This stunning Fino comes from the Macharnudo Alto (the ‘Grand Cru’ parcel within Jerez’s legendary Macharnudo vineyard) and was drawn from Valdespino’s Inocente solera. This will need no introduction to Navazos fans as it is the same solera and single vineyard that brought you the fabled La Bota numbers 2, 7, 15, 18, 27, 35, 54 and 68. This time around, it’s a selection from the solera: the oldest casks for complexity; and the second criadera for freshness. The result is an average age of approximately 10 years. Of course, this is a single vineyard wine (extremely rare in the world of Fino these days) from one of the four great pagos that lie to the north and west of Jerez. Dubbed the ‘Montrachet of Jerez’, the albariza chalk here—called Tosca de Barajuelas—results in in low yields of thick-skinned grapes and a particularly fine, chalky, saline and structured Palomino. Macharnudo Alto is the most celebrated part of the vineyard, the parcel with the highest altitude and the one considered to have the purest albariza soils.
This wine was fermented in bota (sherry cask), again a rarity these days. I think it’s fair to say the striking quality and individuality of this bottling helped launched Navazos in Australia, and it has never tasted better. A super-expressive perfume—impossible to pin down, but suggesting spice and smoke, sherry cask and lanolin. the palate is wonderfully balanced with just enough apparent sweetness (of age not sugar—this is bone dry) to balance the wine’s powdery grip and saline freshness. Food? Oysters, olives, anchovies, salted almonds, whitebait, charcuterie, school prawns, hard cheese, etc. In fact, drink it with whatever you like but with the aforementioned foods you will be in heaven! Like the man says below, stunning.
“… The nose is spectacular and easy to identify; it has the same character as the Inocente wines. The nose was singing and expressive, with typical aromas but also somehow floral and perfumed. It has volume with lots of autolysis from the lees, with great power but also finesse and balance. Stunning. 5,000 bottles produced.”
95 points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate