(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.
(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) A Manzanilla, made from the Palomino grape grown in Jerez, and aged in a solera system in the humid conditions around Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Tasted from a white wine glass, this pale yellow, 15% alcohol Sherry does have the distinctive iodine tang of briny sea air, as well as dry nut husk and apple notes. On the palate it is intense and oh so dry, but it is rich, again it is nuttiness that floods the palate here, with that fresh and vital salty acidity giving great length. Pound for pound in terms of world wine quality, these Sherries remain such a bargain. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas. Price and stockists below for half bottles. Full bottles in Waitrose and others, at around £11.00.
(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.
(2017) Manzanilla Pasada is dry Manzanilla Sherry from the Sanlucar seaside, aged longer than normal - in this case eight years - for the Manzanilla style. This is also 'En Rama', meaning it has been only very lightly filtered, a popular style of 'authentic' Sherry that is in vogue over the past few years. Lots of Sanlucar briney, salty aromas, nutty, bready, with a nice hint of wild herbs or chamomile flowers too. In the mouth absolutely bone dry - searingly dry - with the seaside tang so pronounced, a hint of walnut and warming toastiness, and a long, dry finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas. Price for a half bottle.
(2017) There have been several quite successful attempts recently to introduce a new generation of drinkers to the delights of fortified wine like Sherry, Port and Madeira. Here's a novel idea, where Croft have blended Fino Sherry with aromatic elements based on English spring water and cordials, introducing gentle fizz and notes of elderflower, mint and lemon. With only 5.5% alcohol it opens with a definite note of the Fino, nutty and saline, but also those hedgerow aromas that are very summery. In the mouth that dry Sherry nuttiness continues, a lovely underpinning to the delicate sparkle, sweeter flavours from the cordial, and plenty of citrus and mint freshness. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) The biggest production, but still only 20,000 bottles. Quite a deep colour from late harvest grapes, 21 days beyond the normal harvest. Fermented in barrel, but barrels filled little by little, 30 litres per day, into a 300 litre barrel. Aged on lees with battonage for six months. There is a Botrytis character, lightly earthy and a touch yeasty, a dry but vivid apple fruitiness. The palate bursts with a vivacious fruit but such a rich creamy texture too. The fruit really powers on, but very dry, a tang of salt and lemon into a long, taut finish. Dry with only 2 to 3g/l residual sugar.
(2017) Also late harvest, fermented in steel tanks then aged in old Oloroso American oak casks. Darker in colour, there's more toast and a hint of marmalade, real richness and a suggestion of more sweetness to come. Indeed the wine has just over 20g/l of residual sugar, the unfortified late harvest sweetness is there, in its way delicate and Kabinett style, but the darker notes, the palate weight, barrel and the higher alcohol add significant lusciousness and a touch of spice.
(2017) A white wine, but a burnished tawny colour after three weeks of sun drying on mats. Very low yields through that concentration. Skins are included in part of ferment, and it could potentially reach 17 abv, but part of must is fermented separately at lower abv. Four months in American oak. Lovely raisin and orange aromas, luscious with walnut and spice, clove-studded Seville orange. So easy to drink, unfortified, with a cherry freshness and red fruit brightness, but so much sweet syrup richness and sweetness, but retains that freshness. 350g/l sugar.
(2017) Also from dried grapes and unfortified, but from the ancient solera started in 1918. More oxidised and chocolaty, spicy with some burnt toast, some marmalade, but dark, with more bittersweet promise. There's a dustiness and earthy character, that fine spice and raciness. Price is also for a half bottle.