This is a joy to behold - La Bota #44 MMX "Flor Power"

Posted by Joe Salamone

"This is a joy to behold"
-Neal Martin
La Bota #44 MMX "Flor Power"

The Equipo Navazos team has firmly established themselves as great scholars and super-keen selectors of sherry. They have unearthed many eye-opening treasures of the region.

Today, we present one of their most intriguing releases to date.

It's probably best to just lay everything out: first, it's not officially a sherry. So, what is it? It’s a single vineyard, single vintage (2010) unfortified wine from Sanlúcar that’s been aged under flor.

We should add that it's a beautiful representation of the delicacy, focus, saline cut and flor-enhanced depth that the Palomino grape achieves on the white chalk, ocean-side vineyards near Sanlúcar. The Wine Advocate's new Spanish critic, Luis Gutierrez, cuts to the chase and calls it "truly exceptional."

La Bota's #44 "Flor Power" takes sherry geekery to a new level. If you want to think of it as a single vintage (and vineyard), unfortified Manzanilla, that's a good way to start wrapping your mind around this wine.

The town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where Manzanilla originates, has contributed two keys elements to sherry as we know it today: first, the process of solera aging; and, also the process of flor aging. These were introduced in the late 18th or early 19th century. Back then, the wines from Sanlúcar were consumed locally and were generally not fortified or exported. They were valued for their lightness and delicacy. Often, too, single vineyards played a much more important role.

The people at Equipo Navazos have been fascinated by this history. They have explored it in their Navazos-Niepoort series, which is on its fifth vintage and sourced from a famous vineyard in Jerez. When they tasted the wine that would become #44, they earmarked it for a release under the La Bota label.

La Bota's releases are some of the most compelling wines coming out of the sherry region, which is to say they are world-class. You can read more here, but for now let's just say that the people behind La Bota know sherry backwards and forwards and are dedicated to unearthing the best of the region. They focus not only on the best soleras (often ones that are not released commercially), but also the best barrels. Selection of the extraordinary is at the core of the project.

This brings us back to the #44. The Miraflores vineyard has enjoyed centuries of renown for the delicacy and finesse of wines it produces. By all accounts, the sharp palates behind La Bota have beautifully captured the ocean-tinged minerality, the subtlety and elegance of the great Miraflores vineyard. The 8 months that the wine spent in barrel under flor and the even longer period spent in tank have endowed the #44 with depth and richness. Of course, we'd be remiss not to mention that the 2010 vintage produced wonderfully balanced wines.

Like most wines aged under flor, this is an unusual and possibly polarizing wine, but to return to Neal Martin's quote it's "a joy to behold."

With Sherryfest just a week away, this feels like a particularly timely offer. La Bota's #44 isn't technically a sherry, but tasting it will incredibly deepen your understanding of sherry.

For sherry lovers, this is not to be missed. To order, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits