Brilliant, Singular Palo Cortado
La Bota Palo Cortado Sanlúcar #52
Out of all of the sources of La Bota's superlative sherries, it's the releases from La Guita that I have the biggest soft spot for.
You don't have to look any further than their amazing Manzanilla Pasadas for an explanation.
For many people, Equipo Navazos' La Bota series has fueled their interest in sherry. Their limited releases represent some of the most exciting things happening in wine.
And all of this is the result of a project that was originally conceived with absolutely no commercial ambition. This was simply an effort by two sherry-loving friends to get their hands on some extraordinary Amontillado that they discovered while tasting at bodegas.
Regardless, they've introduced some absolutely mind-bending wines since their first release in 2005. They continue to push things and their Palo Cortado #52 boldly displays this.
The Palo Cortado #52 is sourced from a single vineyard (Sanlúcar's famed Miraflores vineyard) and a single vintage (2010) and then was aged in traditional 600-liter barrels and 225-liter Bordeaux barrels that were almost fully topped up to avoid oxidation. They selected 6 barrels which had been seasoned with old Amontillado before the #52 went into it. You basically have single vineyard, single vintage, young, seaside Palo Cortado. It's really, really geeky stuff.
Honestly, this is a wine that messes with my head. It's young, but feels so complex and complete. Above all, it displays a beautifully, incisive character chock-full of that saline minerality you get from Manzanillas. It also shows the subtle caramel notes and nuttiness that oxidation and age bring.
Palo Cortado is notoriously difficult to peg; it's pretty arbitrary what one bodega to the next might call Palo Cortado. The simplistic (though not exactly accurate) breakdown is that Palo Cortado combines Oloroso's body with Amontillado's cut. The #52 works within the Palo Cortado category in a brilliant, utterly compelling way.
The sharp palates and deep knowledge of the people behind the La Bota series have always been obvious, but a wine like the #52 takes things to the next level. It shows just how creative, how insightful, the people behind La Bota are. This is just a beautiful bottle.
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