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From Equipo Navazos: 'The very thin skin of the Pedro Ximénez variety favors the fast dehydration of the berries during the asoleo (sundrying) process, which makes it ideal for the production of raisiny sweet wines. The Montilla-Moriles region (especially in Montalbán, Montemayor, and Puente Genil) concentrates today virtually all the production of sweet PX musts that will later be aged in the different Andalusian winemaking areas. Casa del Inca, in Montilla, is the former residence of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, where he wrote most of his literary production. Its present functions—after restoration—are related to the city’s winemaking tradition. Late-harvested grapes, several full turns of exposure to the late summer sun, and careful extraction at different pressure levels by means of powerful hydraulic presses are the key to the musts’ original quality. Another key element is the subsequent fortification with top-quality wine-based spirits. Third and last as far as vintage PXs not undergoing barrel ageing are concerned is time: one and a half years resting in tinajas or conos, the traditional cone-shaped vessels used in Montilla-Moriles for centuries now.'
From Equipo Navazos: 'Gaspar Florido used to market two very old wines sourced from their soleras at their old cellaring facility at calle Rubiños, in the heart of the "Barrio" in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. When they decided to seize the real estate fever and sell their urban bodegas they had to move those butts to a shabby facility on the road from Sanlúcar to Trebujena. There is where I had the opportunity to sample them for the first time, on a visit with Álvaro Girón to already old Gaspar in June 2006. We were very positively impressed by their quality and consistency, especially in contrast with the lack of distinction--to put it mildly--of the context there and then. There were quite a few butts of the outstanding GF-25 and only a few of GF-30, a very old and absolutely spectacular wine. It is precisely from the latter that this La Bota de Palo Cortado nº 41 "Bota NO" is sourced. Only a few months later, early in 2007, Bodegas Pedro Romero purchased Gaspar Florido, and since then they have remained marketing GF-25 under the usual label "Jerez Viejísimo". In Gaspar's opinion--perhaps questionable but not lacking solid ground--such wines see how the distinctive features of amontillado, palo cortado and oloroso are blurred by their very age. That is why he used to label it simply "Jerez", which after all merely honors the sanluqueña tradition of referring to the local palo cortado as "jerez cortado". It is indeed a very old palo cortado and so we have labeled it as such. Today these butts are stored at the Sacristía of Pedro Romero, back to the heart of the "Barrio" and actually very near their original location. There is where we had the opportunity to revisit them and sample them exhaustively and, ahem, exhaustingly, in order to select our favorites for this edition of "La Bota": it is a truly extraordinary wine for its unlikely balance between sheer authenticity, concentration, and finesse; genuinely amazing, with so much character and personality.'
This is the 2017 release of what is perennially one of my favorite sherries, Gonzales Byass's Tio Pepe En Rama. "En Rama" translates to "from the cask", and this is one of the purest expressions of fino sherry, bottled without fining or filtration in the springtime, when the influence of flor (the veil of yeast that protects the wine from oxidization and imparts a very particular flavor) is at its strongest.The 2017 displays beautiful aromas of green apple, lemon peel, white blossom, almonds, that yeasty flor character, a touch of smoke and a briney, olive note. The palate is vibrant and lovely, marrying all the complexity of the nose with a great minerality and salinity. Such a complex and food-friendly wine! One of my favorite pairings with fino sherry is grilled fish, but this would also be lovely with seared scallops, calamari, or monkfish liver. Oskar Kostecki
All sherries in the Las Palmas Collection begin their lives on track to become Tio Pepe, which averages 4-4.5 years of age. A fascinating variety of flor activity and microclimates throughout Tio Pepe's soleras (totaling approximately 20,000 barrels) creates especially pure and fine expressions that set certain barrels of fino apart. The tradition was to mark these wines with a "palma" and to trace their development over time; two, three, and four palmas designate increasing fineness with age. The 2015 selection of Una Palma was pulled from three barrels of fino in a solera of 142 casks averaging 6 years old. Andrew Sinclair from Gonzalez Byass notes that this is a higher-alcohol style of fino that was typical prior to the 1960s (fermented to 11% alcohol and then fortified to 15.5%). Soft, rIch aromas of flor, beeswax and chamomile, with hints of peppercorn and banana leaves contrast with the bracing freshness of the palate, full of tingly lemon oil, concentrated yellow fruit flesh and tart and bitter golden plum peels. Ariana Rolich
The Valdespino Contrabandista is an approachable Amontillado with overt nutty characteristics softened by just a bit of sweetness. The wine is deeply perfumed, most distinctly with toasted walnuts, lovely candied orange, sweet spice, and a touch of caramel. Medium weight on the palate with a nice balance of sweetness and acidity and a soft, almost creamy texture. The flavors are again led by notes of toasted nuts but also showing more of a honeyed tone with citrus on the long finish. This wine would pair easily with a Thanksgiving feast, showing enough power to stand up to turkey and gravy along with enough sweetness to fit with sweet potato casserole or a zesty cranberry sauce. It would also be a perfect partner for cheese or sweets after the meal. Serve slightly chilled and enjoy. Andy Paynter