14 (375 ml) Closure: Screwcap

Web: www.argueso.es

Gonzalez Byass Alfonso Oloroso

Gonzalez Byass Alfonso OlorosoI’m getting to the end of the box of Gonzalez Byass sherries. It has been great to be able to look at almost the entire range at all quality levels, the good thing about these wines is that they are available just about everywhere in Australia. This oloroso is a straight palomino, its just a pup at 5 years old…

A fairly full and slightly sweet on nose with walnuts, vanilla, varnish, mixed peel and generally crushed, mixed nuts. Luxurious in the mouth, dry with good texture and balance. It finishes a bit short, but enjoyable none the less. Cashews and walnuts, Christmas spices and woody notes.  A good showing and plenty of value at this price point. 90 Pts.

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $30 (750ml) Closure: Cork Stopper

Web: www.gonzalezbyass.com

Gonzalez Byass Apostles Palo Cortado

Gonzalez Byass Apostles Palo CortadoI think this is the first Palo Cortado I have done a full post on, which is strange as I love the style. So what is Palo Cortado? Well it’s not a fino and it’s not an oloroso, it’s a wine that goes a bit weird in initial stages of aging and doesn’t show the traits of either fino or oloroso. It’s a rare thing when it happens naturally, however there are now bodegas that make an artificial style. Don’t ask me how that works, I have no idea.

A nose of Christmas cake, vanilla and wood, with some medicinal herbs. Initially there is a burst of sweetness, but this quickly moves on a very savoury, dry palate. Roasted almonds and a kind of pop corn flavour with orange peel and a light mocha note. Intriguing wine, there is quite a lot going on here but that long warm nutty finish almost makes you not worry about it. 91 Pts.

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $50 (375ml) Closure: Cork Stopper

Web: www.gonzalezbyass.com

Gonzalez Byass ‘Del Duque’ Amontillado

Gonzalez Byass 'Del Duque' AmontilladoThe heating at Casa Tinto y Blanco is not really up to scratch at the moment, so a glass or two of good sherry is in order to keep yourself warm in the Melbourne winter. I’m not sure if it’s the warming effects of the alcohol or the intoxicating effects, but after I couple I don’t seem to notice the cold anymore. So I’m very thankful to Broadway Liquor for sending in this, it’s an excellent example of old Amontillado.

Notes of cedery wood and walnuts with hints of old leather. I’d like to say sweet fruit as well, but its more orange peel and spice. Plenty of great old wood character with some varnishy tobaccaco notes, and walnuts on the palate. I rarely talk about tannins in sherry, but this has very soft tannins on the very long finish. It’s quite full on, but very dry and flavoursome. 92 Pts.

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $50 (375ml) Closure: Cork Stopper

Web: www.gonzalezbyass.com

Tio Pepe Fino (375ml)

Tio Pepe FinoI’ve written this wine up before, but it’s such a classic I’m writing it up again. One of things with sherry is that it does change slightly from each drawing of the solera. It’s kind of like NV or MV champagne in that different disgorgement dates can be different wines altogether. The aim is to have a consistent house style and flavour, but there are always some small difference.I don’t know the bottling date on this one, but I’m sure that it is reasonably fresh.

I got home last night and decided that a bit of cooked up chorizo and some mushrooms in cream and garlic was the menu for dinner. The mushrooms need a splash of sherry or wine, so what better excuse to open a bottle. Plus I have some Tio Pepe copitas I bought back from Spain years ago, so Tio Pepe was the drink of choice…

Very pale in colour (don’t believe the picture, photoshop has tinted the colour a bit darker when I converted from RAW to JPEG) with a fine nose of apples, a touch of lemon and orange peel,  almonds and light flor character. Long and lively in the mouth with plenty of nuts, a shake of salt and orange peel. Balanced with crisp acidity. Not as precise and harmonious as my last bottle, but still a great fino. 90 Pts

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $17 (375ml) Closure: Cork Stopper

Web: www.gonzalezbyass.com