Sticky Wines – sweet and fortified wines tasted

x Warren Edwardes is the man behind Sticky Wines and parent company Hyde Park Wines. Warren also produces a range of curry-matching wines called ‘Wine for Spice’ that have previously been reviewed on wine-pages. Warren says “Sticky Wines specialises in, well, ‘Stickies’. That’s Australian for dessert wines, or sweet wines. All of these wines have been chosen by me and I have visited all of the vineyards and talked with the winemakers.” The company name is something of a misnomer, because as well as the range of sweet wines stocked, there are also bone-dry Sherries and Sherry-like wines. Warren imports these wines exclusively, and sells them direct from stickywines.co.uk. The range is not only excellent and well-priced, but offers the chance to discover something different with wines from rarely seen sweet wine appellations like Lebrija or Malaga in Spain,

The Wines

Bodegas Gonzalez Palacios, M Fina Flor de Lebrija, Spain
Vinos de Calidad de Lebrija is a relatively recent appellation, for wines coming from just up the coast from Jerez – and indeed, traditional supplier of grapes to Jerez. This Fino/Manzanilla style is composed of 12-year-old wines on average, and it has 15% abv. Medium straw coloured, it has immediatly nutty and salty notes on the nose, that walnut husk dryness and background hint of Cox’s pippin and orange. On the palate it is bone dry and beautifully natural feeling, the gentle, bready age and hint of oxidation, but the core shimering with salts and lemons into a long finish. 89-90/100. £6.99 per 37.5cl, Sticky Wines.

Bodegas Gonzalez Palacios, Oloroso Old de Lebrija, Spain
The wine here is fully 30 years old, that time spent in barrel. It weighs in at 18% abv. Amber to mahogany in colour, the nose is gorgeous: deeply fruity in a way, but with that sense of old Shellac varnish, cracked and peeling, polished wood and a nuttiness. It perhaps does not have the layered complexity of the very best old Oloroso Sherries I’ve tasted, but is hugely inviting. Bone dry again, and seriously concentrated stuff this, reminiscent of some of the extremely intense releases from hip and happening Equipo Navazos down the road in Jerez. 91/100. £10.99 per 37.5cl, Sticky Wines.

Malaga Virgen, Moscatel Naranja, Spain
Warren succinctly describes this as “Marmalade in a glass.” Made in Malaga, the base is Moscatel, aromatized with wild orange peel that has been steeped in brandy. It’s intriguing with its glowing amber colour and highly aromatic nose, Cointreau-like to an extent, but a little more delicate with the herb and floral notes of the Muscat. Fortified to only 15% abv it is not at all spirity, with an unctuous slippery mouth-feel and orange and delicate toffee balanced against fresh wine acidity, leaving it sticky and sweet, but beautifully moreish. A banker for orange desserts, but I had a glass with a panettone bread and butter pudding and it was perfect. 91/100. £9.99 per 50cl, Sticky Wines.

Malaga Virgen, Moscatel Reserva de La Familia, Spain
The colour of mahogany with a hint of ruby, it is extraordinary stuff: one of the thickest and sweetest wines I have tasted outside of the extremely rare and expensive Tokaji ‘Essencia’. The aromas are exactly those of the most mature and unctuous Christmas pudding, and the engine oil-thick slick of wine on the tongue is super-sweet, with real depth of flavour and enough acidity clinging on to keep it from being simply cloying. Marvellous stuff, and a little would go a long way round the dinner table. 92/100. £11.99 per 50cl, Sticky Wines.

Bodegas Navarro, Pedro Ximenez Montilla-Moriles, Spain
From a solera averaging more than 21 years of age, this pours a very dark colour and the nose offers modest but lovely coffee and raisin notes, a twist of liquorice or very dark chocolate too. On the palate medium-sweet, thick and mouth-coating, with an intersting balance for a PX: not nearly so out and out sweet as some, with a savoury note, even a hint of meatiness beneath the chocolate richness. 90/100. £11.99 per 50cl, Sticky Wines.

Bodegas Navarro, PX Fundación 1830 Montilla-Moriles, Spain
Yes indeed, the Solera from which this wine comes was founded in 1830, so there will be at least a trace of 185-year-old wine in this bottle, though all components are at least 25 years old. Again, thick and viscous as it pours with a lovely dark, treacle colour. Just beguiling on the nose, marrying both the rotted orange and caramel depths of its age with sultana and a hint of something like Lapsang souchong, all swirling and contemplative on the nose. The palate has great balance: it is really sweet, but the fudge-like depth, the tea-like hint of bittersweet astringency, plump Agen prune and the mellowness are just beautifully composed. A superb wine for sipping on its own or matching to ice cream perhaps. 93/100. £19.99 per 50cl, Sticky Wines.

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