Once, and Never Again: La Bota #31 Amontillado "Bota No"

Posted by Joe Salamone

Seeking the Extraordinary
La Bota #31 Amontillado "Bota No"
Limited and Magnificent

People are talking about Sherry again.

Equipo Navazos and their limited release La Botas have a lot to do with the renewed interest.

The sherries of Equipo Navazos are simply striking in their fine-ness; if there's one sherry that has a bit of that cult edge, it's Equipo Navazos.

For me (and this is a big statement but it's true): Equipo Navazos' La Botas are one of the most exciting things happening in wine today.

If you have a curious palate, an adventurous streak, or are simply fascinated by the myriad expressions of wine and wine-making culture, you really have to try a La Bota bottling.

At the heart of Equipos Navazos' La Bota line-up is a pursuit of singularity, literally. They are barrel hunters - eccentrics on the hunt for the few barrels, among millions, that have something special, something unique, something inexpressible.

When they find those select barrels, they bottle them and there you have it: an offering that will never be again. Their labeling system is simple, they number them.

Today we present La Bota's release #31, an Amontillado sourced from a very old solera at Bodegas La Guita. The four barrels they selected gave them only 140 cases of 500ml bottles. That's it.

The process of this two-man team is unique (it was never really intended to be a commercial venture) and in many ways it makes them outliers in a region were blending and house styles rule.

When I was in Sherry last fall I tasted the Amontillado barrel that the Equipo team had selected. It made quite an impression and I've been waiting for its release ever since. As they tend to allocate their releases in minute quantities (six 500ml bottles is the norm) getting enough wine for an offer took some effort, but the experience was so intense, so memorable, that I felt like I had to.

Amontillados are basically aged Finos. The flor, we all remember from Sherry 101, is the film of yeast that develops on the surface of the Sherry; it protects it from the oxidative effects of the air. Eventually, the flor dies off and the wine starts aging oxidatively moving squarely into Amontillado territory. Amontillados have the dry raciness from flor aging and the depth and richness of oxidative aging. If you think of the caramel notes of Madeira and add the citrus and cut of Riesling Kabinett, you'll be on the right track.

La Bota's #31 Amontillado is an incredibly elegant wine; it possesses a thrilling knife-like cut, showing roasted nuts and caramel richness with spice and umami-like savory tones. The combination of nuanced depth of flavor with incisive intensity is mind-bending. This is very special wine.

The specific barrels they selected for release #31 come from the La Guita Bodegas. The bodega at the moment only releases young Manzanillas, but their stocks of old wine are impressive. Those of you who are familiar with La Bota's Manzanilla Pasadas #10, #20, #30 - these were also sourced from La Guita.

This is La Bota's first Amontillado release from La Guita and it shouldn't be missed.

The history of Equipo Navazos is fascinating: You can read our profile of the project here. Eduardo Ojeda and Jesús Baquín (the two palates behind La Bota) are above all else Sherry lovers. And the whole La Bota project really started because they wanted to bottle some amazing Amontillado they had tasted and looked for people to chip-in with them. After a while, the project grew to a size that made some commercial sense and here we are.

Note we said "some commercial sense." In reality, the project is hard to explain, labor-intensive, more than a bit random and by definition, singular. In a world that seems to be ever more systematic and homogeneous, it's strangely thrilling to be involved with such a quirky, passionate and inexplicable project.

But beyond this and more importantly, these wines are ambassadors for what the region can produce, for how great Sherry can be.

They are not to be missed because they will never come around again.

To order, please email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

La Bota #31 Amontillado "Bota No"