Equipo Navazos La Bota 100 Manzanilla Pasada Botas NO (500ml)
Equipo Navazos is perhaps the most significant thing to have happened in the world of Sherry for a very long time. It has some of the most influential people in the fine wine world raving about the quality of these wines, and they are talking about the quality first and the fact that they are Sherries second. These are wines to make Sherry sexy again. They are also as rare as hens’ teeth and are being sought after with the same urgency that wealthy Burgundy collectors seek out the wines of DRC or the greatest Montrachet. This makes sense: these wines are every bit as profound, deep, long and complex as any bottle of DRC (and that is no insult to DRC!)
The Navazos Sherries are drawn from several bodegas, and represent a variety of styles: Manzanilla, Fino, Palo Cortado, Oloroso, Pedro Ximénez, Cream and even a brandy. The wines are bottled in limited series, in successive numbered editions, dated and named “La Bota de….” (the cask of…). The date of each saca, or racking, has been precisely stated on the label so that it is possible to compare editions of the same solera. This also enables precise tracking of the evolution of the wines, as these wines are expected to evolve in the bottle (it’s Sherry, but not as we know it). These are once off bottlings and once the bottles for each La Bota… release are spoken for, there are no more.
Bottled October 2020. Fruit from Miraflora La Baja vineyard. This 100th bottling, which coincides with the 15th anniversary of the beginning of Equipo Navazos, is the result of combining the Bota Punta cask with two other outstanding casks from the 1/15 solera at bodega Misericordia, from which all the editions of Bota Punta and Bota NO Manzanilla Pasada have come since the first one (no 20). This has allowed them to make more bottles of this wine, for which they expect higher demand. Their website notes: 'This Manzanilla Pasada is actually close to being a Manzanilla Amontillada, a traditional denomination that is banned from labels. Part of the character of this wine comes from the fact that the casks are filled up to a tocadedos level – well above the 5/6 mark that is common in the sherry district, so the layer of flor inside these butts (much weakened by the age and lack of nutrients of the wine) is significantly smaller and thinner and can be kept alive solely on the basis of rare periodic refreshments – acting as barely sufficient barrier between the wine and the intensely oxidising effect of air. On the other hand, its very weakness implies that this protective effect is only a mild one, which is evidenced in the oxidative notes of this manzanilla as well as the rising level of alcohol, climbing above 16%. The average age of this wine is around 14 years.' TA 5.39 g/l, pH 3.14.
Pale gold. Stunning aroma that has the complexity of a Manzanilla on its way to becoming an Amontillado. It has all the salty, mineral iodine side of the Manzanilla and the nutty, bitter (completely non-sweet) toffee of Amontillado. Perhaps even heather honey without the sweetness. The taste makes me think of the colour burnt umber. With air it is more intensely mineral. On the palate, this is glorious, with light notes of bitter orange/apricot, a depth of flavour that is quite remarkable given its accompanying delicacy and subtlety. The balance is perfect: so fresh, so intense, it invades your mouth and goes on for ever. The Equipo Navazos team, Jesús Barquín and Eduardo Ojeda, note the versatility of this wine at the 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 porcini, runny sheep cheeses)'. I could just sip it very, very slowly all evening. Drink 2020 - 2030.
Julia Harding MW - jancisrobinson.com