Wanted to write about a wine that almost noone on here will have tried but which is, for me, one of the most exciting projects in the recent history of Jerez.
Jerez is an ancient wine region - Shakespeare, all the rest - but the biologically aged wines for which Jerez is now predominantly known are a relatively modern invention - dating back a couple of hundred years or so. The wines that took Jerez around the world were almost certainly different than the biologically aged wines of today.
The differences are many - the discovery of flor and the solera process to name just two -but one of the most important and overlooked differences is the difference in the varietals used. Whereas today almost all of the wines in the region are 100% palomino fino - the palomino of Sanlucar in fact - relatively recently there was a much wider range of types grown in the region. That range of varietals is celebrated by a group of young winemakers that call themselves Manifesto 119: Manifesto 119 | undertheflor.com
But the de facto leader of that group is Ramiro Ibañez, of Cota 45. I have posted about many of Ramiro’s wines on here, but not yet about the Encrucijado - in many ways the most interesting. With Encrucijado, Ramiro is attempting to recreate the old “cortados” using the old varietals. The first edition, the MMXII, was a creation that was 50% palomino and 10% each of Beba, Mantúo Pilas (aka “Uva Rey”), Perruno, Cañocazo and Mantúo Castellano, and when given its unfortified head it developed flor for 10 months before being traditionally aged for another 10 months. It was quite unlike anything I had tried at the time (My TN is here - Encrucijado MMXII – Part II (now part I) | undertheflor.com)
The recently released 2014 (tasted here - Encrucijado 2014 | undertheflor.com) is 40% “Uva Rey”, 40% Perruno and only 20% Palomino and is a real step forward in refinement and elegance, with a finer, more detailed structure, but retains that wild side.
Really fascinating wines and a fascinating project. Just imagine what could be achieved with the other 113 varieties!