Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vinum Optimum Rare Signatum

Recently I tasted through a trio of VORS sherries:

Gonzales Byass "del Duque" Amontillado VORS

While delicious, I seem to have had two very different experiences with this amontillado. At Terroir in New York, I recall it being spicier, just a tad bit sweet, and more unctuous than my more recent experience. Probably a matter of wines preceeding this terrific older sherry: in New York it was fino and here in SF, in the comfort of my own apartment, I have tasted the wine prior to other older sherries. So let's go with the more recent impression. Initially dried fruit aromas give way to spicier, old barrel room smells. The palate is intense, slightly spicy, very nutty, decidedly salty and tangy, as great amontillado ought to be. Though this is not the way to enjoy your everyday amontillados, try a taste of this and then a bit of something less old, maybe Lustau Obregon Amontillado, for example. What is normally a terrific amontillado will seem rather insipid and watery by comparison.

Gonzales Byass "Apostoles" Palo Cortado VORS

This is one sweet apostle. Caramel and dried date aromas lead to intense dried fruit flavors with a healthy dollop of sweetness, though still balanced it is definitely a style of palo cortado that is not bone dry. Not Equipo Navazos La Bota Punta sweet and intense, but approaching that level. For a decidedly different, dry expression of VORS palo cortado, Hidalgo's Wellington is a great one to try.

El Maestro Sierra Oloroso 1/14 Oloroso VORS

Awesome old wine. Its aromas are deep, with dark cocoa, a rancio quality and a degree of intrigue that is enough to make me reach for the bottle and pour just a little bit more right now, 20 minutes or so after having concluded this tasting. Ah, there it is. Still a salty quality, and one of very dark caramel. Flavors are rich and generous, while maintaining a real dry quality. A true rancio, walnut like finish on this, right up to the shell and skin between the meat and the outer layer. This is a classic, and though I'm not yet thoroughly versed on the subject, it is what I imagine an old school, classic oloroso from Jerez to taste like. Terrific, and an unforgettable taste.