Vintage Tío Pepe.
Sol de Andalucía embotellado.
Is it an Oloroso? Is it an Amontillado? Usually you hear these questions asked about Palo Cortado wines, but now they are equally valid for this new wine from Bodegas Yuste in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. So move over Palo Cortado, there’s a new Mystery Wine in town.
Introducing Conde de Aldama Raya Cortada, created by Gabriel Raya and winemaker Miguel Villa. An oxidatively aged oloroso that is magically transformed after four years so that it finishes ageing biologically, a feat only possible thanks to the unique microclimate of Sanlúcar and a special super yeast that can withstand higher levels of alcohol.
I was lucky enough to taste it yesterday at Bodeguita Romero with my friend Reyes Morales (Casa Morales). Very smooth and caramelly… oloroso nose and amontillado in the mouth? Not sure… I’ll need to try it again. And again.
For now only 600 bottles of this mysterious miracle have been produced. There is still no date for the next bottling but Gabriel says it won’t be soon, so try and get hold of some now, if you can.
The photo below is courtesy of Bodegas Yuste. A new chalk mark design for this new groundbreaking wine. They are using the typical diagonal line (raya) that is used for oloroso (which then has an O in the middle of it). Here they have crossed (or cut) the raya with another line, similar to the palo cortado (cut stick) symbol, except it only cuts far enough to show it’s no longer an oloroso and also creating a Y (for Yuste?). Not sure if that last bit was intentional. And of course Gabriel’s surname is Raya, so it all fits. There are 36 casks set aside in a separate solera for producing raya cortada. Exciting times.
Got my first sherry kit! The idea is to maybe try doing sherry tastings on Zoom, though I hate doing videos even more than I hate having my photo taken (and that’s a lot!). But I finally tried out Zoom a couple of weeks ago for the first time, having drinks and chatting with a couple of friends and, well, it didn’t kill me. There are logistics to work out, like getting these kits to people who want to participate in the tasting, and also to send out a list of snacks for them to have on hand for pairings.
From what I understand from friends who do either cooking classes or wine tastings on Zoom is that they are not really viable as a way to actually make money, but it’s a good way to connect and stay in touch with people, either friends or clients. So I am going to do a “trial tasting” with a few friends to see exactly what the costs are re: the kits and shipping. I’m already nervous…
So it used to be Fino Friday and Manzanilla Monday, but now going with Flor Friday (flor refers to the layer of yeast that forms over the biologically aged sherries in the barrel) because it means I have more options. In this case I ended up trying two outstanding sherries – a fino and a manzanilla – on the same day, which doesn’t happen often.
Twelve-year-old Camborio fino en rama by Bodegas Juan Piñero @bjuanpinero was bottled last October, in the style of the old school fino amontillados. Gorgeous colour, with great texture and depth of flavour. The name (and quote on the bottle) comes from a character in the Romancero Gitano by Federico García Lorca.
Cuestecilla manzanilla by Bodegas Delgado Zuleta @delgadozuleta is one of 600 numbered bottles from a barrel that came from the old Cuestecilla bodega (demolished in 2007) in the Barrio Alto of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. You hear a lot of “this is like drinking straight from the barrel” claims with en rama sherries but this one totally took me back to Sanlúcar.
So ever since Reyes Morales joined me at Casa Román to help me celebrate my 27th Sevilla Anniversary I’ve been promising to bring her a bottle of a nice mencía rosado to try. We both have a preference for crisp white wines and rosés over reds and I discovered this rosado while looking for more economical ways to still enjoy wine while being completely broke. Anyhow, yesterday was finally the day! I showed up at Casa Morales with my chilled bottle of wine and we sat at the table Reyes had reserved for us, in front of an open window (so lots of ventilation) and she proceeded to order food for us. Well, between the two of us and Reyes’ husband Juan Carlos (who stopped by for a quick glass) the bottle didn’t last that long, so then we were on to the sherries.
I’ve known Reyes for a long time, but it’s only been in the past year or so that we’ve started connecting on a more personal level. She is truly a warm and wonderful person and we always have a great time when we get together. Well this time rosé led to sherry, which led to more sherry and eventually a penúltima down the street at Bodeguita Romero. I’m telling you, that chica is a bad influence. 😉