Sundays Sherry Master Class with Javier Hidalgo at Copia:
From Left to right: GRAPHICS
1.) Hidalgo-La Gitana NV Manzanilla - $12.00 / 500ml. 15% abv.
La Manzanilla is a dry wine and the lightest and most delicate Jerez region and can only be made in the coastal town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda set at the mouth of the River Guadalquivir. The position of the town, set between the sea and the river and the marshlands to the north, combines with the particular topography of the town itself to create an especially humid and constant microclimate. These conditions allow a special growth of yeast, (the Flor), it grows on the surface of the maturing wine forming a mat or sponge if you will. This mat, (the Flor), protects the wine from the detrimental effects of oxygen. Elsewhere in the Jerez, Xeres and Sherry district, the flor dies off in the summer and winter months the resulting sherries are called Fino sherry instead.
Due to the uniqueness of the Flor and this wine Manzanilla has its own 'Denominación de Origen', (D.O.) Manzanilla -Sanlúcar de Barrameda, set within the Sherry Denomination.
This Manzanilla is sold under the name of 'LA GITANA' , or Gypsy Girl which was originally painted for the firm by Joaquín Turina, father of the famous composer of the same name. The 'La Gitana' is said to be the most popular Manzanilla in Span–"is now the best selling wine in Seville, too!"
My notes: (87pts.)--Brilliant, colorless exuberant wine showing light ribbon legs; pronounced aromas of sea spray, spice and aldehyde, apple and nuts; light, crisp, fresh and dry–leaving a boisterous saltiness on the edges of your tongue as it finishes long and concentrated.
This is an excellent wine to drink on a warm summers day. Drink it very chilled, although this will impede aromas and flavors–think like vodka or ouzo shots, maybe! But the Gypsy Girl wine you can drink all day long and into the warm Metatheria night and remember the effects are immediate!
This is the classic example of Manzanilla wine. Its fresh and delicate taste will take your mind to Andalucía where horses are raced down the beach and the rest of the day is spent partying and consuming copious amounts of this delightful beverage.
2.) Hidalgo Pastrana NV Manzanilla Pasada - $22.00 / 7500ml. 15.5% abv.
The 'Manzanilla Pasada' is an aged Manzanilla with the typical freshness and delicate fragrance of this unique wine but with slightly more body and character than its younger version: ‘gitana’. The flor is still key to the success of thsi win, though.
My notes: (85pts.)--Brilliant, light mahogany, exuberant showing medium legs; pronounced aromas of Sea Spray, brined citrus; fresh, lively, light; intense on a finish that’s long clean and balanced.
3.) Hidalgo-La Gitana NV Amontillado, Nepolian, Sanlucar de Barrameda - $19.00 / 750ml. 18% abv.
This is a rare Sherry of very great age. The solera system from which it comes is older than the firm itself (over two centuries) and through this time a thick sediment has formed on the bottom of each cask known as 'La Madre' (the mother), which takes many years to form. This is what gives the Sherry its special quality and exceptional smoothness.
My notes: (89pts.)--Brilliant medium amber with a bright liveliness and medium to powerful legs; pungent, fruity, herbaceous, spice–vanilla, nutty, hazelnut, walnut, briny, iodine, caramel; ultra dry, smooth full bodied texture; persistent, long harmonious and intricately complex–hardy to say the least!
It is said that this wine is much appreciated by connoisseurs as an ideal aperitif and goes excellently with well flavored delicacies–like game, snipe, pheasant and duck--venison, too.
4.) Hidalgo-La Gitana NV Oloroso, Especial, Sanlucar be Barrameda - $19.00 / 750ml. 18% abv.
A classic sherry; dark with a full rich sweet flavor obtained from its blend of old Oloroso sherry and Pedro Ximénez, the sweetening wine. Often served as an aperitif it also serves well as a dessert wine. Served at room temperature.
My notes: (89pts.)--Brilliant, vivid medium amber with moderate legs; pronounced aromas of smoke, apple, wood, nutty sweet caramel; tannins came into play–smooth, rich body a touch of bitter chocolate; long persistent intensely potent dry masculine finish.
5.) Hidalgo-La Gitana NV Crean Nepolian Sanlucar de Barrameda - $13.00 / 750ml. 17% abv.
A similar style to Oloroso Seco, but sweeter and darker that comes from the blending of the sweet Pedro Ximénez Sherry with the Oloroso to create a very smooth flavor.
Ninty minutes of informative and very entreating information about this little understood wine. Albeit a fortified wine runs the gauntlet bit from bone dry to massively layered superbly plumbed depth of near luscious liquid adult candy!
My notes: (87pts)--Brilliant, deep tawny amber almost brown–bright and lively with powerful legs; pronounced aromas of dried fruit, raisin, aromatic, cigar, vanilla, nutty caramel, sweet burnt coffee; dry, rich lingering, ethereal, concentrated, complex, well developed rich, clean and smooth. It’s like sun dried vanilla beans maybe!
My thanks to the staff of Copia and especial all the great stories, and the way more than informative talk given by Javier Hidalgo. And thanks, too the many workers and growers in South of Spain whom helped create these wonderful wines.
An intrinsic weekend--a marvelous journey via the wines of truly wonderful and unique part of the world.
I see another series coming out of my keyboard!
The next article in the searies will be about the Four Course - Four Sherry Paring Dinner: A Taste of Hidalgo, Julia’s Kitchen at Copia.