Ramiro Ibáñez’s Cota 45 is one of the most fascinating and compelling projects that I’ve encountered.
Instead of selecting a single wine for my wine of the year, I’ve decided to highlight four different Cota 45 wines that represent what makes his work so exciting.
Sherry country's stark white Albariza soils are capable of producing wines of finesse and incredibly fine textures. These wines capture what makes this terroir so special in a singular and totally impressive way. They are easily some of the most eye-opening and memorable wines I've tasted this year.
Cota 45 is an undertaking that only someone obsessed with a region’s wines would have the courage and insight to pursue. Ibáñez clearly believes that he has something important to say about his native Sanlúcar, located in the heart of Sherry country. When you taste the results, it’s difficult to argue.
To adequately capture the fullness of Ibáñez’s vision would require an enormous amount of space. The concise version is that these four wines focus on unfortified wines from Sanlúcar that have been flor aged for a short time. If it helps, think of it as a single vintage, single vineyard, unfortified Manzanilla, or white still wine with distinctive Sherry characteristics.
Ibáñez is a historian of the sherry region and is most interested in the period before the export market exploded and the large bodegas were formed. Back in the 18th or 19th century, the wines from Sanlúcar were consumed locally and were generally not fortified. They were valued for their lightness and delicacy. Often, too, single vineyards played a much more important role, and other grapes were involved besides Palomino Fino. It’s this history that the four wines explore.
Equipos Navazos has released wines made in this style, but Cota 45 takes it to a different level. After Enology school, Ibáñez worked at the co-op in Sanlúcar, and this gave him a really intimate knowledge of the different terroirs. The four wines from Miraflores, Carrascal, Maina, and Paganilla pagos (vineyards) show the incredible potential of sherry’s top terroirs for this style of wine.
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