249 2018 Pinot Grigio Rose, Mirabello, Lombardia, Italy £7.25
A blend of Pinot Grigio 85%,& Pinot Nero 15% give this delightful wine a slight spritz and a gentle 11.5% alcohol. An easy drinking fresh and dry rosé with hints of strawberry.Strawberry and bramble aromas lead on to delicate, yet juicy, red berry characters on the palate – with slight creaminess, and a crisp dry finish. Drink by itself or with light nibbles
251 2018 Leccio Monferrato Chiaretto, Piemonte £9.50
An appealing and characterful single estate Chiaretto, produced mainly from Pinot Noir grown on the La Quercia vineyard on Araldica’s Il Cascinone estate. This is distinguished by a large solitary Holm oak tree (or Leccio) which gives its name to the wine. This species is often found in Piemonte truffle orchards, where the truffles grow around the tree roots.This new vintage has been improved by Carlo Mannera by using more Barbera and less inot Boir. It is now much paler.
263 2017 Boutinot ‘Les Cerisiers’, Côtes du Rhône Rosé £9.50
A strawberries and cream rosé that works perfectly as an easy drinking aperitif. A blend of Grenache Noir 40% Grenache Gris 40% and Cinsault 20% form a soft pink rosé. There is a plump texture, good depth and length. The wine has intense strawberry aromas, which are reflected in the palate along with a real creaminess, for the perfect summers day aperitif. A hint of cranberry lifts the finish.Each varietal is vinified seperately at low temperature using the rosé de press method to obtain a minimum of colour and maximum of fruit flavour.An excellent wine to accompany light lunches, fruity deserts such as summer pudding, or as an aperitif in the garden during the summer.
265 2018 Circumstance Cape Coral Mourvedre, S. Africa £11.95
The delicate, pale Cape Coral Rose reminds one of the roses from Bandol in the South of France. Beautifully dry with flavours of red berries and raspberry. Herby flavours become more pronounced as the wine ages. The delicate fruit on the palate ends with a tight, dry finish. The colour inspired the reference to Coral. Plush, pale and posh Cape Rosé. A more grown up, crisp Rosé. Beautifully dry, with clean minerality and a herbal character, reminiscent of the Fynbos nearby. Elegant fresh fruit flavours with a delicate hint of creamy dried apricot and fig, give way to a delicate, stony minerality. Great with fresh seafood and it even complements spicy foods.
266 2017 Domaine de la Vieille Tour Rosé, Côtes de Provence £12.95
A perfect pale pink that’s sure to turn some heads. A blend of Grenache 60%, Syrah 20%, Cinsault 20% form a perfect pale pink wine elegantly set off in a clear tall bottle. It’s an appealing wine with lovely sweet fruit from varietal Grenache grapes. On the palate it is soft, ripe and juicy. Clean, well balanced with some depth and it is so lovely and proves why Provence rosé is just so drinkable! Grapes are cultivated on sandstone clay soils and harvested by hand, before being transported to a very modern, gravity fed winery. Lovely on a summer’s day – serve chilled and accompany with seafood, mediterranean dishes or just by itself.
267 2015 Senor de Sarria , Navarra, Spain £8.95
This has to be our favourite Rosado in Spain. Great weight of fruit and character ideal drinking with food or by itself. . It has a bright and intense cherry red colour, open and varied aromas and a powerful berry character plus hints of strawberries and wild flowers. This wine is rich and textured with good acidity making it fresh on the palate but with huge concentration and a beautiful red fruit finish. Ideal as an aperitif or with light meals, pasta, vegetable stews or fish. Crack open a bottle whilst cooking and carry on throughout the meal.
Fernando de Castilla
We visited this bodega in Jerez and it was a truly memorable experience. Not only is Jerez an exciting place to visit but the wines in the bodegas were to use an over used phrase “mind blowing”. Tasting a hand crafted sherry is an experience that has nothing to with what many people consider to be sherry. Anyone thinking that sherry sherry is sweet and cloying, sipped from thimble-size glasses by maiden aunts, vicars and at weddings is completely 100% WRONG. All of Europe consider sherry to be a crisp dry wine. It was only in the 60`ies to 80`ies that some Britich companies decided to sweeten sherry.
There is a quality sherry that is sweet and it is called Pedro Ximinez or PX for short. This is a full scale dessert wine leaving many dessert wines looking dry.
In London, sherry bars have been the rage for five years or more. In New York, top sommeliers and wine geeks have gotten the bug, holding sherry dinners and trading rare bottles,
Sherry crash course.
Amontillados are essentially aged Finos that have undergone some amount of oxidative aging after the flor, a film of yeast that develops on the surface of Finos, has died or been killed off by the addition of alcohol. Olorosos are fortified from the outset with a level of alcohol that prevents the growth of flor, so they only age oxidatively. Flor consumes glycerin, so Olorosos always have a texture richness that’s absent in Amontillados.
Fernando de Castilla’s Oloroso Antique struts this textural richness with grace unlocking a spectrum of clearly delineated notes of burnt orange peel, spice and nuts, all wrapped around a sense of vivacity and thundering finish.
Amontillado and Oloroso are probably best drunk alone so that their complexity can be properly contemplated. However, they also excel at the table. Serve with anything from steak to the region’s oxtail (or bull’s tail) stew, rabo de toro. We even tried the Amontillado witha curry and guess what the sherry won.
Sake & sherry are very similar so please try them with sushi and spicy dishes.
Try some of these wines and it will be a revelation.
Fernando de Castilla Classic Fino £12.95
Just the perfect aperitif, far too good for your Grandma! Pale in colour with just a hint of straw yellow at the rim. Powerful and acute on the nose, yet aromatic, intriguing and inviting. Sensuously textured rather than brittle, absolutely bone dry, aristocratic and very poised. Its profile is perfectly seamless right until the finish where fascinating savoury, nutty, ripples conjure some charming, subtle and elusive final flavours. Fino Sherry, it is beyond dispute, is absolutely the most incredible and undervalued alcoholic drink there is.The wine is made from the first pressing of grapes, this gives a light fresh style. Fermentation takes place at relatively high temperatures to reduce fruit flavour. This makes a very neutral wine which is perfect for the production of sherry. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation. In the February after harvest the wine is fortified with grape brandy up to 15% abv. Once at this stage the wine is then added to the youngest Criadera in the Solera. The wine then begins its ageing process under flor. Only 20% of finished wine can be removed from the Solera in one year. The average age of the Fino solera is 4-4.5 years old.
“We loved this crisp, vibrant and refreshing fino from small producer, Fernando de Castilla. Fresh citrus and nuts fill the graceful palate of this concentrated yet elegant aperitif wine par excellence – 90/100.” The Wine Gang, January 2011. NV: “A lovely nose with lean and zingy apple hints mix with pleasantly nutty, dried flower notes and a lightly salty bite. ‘An elegant and young classic fino’ said Joris Beijn.”
Fernando de Castilla Classic Manzanilla £13.50
Serve chilled in large white wine glasses with food! Pale, straw yellow in colour. Decidedly tangy, yeasty and salty nose. Lighter, crisper and more crackly than its older sibling – Fino. The palate lures you in with soft apple and citrus flavours, then attacks with a savoury nutty tang, and finishes with a salty reminder of the fresh spray of the sea. The wine is made from the first pressing of grapes, this gives a light fresh style. Fermentation takes place at relatively high temperatures to reduce fruit flavour. This makes a very neutral wine which is perfect for the production of sherry. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation. In the February after harvest the wine is fortified with grape brandy up to 15% abv. Once at this stage the wine is then added to fill 4/5ths of the butt (600-litre casks of oak American oak) in the youngest Criadera (scale) in the Solera (a Solera is the total number of scales which can be from 3 up to 9). The wine then begins its ageing process under flor. Periodically, a portion of the wine in a barrel is moved into the next scale, using tools called the canoa (canoe) and rociador (sprinkler) to move the wine gently and avoid damaging the layer of flor in each barrel. At the end of the series only a portion of the final barrel is bottled. This process is called “running the scales”. Only 20% of finished wine can be removed from the Solera in one year. The ageing process of the Manzanilla Solera takes place in Sanlucar de Barrameda and the average age of the sherry is 3 years old.
Served chilled and try with salted almonds, light fish dishes or seafood tapas, such as tortillas de camarones. One of the few wines which matches smoked salmon.
Fernando de Castilla Classic Amontillado £14.95
Often taken as an aperitif in Spain. Works particularly well with soups. An extraordinarily fine, complex and sophisticated drink. Beautiful shining amber colour, fascinatingly complex raisined, nutty, tangy nose and a flavour, flatteringly sweet at first, easing into semi dry at the finish whilst displaying layer upon layer of deliciously plump sensations on the way.This Amontillado began life as a Fino. It spent 3 years under flor yeasts at 15%, but was then re-fortified to 17% abv and introduced to an Amontillado Solera – without flor and therefore exposed to air. It spends approximately 5 years in this solera. The wine is then sweetened slightly with some young Pedro Ximenez to produce an off-dry style .Serve as an aperitif with salted almonds or olives or try with mature cheddar, walnuts or figs,
Fernando de Castilla Classic Pedro Ximénez £19.95
Was I made for ice cream or was ice cream made for me? Opaquely dark mahogany colour. The nose seduces with intense dried fruit aromas of raisins, prunes and dates, coupled with brown spices of nutmeg and clove, this becomes reminiscent of Christmas cake. Unctuous sweetness marries well with the intense and complex flavours freshened by a slice of acidity. The grapes are too sweet to ferment naturally and are fortified to 15% alcohol. Ageing then takes place in a solera system producing the Classic PX which is on average 12 years old. Drink with rich chocolate tart (or over premium ice cream if you’re feeling extravagant!)
Fernando de Castilla Antique Fino 50cl £ 21.50
A stunning pasada style Fino- rare and unique. Rich and long with greater depth and complexity than a standard Fino – as such Jan refers to this as his ‘Winter’ Fino! Appealing salty tang and a long citrus finish. Very fresh and pure. The wine is made from the first pressing of grapes to give a light fresh style. Fermentation takes place at relatively high temperatures to reduce fruit flavour. This makes a very neutral wine which is perfect for the production of sherry. The wine then undergoes natural malolactic fermentation, converting harsh malic acid to softer lactic acid. In the February after harvest, the wine is fortified with grape brandy up to 15% abv. Once at this stage the wine is then added to the youngest Criadera in the Solera. The wine then begins its ageing process under flor, a special type of yeast. Antique Fino is carefully selected from the classic fino and is aged for a further 4 years without any movements, except for monitoring the condition of the Flor yeast. The wine is fortified again, prior to bottling and this time, to 17% Alcohol. This additional alcohol helps to protect the wine and make it more stable, allowing less wine making intervention and a more natural product. Most forms of microbiological spoilage can’t live in an environment of higher alcohol, in fact historically, just 25 years ago all Finos were at higher strength for this reason. For example, cold-stabilisation can be carried out for 24 hours at minus 0.5ºC instead of 7 days at minus 8ºC which is standard practice. Little filtration is required and the wine is bottled with its natural colour. The additional age and higher alcohol also give the Antique Fino a longer shelf life than young 15% finos. When the wine is found to have reached perfect maturity for this style (now a “Fino Pasado”), bottling commences. No more than two to three casks of this wine per year are bottled and the casks are replenished with the Classic Fino. This wine was created for a very specific group of consumers who understand that the product is not old, but just developed further than other Finos. The winemaker remarks that he thought that it was only himself and his friends in Jerez and “a few other Sherry nuts” who would even like it, but it appears that it has become a favourite in a number of top restaurants and that interest in this type of more evolved and unusual wines, is increasing. NV: “DWWA Trophy winner 2012 – a reminder of how bold and pungent fino can be. Angelica, bay, baked apple aromas; dry, spicy, roasted, black pepper and black olive palate. Superb. 95/100.” Sarah Jane Evans MW, Decanter, December 2012
Fernando de Castilla Antique Oloroso 50cl £29.95
Friendly enough to convert most non-sherry drinkers, brilliant enough to wow Sommeliers. Very pure and classic attributes, fine polished and beautifully crafted. Quite earthy and masculine. Very dry and aromatic with walnut, spices and orange peel notes. Oloroso typically comes from the second pressing of the grapes or the coarser wines. This wine does not spend any of its life under flor and is fortified in the February after harvest to 18% abv. This is then added to the first Criadera of the Oloroso Solera. The Antique Oloroso is bottled without blending, cold stabilization or filtration of any kind in order to preserve the subtlety, purity and distinctive aromas. On average this wine is 20 years old.
Fernando de Castilla Antique Palo Cortado 50cl £35.95
Truly awesome! The awesomeness of which will set any sherry aficionados taste buds trembling. A fine rare wine, which combines the pure tangy nuttiness of Amontillado with the smooth smoky richness of Oloroso in an elegant complex style. One of the most exceptional of the small, independent sherry houses, Fernando de Castilla was revitalised in 1999 by Jan Pettersen – a Norwegian with a passion for top quality sherry, and 15 years experience at Osborne. After taking over the cellars of the Sherry shipper Jose Bustamante, located next door to the main facilities of Fernando de Castilla, Jan quickly established Fernando de Castilla as masters of the production and ageing of fine, unblended, untreated Sherries. The bodega’s reputation is based on the excellence of the Antique range of intensely pure and complex single solera Sherries whose award winning packaging makes them even more impressive. The Antique Palo Cortado was awarded ‘Best Dry Fortified Trophy’ at the 2011 New Wave Spanish Wine Awards, whilst the Antique Amontillado scooped the trophy for ‘Dry Fortified over £10’ at the 2011 Decanter World Wine Awards
Palo Cortado is a rare variety of sherry that is initially aged under flor to become a fino or amontillado, but inexplicably loses its veil of flor and begins aging oxidatively as an oloroso. The result is a wine with some of the richness of oloroso and some of the crispness of amontillado. Only about 1-2% of the grapes pressed for sherry naturally develop into palo cortado. The name means ‘cut stick,’ in reference to the mark made on the cask when this style of wine is recognized. Since the wine was originally destined to be a fino or amontillado, it will initially have had a single stroke marked on the cask. When the cellar master realises that the wine is becoming a palo cortado, he draws a cross (or cut) through the initial stroke (or stick), resulting in a crossed stroke or ‘cut stick’ (/). At this time the wine will be fortified to about 20% abv, to prevent spoilage from contact with the air and ageing continued separately from its original solera. This sherry is on average 20 years old. NV: “Elegant, lifted aromas of aged flor and raisin, opening onto a palate of harmony, spice and layered balance. A truly haunting and bewitching wine”; “Another year, another International Trophy for Fernando de Castilla. What a reputation this bodega is forging for itself. Last year it was its Amontillado that wowed our judges; this time around, the Palo Cortado has repeated the trick with aplomb.” Judges Comments, Decanter World Wine Awards 2010