Friday, December 28, 2007

Palo Cortado, otra vez.

Hidalgo is perhaps best known for their Manzanilla 'La Gitana,' as well as their single vineyard Pastrana Manzanilla pasada. Well, they also make Palo Cortado, and I finally got around to trying some tonight. Compared to the earlier reviewed Barbadillo Palo Cortado 'Obispo Gascon,' the Hidalgo PC is a totally different animal. In short, if Barbadillo's style is Palo Cortado bordering on oloroso, then Hidalgo's is more towards the Amontillado side of Palo Cortado. In the glass, the sherry is a duller shade of amber, with less of the brilliant orange glints. Dried black currants and fruit cake aromas on the nose are somehow a bit less intense and spirit like than the Barbadillo PC. No surprise here, as the Hidalgo weighs in at 17.5% abv whereas the Barbadillo is closer to 21.5%. Similarly, the palate is less viscous and powerful, both in terms of alchohol and intensity of flavors, but there is plenty of dried fruit character, acidity, salty tang and nuttiness to make this yet another excellent value fine wine from sherry country. Hidalgo's PC also gets huge bonus points for transmitting that tough to pinpoint sherry glow and energy (no, I did not finish the bottle, not even close) that I have not experienced since visiting Jerez in 1999 while living in Sevilla.

Next up in my Palo Cortado exploration: the Hidalgo Palo Cortado Viejo, which, if I understand correctly, comes from a solera dating back to colonial times!

Grignolino - Mmm, mmm mmm.

The 2005 La Casaccia Grignolino del Monferrato is such a mouth-wateringly tasty imbibement, I thought that it merits its own, brief, post. Produced from 100% Grignolino, the Piedmontese specialty, this wine is pure wild strawberries, with fine sandpaper tannins, the kind that leave your tongue feeling like a cat's tongue when it licks you. There is the barest hint of marzipan on the finish. Oliver McCrum continues to amaze me with his terrific portfolio of Italian wines; this particular example is available in the Bay Area for less than $15. Drink it up.