La Goya XL, Saca IV

This past Monday was the presentation and tasting in Sevilla of the latest bottling of Delgado Zuleta’s Goya XL, an exquisite “en rama manzanilla pasada” that has aged and rested for more than ten years, and was selected from just six casks from the Solera Reservada de La Goya by winemaster José Antonio Sánchez Pazo. There are only 3000 bottles of this very special limited selection wine. The presentation was held in the elegant central courtyard of the Taberna del Alabardero, which proved to be the perfect setting.

There have only been four sacas (bottlings) of this wine in the history of the bodega, beginning in 2012, and they have been roughly two years apart, whenever the winemaker feels it is the right moment. Each bottling has had its own personality, and on this occasion the microclimate over the past few months in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, with a mild summer and autumn, led to a robust growth of yeast (creating the all-important velo de flor) and other exceptional characteristics that tell the winemaker that it is time for the next Goya XL saca.

According to Sánchez Pazo, this Goya XL is more alive than the previous ones, pale gold in colour with iodized reflections, and nicely unctuous, leaving light tears after swirling. It has a balanced nose in which the saline and dry tones stand out, with some hints of a slight oxidation but with great finesse. Full in the mouth, with a persistent and elegant finish and that rounds out the previous perceived sensations.

Sánchez Pazo, recently incorporated into the winery, has more than 30 years experience in sherry bodegas. It is clear that he sees his new position not only as a great responsibility, but also as a privilege. This was his first time choosing the casks that would be used for Goya XL and his passion while speaking about this wine was obvious, and infectious.

Goya XL goes through many years of intense aging that are balanced with others that are more of a “time-out”, a difficult balance to maintain that will allow the wine to continue aging throughout the years without losing the yeast. It requires very light “topping up” from the criaderas to provide nutrients for the yeast while maintaining its manzanilla pasada status.

Delgado Zuleta was founded in 1744, which makes it one of the oldest wineries in the Marco de Jerez. In 1918 it took the artistic name of a famous flamenco dancer, La Goya, for its main manzanilla, and in 1987 it merged with the Rodríguez La-Cave winery. If you are ever in Sanlúcar de Barrameda you must visit the bodega.

Pando Cheese Tasting

Pando Restaurant @PandoSevilla in San Eloy Street has been running a series of excellent “Gastronomic Schools” – educational tastings – of which the latest was this week’s cheese tasting, hosted by Diego Ruiz de Terry of Pando (Grupo San Eloy) and presented by Antonio Rodriguez Vacas of cheese distributors TGT group.

We tasted three very different cheeses, one goats’ cheese, one sheeps’ cheese, and one dairy cheese, accompanied by different wines.

Queso Ibores is a surprisingly mild and creamy goats cheese from the Extramadura region, with none of the harsher overtones of some goat cheeses. We had the natural version, but it also comes flavoured with pimentón, which gives the cheese a deeper yellow-orange colour. Delicious served with a light white wine.

Queso Roncal is a typical strong mature (minimum of 4 months ageing) sheeps cheese from the Navarra region of northeast Spain that has been produced in the traditional way for hundreds of years, and was the first cheese to have a Denomination of Origin (1981). Serve with quince jam and grapes and an earthy red wine to bring out the full flavour.

Queso Mahón is a dairy cheese (a relative rarity in Spain) from the island of Menorca, named after the port which was its point of export. The version we had was an aged variety (it also comes fresh or semi-cured), hard and flaky in texture, with a yellow-orange colour and a strong, rather salty, flavour. Excellent with a nice red wine.

Thanks to Pando and TGT group for putting on an enjoyable event.

Viña Galvana by Delgado Zuleta


This week I was invited to a cata for this year’s edition of Bodegas Delgado Zuleta’s D.O Cádiz white wine Viña Galvana. Delgado Zuleta is of course best known for its sherries (it’s said to be the oldest bodega in the marco de Jerez), especially Manzanilla La Goya, but also produces local white wines.

The 2017 Viña Galvana (85% Palomino Fino and 15% Moscatel) is a fresh, light wine with a bright pale gold colour and a touch of fruitiness, and pairs well with fish and seafood. Really a perfect summer wine. The label pays tribute to one of Sanlucar’s most popular events, the annual horse races on the beach which take place every August. The cata was presented by Jorge Pascual, the Director-General of Delgado Zuleta and enologist José Antonio Sánchez Pazo, with promotion by @ProbandoGastro.

The event was hosted by Cinta Romero and her team at La Cochera del Abuelo, who also provided a light post-cata lunch. Thanks to everyone who helped organise this very pleasant event.

Bodegas Lustau | Vermouth with a View

After a period of decline, vermouth (a fortified aromatic wine) has been enjoying something of a comeback recently, with a number of producers entering the market with a variety of “craft” vermouths. One of these, the respected sherry-house Lustau, brought out its first red vermouth at the end of 2015, and has followed it up with a white vermouth, launched in Sevilla at a special event on May 10th.

I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation, which also resulted in another first, as the presentation was being held in the new Sevilla Tower across the river next to the old expo site. Personally I think the building is an eyesore on the Sevilla skyline, but I have to admit the view from the 21st floor (halfway up) was pretty spectacular, and as usual at these events I met up with some old friends and made some new ones.

Lustau white vermouth: fino & moscatel

Stars of the show were, of course, the two Lustau vermouths. The new white vermouth is blended from fino and muscatel sherries, and is slightly less sweet than the existing red, which is blended from amontillado and PX sherries. Both are flavoured with a variety of aromatic botanicals and spices. I think the red is still my favourite (although a close decision), but if you haven’t caught the vermouth bug yet try one of these in your local bar. You might well become a convert.

Lustau red vermouth: amontillado & pedro ximénez

Lustau reps Estanis Bobadilla & Juan Mateos Arizón

vermouth cocktail recipes

Bodegas Lustau

Finos Palmas 2016

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The Cuatro Palmas (four palms) is an annual selection of a small number of the very best casks of Tio Pepe Fino sherries from Bodega González Byass in Jerez, which are publicly presented to the sherry and hospitality trades and selected press at an invitation only event in November.

palmas-2016-5Pedro Rebuelta, Cayetano Martínez de Irujo, Antonio Flores

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the presentation, which was held at the spectacular Palacio de las Dueñas, the seat of the Duke Of Alba, in Sevilla. Only opened to the public in May, this 15th century Gothic-Renaissance-Mudejar style palace, with is long halls and garden courtyards, was a perfect venue for the presentations and tastings.

This year’s selections were made in September by Antonio Flores, Gonzalez Byass’ master winemaker, and renowned sommelier Gérard Bassett, and bottled, as always, “en rama”, without filtration or clarification. Not an easy task, but eventually wines were selected for each of the four palmas.

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  • One Palm is a 6 year old Fino selected from three casks, out of a total of 142, that exemplifies the evolution of the style.
  • Two palms is an 8 year old Fino selected from just two casks out of 150, reflecting the elegance of a well aged wine.
  • Three Palms is a 10 year old Fino selected from a single cask at the limit of the biological ageing process.
  • Four palms is a Fino that has passed to being an amontillado, and was selected from one of just six casks that have been ageing in González Byass for 51 years. It reflects the ability of Tío Pepe to evolve over time.

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The presentation took the form of a palace tour, stopping at a different garden courtyard to sample each wine, while “winemaker poet” Antonio Flores not only regaled us with the unique characteristics of each Palma, but also (aptly) read from the works of Antonio Machado, born in the palace in 1897. This was followed by a sumptuous buffet lunch, with all the Palmas flowing freely. Not surprisingly all the 2016  Finos Palmas stock has been sold already, but you can still find it in select wine shops in Sevilla, such as the Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience.

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foto de familia

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Viña Sevilla – Fiesta del Vino

vina sevilla (1)The Third Fiesta del Vinos, organised by Viña Sevilla, is a great opportunity to discover and learn about the wonderful world of Spanish wines. This edition will be held in creative-space Rompemoldes and will be a bit like a big street party where you can sample a wide selection of wines from different areas of Spain and also meet the winemakers. There will be various wine tastings, interactive workshops, along with homemade tapas and plenty of good music. Entrance is free but if you’d like to sign up for any of the workshops get in touch with Viña Sevilla as space for these events is limited.
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Viña Sevilla – Fiesta del Vinos
Centro Rompemoldes
San Luís 70
Friday May 20th  7.00 pm – midnight
Saturday May 21st  12.00 pm – midnight

Vinos de España – Una Pasión

vinos de espana
Tomorrow Sevilla will host the third edition of “Wines of Spain. A Passion”, a gathering of wineries organised this year by Bodegas Emilio Hidalgo, presenting the enormous diversity and richness of Spanish wines to fans, professionals, and wine lovers alike.

The event will be held in in the heart of Seville at Casa Bucarelli, an idyllic environment that combines beauty and history of the city. 42 Spanish wineries will be featured with a selection of over 200 fine wines. There will be a diverse representation of producing areas, designations of origin and wines: Rias Baixas, Bierzo, Somontano, Cádiz, Priorato, Jerez, Toro, Rioja, Mallorca, Extremadura, Navarra, Txakoli, Wheel, Cava, Ronda, Ribeiro, Valencia, Arianza, Ribera del Duero, Madrid, among others.

Vinos de España Una Pasión
May 12th
11.30 am – 7.30 pm

Tío Pepe en Rama 2016

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After having to miss this year’s presentation of Tío Pepe en Rama 2016 (because of this!) I found myself having a post-shopping pre-dinner glass of wine up at Gourmet Experience and my pal Silvia stopped by. Silvia not only runs the place at GE but her father Antonio Flores (AKA the winemaker poet) is the master wine blender at Gonzalez Byass and is also the guy responsible for Tío Pepe en Rama. Turns out Silvia missed the presentation too (she was only able to stop by for a quick hello before it all got going) and she insisted I try a glass. And well, it was damn fine. Thank you Silvia!

Tío Pepe en Rama 2016 was first selected in October from 100 of the best casks from two of the oldest Tío Pepe soleras, Rebollo and Constancia, and finally bottled (16,000 in total) in April from the top 60 out of those initial 100 casks.

A wild unfiltered wine, with all its yeast and organic contribution. Yellow, pale, golden tones, cloudy (yeast in suspension). The nose is pure albariza, salinity, nuts, bakery aromas. Tasty, intense, long, salty and slightly bitter finish. Or as Antonio would say… el sol de Andalucía embotellado (bottled Andalusian sunshine).

You can order Tío Pepe en Rama 2016 from the Gonzalez Byass online store or (in Sevilla) buy it at El Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience Duque.

Pre-Feria at Taberna del Alabardero

pre feria 2016

If you can’t wait for the Feria de Abril to start (this year it runs from the 12-17th) you can whet your appetite at Taberna del Alabardero, which is hosting is first ever Pre-Feria event. The gorgeous Salón del Magnolio has been decked out with colourful paper lanterns and banners and will be offering feria-style lunches (13.00 – 16.30) and dinners (20.00 – 23.30) until next Sunday the 10th. There will be live music and typical feria food (tortillas, fried fish, Ibérico meats) will be freshly made-to-order in the “caseta’s” pop-up kitchen, which will also be preparing various paellas during mealtimes. To encourage a proper feria “ambiente” a dinner for two will be awarded to one of the couples that come dressed in vestido de gitana and traje corte.

pre feria

Pre-Feria en el Magnolio
April 6 – 10
Taberna del Alabardero
Zaragoza 20
Tel. 954 50 27 21

Tapas Route in Zona Calle Feria

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This weekend you can enjoy specially chosen tapas with a small beer for a set price of 3€ during the Ruta de la Tapa in Zona Calle Feria. Twenty bars are participating and you can also win a prize by voting for your favourite tapa. See the Calle Feria Facebook Page for details. It’s a fun (and economical) way of getting to know the tapas bars in this area.

feria tapas mapclick on map to enlarge