This prodigious Manzanilla had never bottled until Equipo Navazos selected it in 2008 for its 10th La Bota release. This was followed two years later by No. 20 Bota Punta. No 90 is just the fourth saca of what is surely one of the most complex and flat-out delicious dry sherries that exists in the word today (in bottle at least). Over the last decade (under the direction of Navazos’ Eduardo Ojeda) this solera of just 15 casks has been carefully managed by Capataz Cabo, one of the region’s great cellarmasters, and whose work is now commemorated on the label.
This bottling has an average age of around 14 years and is a wine of singular and intense biological character (powerful steely notes of salinity on the palate). There are two keys to unlocking the style and quality here. Firstly, the lion’s share of the Palomino has come from Sanlúcar’s de-facto Grand Cru pago Miraflores. Then there is the way the butts were filled through the maturation process—almost up to a tocadedos (within finger reach from the top)—well above the customary 5/6 in the Sherry region. This way, the yeast layer or flor—weakened now by the wine’s age and lack of nutrients—in these butts is even more restricted. It still performs its function as a physical barrier against the wine’s oxidation, but in its diminished state it cannot be fully effective. Therefore this Manzanilla offers some elegant oxidative complexity that is not at all typical. But it’s very subtle! It also increases the alcohol slightly to about 16.5%.
The result is an incredibly fine, complex and powerful wine of balanced freshness, intense salinity and gentle oxidative notes. Truly unique and stunningly versatile on the dinner table, it matches a wide variety of dishes, from rich fish dishes and charcuterie to scrambled eggs with porcini or runny sheep cheese. Best served around 12º C, in moderately proper wine glasses.
“Editions 87, 88 and 89 are spirits, so we jump to the extraordinary NV La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada 90 Capataz Cabo, a wine that comes from a solera filled with wine from Sanlúcar, mostly from the Pago Miraflores, that averages ten years under flor and a further five years topped up. This is a blend of different casks, as it was done in editions 10, 30 and 59. These wines are bottled in 750-milliliter bottles, which is different from the single-cask ones, which are put in half-liter bottles. This is nuttier than the regular Manzanilla and even nuttier than the majority of Manzanilla Pasada, keeping the saline and marine character, hints of iodine and low tide, but also something floral and more ethereal. The palate is super expressive and explosive, pungent and nuanced, with very pure and long-lasting flavors. Really impressive. It should be bottled by the time this report comes out. This is truly impressive and should make a monumental wine. 2,500 bottles to be produced.”
96-97 points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocat