Equipo Navazos sherries are breathtaking and exhilarating elixirs, their rarity and uniqueness sink their teeth into your psyche, etching deeper with each sip! Highly collectable and prized for their individuality, their minuscule quantities (some releases are based on a single cask) are lauded by wine hedonists worldwide. These are highly allocated wines, and in most cases we have only single bottles of each.
The sherries are numerically catalogued and no two releases are ever the same. Co-founder Jesus Barquin summed up his ethos ‘It would be boring to make the same wine year on year.’ Purity runs as a strong theme through these wines and unusually for sherry, vineyard names are often mentioned.
These are wines from a hot place, and they really suit an Australian summer. But really, all of these wines show their best when taken as a few small glasses, with something to nibble within reach, on a warm afternoon when there is nothing much better to do.
~ The manzanillas listed below are really refreshing wines, peerless with oysters and simply prepared seafood.
Manzanilla #71 ‘Navazos’ (750ml) $85
The eighth release of La Bota de Manzanilla and unlike previous editions originates from the vineyards of Las Cañas and La Soledad. It was matured in 600-litre oak butts (casks) under flor for some seven years in the winery of Sánchez Ayala in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. ‘…wildly aromatic, with an ethereal yet complex and glycerol rich personality across the palate with a long, dry, saline close. Bloody marvellous.’ Bibendum Wine Co – Importer
Manzanilla #32 plus 5 (500ml) $119
Only 48 bottles came into Australia. This is a single-vineyard Manzanilla, with grapes drawn from the Las Cañas vineyard located in the Pago Balbaína. Around the Sanlúcar traps, Las Cañas is celebrated for the rare finesse of its Palomino-based musts. On release it was described as “… nervy, sapid and mineral wine. Bottled from 20 butts of the best, aged Manzanilla, … powerful wine endowed with saline complexity. Salt spray and smoke, bonfire notes.” Bibendum Wine Co – Importer
Five years later you can expect far more complexity and a fluid texture.
~ The amontillados and the manzanilla pasadas are complex wines with bite, power, and great length. They have sufficient stuffing that the brave could have them with a Christmas BBQ, or BYO Thai, great with richly dressed salads, grilled prawns or yellow curry. They also fit after the main course of a long lunch, before any sweets, or as a wonderful dry aperitif to stimulate the appetite.
Amontillado #58 ‘Sanlucar’ (750ml) $243
Saca of June 2015 | D.O. Jerez – Xérès – Sherry | 18,5% alc. | Origin: Hijos de Rainera Pérez Marín, Sanlúcar de Barrameda
In 2012 Navazos selected fifteen casks from this solera for their superior freshness and quality. The majority of this wine originated in the great Sanlúcar vineyard of Miraflores, and the resulting sherry is, in the words of Navazos, a “perfect amontillado; extremely dry, long, serious and complex.”
“A very fine, beautifully aged and refreshed Sanlúcar Amontillado… penetrating dried apricot and dried cep aromas, then a strong, masterful, sword-waving palate: the concentration and aromatic refinement of the wine is such that we are approaching the limits of the sippable (a limit which many ancient sherries stride across, of course). This will send your salivary glands into orbit.” Andrew Jefford, decanter.com
Amontillado #61 ‘Bota No’ (500ml) $157
Saca of August, 2015 | D.O. Jerez-Xérès-Sherry | 20% alc. | Origin: Hijos de Rainera Pérez Marín, Sanlúcar de Barrameda
This incredibly complex Amontillado is sourced from the original old stocks of Hijos de Rainera Pérez, now housed in a La Guita cellar on the Sanlúcar road into Jerez. Four butts were selected for their “superior excellence” (with an estimated age of 35-40 years) and in August of last year, 2000 50cl-bottles were filled straight from these barrels, with no fining or filtration.
“A bota bearing the inscription NO is one that is not refreshed – because it has special qualities of some sort which the cellarmaster wants to preserve. This Amontillado, full of the thin, sharp character of Manzanilla which has gone beyond the age of flor, carries the heavenly cathedral scent of Sherry bodegas themselves: a combination of dried summer fruits, sweet dust and clean hessian fabric. On the palate, it is very beautiful but almost caustic in effect: a great sweeping scythe of saline acidity and dancing, firelit dust. Daunting but finally rewarding: a conversation stopper.” Andrew Jefford, decanter.com
Manzanilla Pasada #59 ‘Capataz Rivas’ (750ml) $123
This extraordinary Manzanilla Pasada is named after Rafael Rivas, the cellarmaster for several decades at La Guita’s Sanlúcar bodega, until his retirement in 2011. Rivas commenced this solera in 1986 with 15 butts of well-aged manzanilla. With the age of the solera now averaging 15 years, this is a true manzanilla pasada, unmarked by any amontillado character, and extremely singular in style… “like the good old ones,” remarks Jesús.
“Deep gold in colour…bready tide of flor has receded and settled into something harmonious and rounded, almost hinting at aniseed, honey and pollen. It’s genuinely and palpably saline on the palate, smooth, almost fat, alluding more to nuts than bread, with seaweed and umami notes, too: long, warming, intricate and deep. There’s a soft bite at the end. Eminently gastronomic.” Andrew Jefford, decanter.com
~ The oloroso is all dried fruit and nut characters, but it is dry and nutty rather than sweet and cloying, and has a clean, lingering finish – perfect with charcuterie, black olives, or a slice of Comté.
Oloroso #46 (750ml) $124
Made from pedro ximenez grapes which gives a slightly rustic and robust core, this is from the Perez Barquero winery. Great complexity comes from the 25-30 year old material ‘…sweet notes of dry apricots, very fine and elegant. The palate is surprisingly dry, it fills the mouth with penetrating flavors of hazelnuts and cashews, is powerful, with a very long finish.’ Luis Gutiérrez, eRobertParker.com #208, Aug 2013
~ The palo cortados are really the sipping wines, which Jesus Barquin recommends taken in a small volume late in the morning.
Palo Cortado #51 Viejisimo ‘Bota GF’ (375ml) $240
‘… extremely old wines from Pedro Romero. This NV La Bota de Palo Cortado 51 Bota GF is a single cask that was bottled in February 2014 averaging some 75 years of age in a solera system. GF are the initials of Gaspar Florido, a grower and sherry master from Sanlúcar and in highly unusual workings the wine is a single vineyard sherry from Florido’s Armijo lieu-dit within the Pago Miraflores,… At that time the wines were cask fermented and could have had a few years under flor… more Palo Cortado character with a little more sweetness and with a hint of Oloroso.’ Luis Gutierrez, eRobertParker.com #216, Dec 2014
Palo cortado #72 ‘Pata de Gallina’ (500ml) $186
This rare wine is bottled from a selection made more than five years ago from the finest casks of old wine owned by Almacenista Juan García Jarana. The previous release was La Bota de Palo Cortado 34 “Pata de Gallina”, bottled in 2012. after a short period of settling in a small, 6 butt solera. Since then, the wine has aged for five more years in the same tiny solera. The average age of this wine is 30 years, yet it’s remarkably fresh and explosively intense in its personality “….beautiful notes of dried fig, creamed caramel and balsam… driven and saline, … sea spray, bitter chocolate and dried orange.” Bibendum Wine Co – Importer
~ The Pedro Ximenez (PX) and the unique Dulce Color are brimming with intensity and sweetness tempered by savoury dried fruit notes. The PX is a perfect match for plum pudding, with the Dulce Color a wonderful cheese tipple.
33 Navazos La Bota de Dulce ‘Color Bota No’ (375ml) $223
Rey Fernando de Castilla y Almacenista Juan García Jarana, Jerez de la Frontera. 15% alc. Bottled February 2012.
Vino de color, as explained by Peter Liem in the flor-bible Sherry, Manzanilla and Montilla, is a “…dark, concentrated wine traditionally used to add colour and character to sweetened sherries.” Bibendum Wine Co
“This is a very old wine best intended to provide aromatic pleasure while we barely sip it-wet our lips in it, really.-since color wines have currently disappeared from any official classification of Sherry wines. For those who are fortunate enough to have ever enjoyed the extremely old “Para” wines of 100 years of age from the outstanding Australian producer Seppeltsfield – wines of concentrated tannin and brutal character-this Bota 33 may ring a bell.’ Jesus Barquin, Equipo Navazos
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