Blancos de albariza

Luis G’s recent report on the wines of Jerez, Sanlucar, and Montilla Moriles for TWA was a good 'un - well worth reading if you have access.

In it Luis covers a lot of ground: the terroir of the bodega; the opportunities presented by escaping from the established categories of fino, manzanilla etc; the success (and importance) of white wines like those released by Navazos Niepoort and Equipo Navazos; that bottle ageing is no worse for sherries than any other wine; the growth in interest for biologically aged wines from Jerez and other areas; the red wines of the region; the revitalization of creams and mediums as styles; the bag-in-box issue (and underlying problem with excess production); most hopefully, the work of Ramiro Ibañez and Willy Perez and others and the rebirth of interest in terroir; and the excellent work of Equipo Navazos. (I don’t agree with everything in it - if anyone is interested I bashed out a couple of alternative thoughts here: Visions of Jerez and Sanlucar: L Gutierrez and A Mindundi |

However one of the interesting things was the number of unfortified wines that were tasted: 30 of the 150, including bubbles and red wines but mainly white wines from palomino grown on albariza. It got me thinking about this class in a bit more detail. It was one of the areas where I really didn’t agree much with Luis, so I thought I would share my own experiences with a top 5 blancos de albariza.

#5 - Las 30 del Cuadrado 2015 - a beautifully made wine from the legendary Hidalgo pago in Jerez - Las 30 del Cuadrado 2015 |

#4 - La Charanga 2014 - a potent, structured palomino from pago Mahina from the crazy cats at Alba - La Charanga 2014 |

#3 - Viña Matalian - palomino from the purest albariza soil in Finca Matalian, 7km from the sea at the extreme South end of the Marco -

#2 - La Bota de Florpower 57 MMXII - said to have been “the” vintage in el marco, certainly the best of the Florpower wines that I have had - La Bota de Florpower 57 MMXII |

#1 - UBE 2013 - an exquisite wine from 100 year old palomino vines in Pago Miraflores - UBE 2013 |

And finally, hors de categorie - the Pitijopos - really one of the most amazing projects of the last year. (Pitijopos – 6 days later  | The second edition cannot be far away now and I am literally counting the days.

A fair number of updates here as there are more and more of these unfortified wines available - and some of them are really cracking.

First we had a memorable lunch with a range of unfortified wines by Alba that were really top class - a brilliant day The wines of Alba Viticultores, Spring 2016 |

Second, I had my first bottle of the UBE 2014 and it really is a top class wine - if anything even more full in flavour than the 2013 - UBE 2014 |

Third, Equipo Navazos have released two interesting wines called OVNI - an unfortified palomino and an unfortified pedro ximenez, both unfortified and with a little time under flor - Palomino Fino OVNI 2015 |
Pedro Ximenez OVNI 2015 |

In fact even more to com - at the moment I have a bottle of unfortified open and am working on a tasting note.

Another new update on this subject - the release of the Socaire 2014, an unfortified palomino that has not been aged under flor but was fermented and aged for two years in botas that had formerly held Fino Arroyuelo, absorbing as a result a lot of those flavours.

I did a tasting note here: Socaire 2014  |

But I was also intrigued to compare it against a biologically aged wine with only a little time under flor: The young flor and the old bota  |

(I also did a comparison with a Pouilly Fuisse: Another unfair comparison | although that turned out not to be a great comparator since it was only lightly oaked.)