Since the 1980s and until very recently, the amontillado soleras of Rainera P. Marín were made of very different soleras labeled within the cellar as “Manzanilla Pasada”: from the third criadera of Amontillado “M. Pda.” all the way to the little shrine of 1/3 “M. Pda. Viejísima”, including solera 1/10 “M. Pda. Vieja” (from where we have sourced our editions number 31 & 61 “Bota NO” of La Bota de Amontillado).
After its purchase by the Estévez Group, the greater part of these confusingly labeled stocks was strictly restructured. The finest and deepest butts were selected, their contents refreshed with true (and unfortified) manzanilla pasada (this is a natural amontillado), in order to create an amontillado solera that was slightly over 100-butt strong and located at third and fourth in one same row. This time we have selected fifteen of these butts which shine for their superior freshness as well as intense notes of aromatic herbs, baked sweet potato, and caramel. The resulting blend is a perfect amontillado, extremely dry, long, serious, complex, and still deliciously drinkable. The additional three years of age-compared with the previous release of this wine (La Bota de Amontillado 37)-can be appreciated in terms of additional complexity and maturity.
The estimate average age of this wine is around 22 years. It is best enjoyed in a sufficiently large white wine glass towards 14/15ºC—so it should be served slightly below that to allow for aeration. An excellent aperitif on its own, it also works beautifully with some dishes: powerful crudités such as morcón or bull negre, spring haricots with black pudding, sautéed lamb sweetbreads with garlic, fabada asturiana, spicy asian food… Needless to say, it is an excellent match to a wide variety of cheeses, both hard and soft.
The historic premises of Calle Misericordia in Sanlúcar de Barrameda were thoroughly refurbished just a few years ago. The works did not significantly affect the thousands of casks of the solera and criaderas of manzanilla that are maturing in the two main buildings, but it did change the disposition and the wines of the Sala de Banderas, mainly casks of amontillado in the most delicate Sanlúcar style. Besides the dozens of butts that surround the space in this cozy bodega, there are a few vessels that are especial because of their size and their origins, particularly a magnificent tonel gordo (120 arrobas, i.e. 2000 liters), singularly placed in a corner of the room, separated from the main rows of casks that are standing by the wall.
This single big cask was filled with a selection of the best amontillados of the house (same genealogy as our previous releases No.37, 58, etc.), refreshed with a moderate proportion of the extraordinary manzanilla pasada from Misericordia. The resulting wine has aged a few more years in such unique place until the contents of the tonel has been bottled for this release La Bota de Amontillado 69 “Mágnum”. A natural amontillado whose average estimated age is around 17-18 years old.
It is best enjoyed in a sufficiently large white wine glass towards 13/14ºC—so it should be served slightly below that to allow for aeration. An excellent aperitif on its own, it also works beautifully with some dishes, such as seafood with an intense iodised taste (oysters, red shrimps, barnacles, anemones…) or spicy asian food.
In the wine cellars owned by La Guita on the road to Jerez outside Sanlúcar de Barrameda there are several Amontillado soleras identified by the number of butts that exist of each one, and by the legends “Manzanilla Pasada”, “Manzanilla Pasada Vieja” or “Manzanilla Pasada Viejísima”. All those soleras have survived practically untouched since La Guita rearranged its stocks in 1980 and moved most to the cellars on the road to Jerez. Among them, the Solera 1/10 of “Manzanilla Pasada Vieja” which actually is an exceptional Amontillado, very old and elegant, that shows the typical character of Sanlúcar.
It is precisely from that solera that this have sourced the present release: La Bota de Amontillado 61 “Bota NO”. It is the second time they come to it, since in 2011 there was a release with the same name and source numbered as La Bota no. 31.
Due to its evident age and depth it can be sipped as a midmorning drop on quiet leisurely days, or after a meal. It also displays a harmonious palate that makes it especially appropriate for intense dishes such as a hearty stew, arròs de muntanya, or lobster bisque, and also of delicate pieces of sushi with a dash of wasabi. Come to think of it, at a lower than usual temperature, this amontillado can be sipped successfully side by side to a refreshing ajoblanco or gazpacho.
It should be served in sufficiently generous stemware at around 13-14ºC, to account for the expected temperature rise once it is in the glass.
La Bota de Fino 68 “Macharnudo Alto” is a saca made in June 2016 from the same batch of casks that already gave the seven previous editions of La Bota de Fino. This new release, of an estimated average age between ten and eleven years, comes now from a selection of casks of the solera, the first and the second criaderas. The nose shows very complex and intense aromas, and a remarkable roundness in the palate (the traditional buttery touch of old finos) as a result of the autolysis of dead “flor” yeasts resting on the bottom of the vessel. This is particularly true of the solera, where the flor is almost exhausted, while in the second criadera the yeast is still very lively and active, which provides the spiciness and pungency that are also notable features of this extraordinary wine. Of course, the first criadera has an intermediate profile between the solera and the second.
This is a wine for connoisseurs, bottled almost unfiltered in order to preserve its golden color and racy character. It can be decidedly enjoyed upon release, but its evolution in bottle will continue to delight consumers for many years, provided it is stored with the same care as any other fine white wine.
It performs best at temperatures ranging from 9-10º C, where it shows a lighter and fresher profile, to 13º C, where it fully displays its rich and complex aromatic range. On the table it is a most versatile wine, successfully matching a wide array of diverse foods: of course Ibérico ham, but also seafood dishes, shepherd’s pie, “a feira” octopus, grilled vegetables, not too mature farm cheeses…
This is the eighth release of La Bota de Manzanilla de EQUIPO NAVAZOS, all of them with a pure Sanlúcar character, which this time we have sourced from a different place in order to retake with even more enthusiasm the authenticity of the original style of our manzanilla. It has been very helpful the fact that they have had access to several dozens of toneles and botas of outworldly quality, casks that have been carefully put apart and looked after by Eduardo Ojeda and his team along one decade, since they arrived to Sanlúcar in January 2007. The estimated average age of this manzanilla is seven years.
Showing a well settled and profound profile as well as salty and cheerful vibrancy, La Bota de Manzanilla No.71 is an unbeatable match on the dinner table. It excels with dishes from the Spanish seafood tradition: mackerel potatoes, tuna stew, oven preparations and boiled shellfish; and international cuisine: toro sashimi, marinated herrings, mussels. It has been bottled after only the slightest filtration in order to preserve its genuine character and its deep golden color with green hues as if straight from the butt.
It is advisable to handle this manzanilla with just as much care as any other great white wine. It should be served at about 9/11ºC in fairly large stemware, never in the cliché copita.
Rafael Rivas, capataz for several decades at La Guita cellars at Sanlúcar’s Calle Misericordia until his retirement in 2011, started in 1986 this 15-butt solera with a well-aged manzanilla. The plan was to produce an old manzanilla of exceptional quality, should one be required to add some extra kick to the commercial releases of the house.
But no such kick was ever required, and so, in order to preserve its character and prevent its turning into an amontillado, capataz Rivas pampered these 15 butts and ‘touching’ them only sparsely, sometimes as little as only every two years, with testimonial sacas of only four or five arrobas (roughly 5×16=80 liters) and refilling them with wines sourced from the best solera of La Guita. The result is a true manzanilla pasada, extremely singular in style. Like the good old ones.
Another feature that contributes to this wine’s singularity and unmatched biological character (intense and steely notes of salinity on the palate) is the way the butts are filled almost up to a tocadedos (within finger reach from the top)—well above the customary 5/6 in the Sherry region. This way, the yeast layer or “flor” (truly weakened now by the wine’s age and lack of nutrients) in these butts is more reduced and can be maintained with those scarce refills. It still performs its function as physical barrier against the wine’s oxidation, but in its diminished state it cannot be fully effective and so this manzanilla offers elegant oxidation notes and a budding rise in its alcohol level, at about 16%.
This prodigious wine was never bottled until Equipo Navazos selected it in 2008 for its 10th release of ‘La Bota de…’, followed two years later by edition number 20 “Bota Punta”, and then a few more that have been celebrated by many wine lovers who are absolutely crazy for this superb manzanilla pasada.
The real average age of La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada 59 must be around 15 years. It is a complex and powerful wine, of balanced freshness and elegant oxidation notes that make it truly unique. Stunningly versatile on the dinner table, it matches a wide variety of dishes, from the most easygoing (rich fish dishes, fish-based rice recipes, charcuterie) to the most difficult (scrambled eggs with boletus edulis, runny sheep cheeses, asian spicy food). Best served around 12º C, in moderately large stemware.
The historic premises of Calle Misericordia in Sanlúcar de Barrameda were thoroughly refurbished just a few years ago. The works did not significantly affect the thousands of casks of the solera and criaderas of manzanilla that are maturing in the two main buildings, but it did change the disposition and the wines of the Sala de Banderas, mainly casks of amontillado in the most delicate Sanlúcar style. Besides the dozens of butts that surround the space in this cozy bodega, there are a few vessels that are especial because of their size and their origins, among them two toneles of 90 arrobas (i.e. 1500 liters each), singularly placed in two of the corners of the room, separated from the main rows of casks that are standing by the wall.
These two casks were filled with a selection of the best wines of the first criadera (1/41) of the extraordinary manzanilla pasada from Misericordia (same genealogy as our remarkable releases no.10, 20, 30, etc. of the La Bota series). These two toneles of manzanilla pasada have been ageing for a couple more years in such unique place until their contents has been bottled for this release La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada 69 “Mágnum”.
The real average age of this manzanilla pasada must be around 13 years. It is a complex and powerful wine, of balanced freshness and elegant oxidation notes that make it truly unique. Stunningly versatile on the dinner table, it matches a wide variety of food, including rich fish dishes, charcuterie, truffled eggs. Best served around 11º C, in moderately large stemware.
La Bota de Palo Cortado 51 “Bota GF” is a stablemate to La Bota de Palo Cortado 41 “Bota NO” and La Bota de Palo Cortado 48 “Bota Punta”, as it has been sourced from another of the butts included in the solera GF-30 kept by Gaspar Florido in its old cellars at Rubiños St, in the very heart of the “Barrio” in Sanlúcar de Barrameda–and later moved to a dilapidated complex on the road to Trebujena which is still in use though no longer as a cellaring facility.
Until 2013-2014, these butts have rested at the sacristy of Bodegas Pedro Romero, back to the “Barrio” and in fact very close to their original location. The label legend “Bota GF” is of course our modest tribute to the original wine and its maker until 2007.
Together with the rest of the releases in this short series, La Bota de Palo Cortado 51 “Bota GF” gives an increasingly rare opportunity to encapsulate and enjoy a little sample of the history of the Sherry district. We are talking about releases 41, 47, 48, 49, and 51: their estimated average ages range from 50–in the case of the youngest–to 80 years. There is simply not that much venerably old wine left around anymore, not to mention as balanced and harmonious as these; not even in the combined cellars of Jerez, El Puerto and Sanlúcar, and we fear that the chances of having access to jewels such as these are unlikely to abound in the future–especially at these prices and in lots of multiple wines of the same breed for us to compare.