Friday, October 2, 2009

Testing out the restorative powers of sherry, Equipos Navazos Manzanilla Pasada in particular

What a busy week! Hopefully the overall level of activity and sales at work is a good sign of economic recovery, because if that is indeed the case then it might be a strong holiday retail season after all, and maybe 2010 will see lower unemployment and even some modest economic growth. Then again, we count amongst our customer base some of the wealthiest zip codes in the country, so I will take with a grain of salt the fairly strong September and early sprint out the gates of October.

Today, in particular, we were so busy that I needed a good 10 minutes of lie on the couch time just now as I returned home from work. In my glass, to hopefully revive the senses and ready the appetite, is some Equipo Navazos La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada #10. Manzanilla, because it is fino style sherry from the town of Sanlucar de Barrameda, in this case from a top quality solera at La Guita. Pasada, because this is no typical, young Manzanilla solera; rather it is from wine averaging 12-14 years in age, whose barrels were topped off sporadically to prevent the manzanilla from becoming an amontillado.

I've been working through the bottle over the past several days, and it is quite the killer wine. For $30 retail, I think it is the best buy in dry sherry out there, and arguably one of the best wine buys, assuming you dig sherry, of course. Not a simple, salty, straw colored Manzanilla, the #10 shows a color more akin to 18K gold. Aromatically intense, you can catch marcona almonds, sea salt, lemons, butterscotch, and even some yellow triaminic cold syrup (that is not necessarily a good thing in my book, as pungent as that stuff was as a kid), but focusing on the former aromas I forget about barely palatable childhood cold remedies. On the palate, there is a similar depth, complexity and shifting quality to the flavors that this wine shares with some of the wine world's greatest. It brings to mind really good sous voile Jura wine, without quite the crackle of acidity or liveliness. There is a salty, broth-like savory element as well, not unlike that of a good dry amontillado or palo cortado. Very nutty and savory on the finish.

As you can see, I struggled with that note, but at any rate I do feel revived and ready to go on with my evening. If ever you're feeling tired, lacking in appetite, or otherwise feeling not up to doing much, I would suggest drinking a small amount of good sherry. And if it's one of the best, such as the Manzanilla pasada from Equipo Navazos, so much the better.

For very good quality, production oriented information on this particular sherry, see Peter Liem's excellent post on the topic. You can also explore his blog for posts about other Equipo Navazos bottlings.