(2022) Atamán is a Vermouth made from a base of fine Manzanilla Sherries from Barbadillo's bodegas in Sanlucar, that is inspired by very old Vermouths found in the bodega's cellars. It is blended with aromats including wormwood, quassia and rosemary, to produce a fabulous Vermouth. Yes it would make a fascinating Negroni, but in truth it is delicious to simply sip, over ice if you prefer. There's a huge depth of caramel at first, then the herbal top notes show through aromatically. In the mouth it is sweet with 140g/l of residual sugar, but the astonishing bitterness of the herbal additions builds and dominates the finish for a very grown-up and utterly delcious wine for rich fruit or chocolate desserts, or simply to sip and contemplate the meaning of life.
(2021) A deep burnished gold in colour, this is 100% Palomino, the average of the wines in the blend being 17 years. Truly fabulous nose, toast and butter, walnuts and Demerrera sugar, a suggestion of Seville orange too. Equally aluring on the palate, the wine has a real softness, a lanolin touch to that nuttiness, and an endlessly long finish with mineral and citrus acidity teasing out the walnut and caramel of the mid palate.
(2019) From the seaside vineyards of Sanlucar, again eight to ten years old on average from a Solera composed of around 10 stages. Lighter aromatically than the Fino, more floral and less marked by the flor, almond and candied peel, elegant and briney. In the mouth dazzling freshness and bite, there is a little bread dough softness in there, but it is a dry, concentrated style, a note of verjus, with a tang of bittersweet orange peel and very good length.
(2019) Not much information on the Piñero website about this bottling with its bright golden colour, but it comes from a solera with an average age of around 20 to 25 years. Lovely nose, the complex oxidative notes do not dominate but add a lovely walnutty richness, a touch of caramel and cappuccino, olive too in a layered set of aromatics. In the mouth very dry, though not as uncompromisingly dry as the Fino for example, the long ageing having smoothed the framework into a nutty, Seville orange marmalade richness, though still cut by lemon and salt mineral acidity.
(2018) Juan Piñero was a new name in Sherry for me. Although the company was founded in 1992 in Sanlucar, with a second winery purchased in 2000, wines under its own brand were not released until 2013. This Fino has considerable age in the 'almacenista' style, the blend is around ten years old from a 400-barrel solera. Loads of developed flor aroma, more intense than many Finos, chalk, nutty Cox's pippin apples and a green tinge of fresh olive oil. Bone dry in the mouth, saline, with quite a limpid, slightly oily mouth-filling texture, lots of almond and green-fig and bitter flavours, salt and excellent acidity in the finish in a very superior and totally delicious style of Fino. Watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.
(2014) Noval's tawny Ports are terrific wines, each notable for their keen edge of freshness, their energy, even the most mellowed 40-year-old release. This 10-year-old with its burnished copper colour has lots of that walnut and old polished wood character that warms the soul, but in its relative youth it is still fruity and bold, showing bright berry fruit before it melts into tobacco, mocha and chocolaty rich tones. The palate is creamy and broadly textured, with deliciously sweet and quite unctuous figgy flavours, but that characteristic citrus acidity, freshness and balanced character gives it tang and energy through to the finish. A treat with aged Parmesan or Mimolet, or with a fig pudding.