(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.
(2017) The Pedro Ximénez grapes (popularly shortened to 'PX') have been partially dried in the Jerez sun, so the wine is effectively made from raisins rather than freshly picked grapes. That makes it a dark and unctuous liquid, brimming with rum-soaked raisins, chocolate and coffee and walnut aromas, a lick of salt and zest of Seville orange. Very sweet with 400g/l of residual sugar, it is mouth-coating and beautifully balanced by its acidity, making it a great partner for your bitterest dark chocolate desserts. There are more profound examples, but it's very good indeed, well priced, and widely available too.
(2016) When is a Sherry not a Sherry? The answer is when the brilliant Equipo Navazos take a Manzanilla, don't fortify it, but instead make an intensely nutty and salty white wine. Unique stuff with lemon zestiness and fantastic, bone-dry clarity and alacrity.
(2016) This highly unusual wine from boutique Sherry bottler Equipo Navazos is not fortified. It's a fascinating, 20-month-aged dry white with only 11.5% alcohol that is riven with lemony sharp acidity overlaying oxidised nuttiness, in a deliciously tangy and 'natural wine' style.
(2016) From an old solera of the Valdespino house, Equipo Navazos has bottled this fabulous Fino, a rare single vineyard wine from this region. Intense perfume of walnut and meatiness, almost painful intensity onto the palate - an experience more than a flavour, but glorious with a bowl of olives or salted almonds, the finish thrillingly fresh and salty - and long.
(2016) A superb 2015 bottling of this 'En Rama' Sherry, bottled without filtration and when the flor is thickest. The same wine is bottled in small batches at different times, and the bottling date is not always identified by the retailer. Having said that, every bottling we've tasted has been superb. Fabulous meaty nose, loaded with dry nutty aromas and the seaside saltiness that can only be Manzanilla, a real basic instinct sense of life and vitality in a superb, complex wine. Price for a half bottle.