jamie goode's wine blog: Fino and Manzanilla...must drink more of it

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Fino and Manzanilla...must drink more of it

Popped a bottle of Hidalgo's Manzanilla La Gitana in the fridge earlier on, and now I'm sipping it, accompanied by a hunk of bread, some Manchego cheese and a few slices of chorizo. It's a lovely food accompaniment, and I wonder why I don't drink more of it.

It's quite rich textured, with some appley, nutty (acetaldehyde) notes countering the bracing, almost salty freshness. It's 15% alcohol, which isn't much more than many table wines, but it does give some warmth and texture to the otherwise super-fresh palate. I don't know if I could serve this at a dinner party with non-wine geeks, but I do wonder why more people don't use Fino or Manzanilla at table more, especially when you get a really interesting wine for £8 (Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose, Whole Foods).

I'm comparing it with another similarly styled wine, M. Fina from Gonzalez Palacios. It's from Lebrija, a town located between Jerez and Sevilla, an it's made with flor like Fino and Manzanilla. It's nuttier and perhaps saltier than the La Gitana, with a bit more depth, but less of the zingy freshness. It has lots of that nutty, appley acetaldehyde character, and is highly food compatible. Yours for £6.95/half from Warren Edwardes' new venture www.stickywines.co.uk. Whether you prefer this or the more edgy La Gitana is probably a matter of taste. Warren sent this interesting nugget about Lebrija:
'Grapes from Lebrija are permitted to be used to produce Sherry and Manzanilla in Jerez and Sanlucar in the DO Jerez-Manzanilla. But vinification of the grapes in Lebrija is not permited to be designated as DO Jerez-Manzanilla. So Bodegas Gonzalez Palacios have demonstarted the quality of their wines to the Andalucian Government and have finally secured their own Quality Region with a view to moving on to a single estate Pago. Arguably Lebrija is more suitable than coastal Sanlucar de Barrameda for the production of "Manzanilla". The hill-top location of the Gonzalez Palacios bodega outside Lebrija along with its coastal aspect ensures a lower temperature not only than Jerez but also Sanlucar de Barrameda so comfortably ensuring a year round flor cover that leads to the sea-salty taste remniscent of "Manzanilla" - only more so. But DO Manzanilla ensured through the courts that wines produced by Gonzalez Palacios in Lebrija cannot be called "Manzanilla Fina". Hence M. Fina or Flor de Lebrija.'

Labels: , , ,


At 6:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone should drink more Sherry! Fino and Manzanilla area great with marcona almonds or sushi!

Salut -


At 8:58 AM, Blogger Warren Edwardes said...

The M. Fina Flor de Lebrija by Gonzalez Palacios has spent 12 years under flor in oak butts. So a lot more flor that ordinary Manzanillas.

But the Flor de Lebrija has retained zing despite the decade plus spent maturing.

At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Martin Ellory said...

Is it the flor that gives a salty edge? I thought that the sea air was thought to be responsible. Is the Guadalquivir still estuarine up by Lebrija?

And how does the flor stay thick for so long? Are the barrels topped up with new wine more frequently, or does the finished product have more of a pasada character?

It sounds an interesting wine.



At 9:37 AM, Anonymous sarahlipton61@googlemail.com said...

it does sound lovely, i can imagine you somewhere with lovely surroundings, sherry is a great drink to relax to i beileve any way and goes great with a little snack, crackers and cheese is my persnal favourite to unwind with sherry

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, Lebrija is upriver of Doñana, about 50-60km from the sea maybe? More famous for its flamenco :-)

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Warren Edwardes said...

It is all to do with year round Flor - nothing to do with sea air. I imagine one could produce "Manzanila" in Jerez through suitable aircon.

The grapes for Fino and Manzanills are Palomino.

From the hill-top Gonzalez Palacios bodega the land runs down to the marshlands of the Marismas de Guadalquivir.

Lines of tall white modern windmills on the ridges of the hills (so there's a sea breeze) and acres of solar panels on the slopes. Amazing sight.

Much more Flor than a Pasada or a young Manzanilla with a bit less zing than a young Manzanilla and much more zing than a Pasada.

At 12:17 PM, Blogger Warren Edwardes said...

Here's a map of Lebrija.


According to Googlemaps it is 38k by road from Sanlucar and guessing 30k as the seagull flies.

It is pretty flat down the hill from Lebrija due West over the marshlands across the Guadalquivir and the Parque Doñana to the sea.

At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Martin said...

Interesting, Warren. But I thought there was year-round flor on finos, too - otherwise they would become fino amontillados or amontillados, no? I'd been told it may subside in the heat, but doesn't die fully.

When you say there is more flor, does that mean that the Lebrija wine is kept in barrels filled less than in Sanlucar/ Jerez so there is greater contact with the flor?

I am curious about the salinity, though. I haven't found it in any non-maritime vins de voile, strange Jura numbers, or Jerez or Montilla Moriles Finos. The only other place I have tasted it was in some odd flor-covered white grenache vin insolite from the Roussillon. I can't for the life of me remember what it was, though.

I know you don't believe in the sea air theory (though its humidity is thought to help the flor, isn't it?), but perhaps the sea breezes coming up across the marshes are important!

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Barry said...

La Gitana..I open.have a glass..then drink the rest the next day maybe..and it gets so much better and broader.....

As to serving Sherry at a meal..it is something I will ONE DAY attempt...not just as the aperitif..but the whole range with a menu.

However..as Jamie said..I'm not sure you would be 100% popular....

At 7:22 PM, Blogger Warren Edwardes said...

Martin: I wrote more Flor based on my palate (and as we now see also Jamie's). I don't know about relative airspace in the butts.

Barry: As for serving Manzanilla or Fino during a meal be very careful with non wino guests. I got some really shocked looks when I did it last month.

We'll have to wait for Jamie to spread the word.

At 8:25 PM, Blogger Barry said...

Warren..my plan was for a Manzanilla aperitif..maybe a fino with the starter..then Amontillado with a fish course....a dry Oloroso with the main course..and a Pedro Ximenez with a rich dessert....I've had this plan now for 10 years..and my guess is..it will never happen..

At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do the meal in courses? Why not do a succession of tapas, as you might find in Andalucía?

At 9:38 AM, Blogger Warren Edwardes said...

Hi Anon:

They don't have a succession of tapas instead of a meal in Andalucia. The tapas are in a bar well before the meal and probably not in the same place as dinner that day.

That said great idea. Different kinds of generosos with a tapas sized tasting menu.

At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived quite a while in Andalucía, and it was quite normal to have tapas instead of dinner. You'd have a main meal at lunch and then just tapas at night.

At 4:16 PM, Blogger Justin Roberts said...

Great post. Can't believe I missed the chatter afterwards. Sherry induced sleep again! All very interesting.

The Lebrija/El Cuervo guys are going it alone by the way. Breaking away from the Jerez Consejo Regulador.

Story in Spanish here:

With all the tension in this neck of the woods at the moment I wonder if Manzanilla might not end up doing something similar.

Martin right re Flor not dying in Jerez, but it does get thinner due to the heat in summer. El Puerto, Sanlucar and I guess Lebrija stays much thicker through the summer.

I'm in the more flor = more saltiness (and other things) camp. I can't believe sea air would make a significant difference? I don't believe it does for Islay whisky either. Nice romantic thought though.

At 4:18 PM, Blogger Justin Roberts said...

Hmm, that link didn't work!

Try this one:


At 4:22 PM, Blogger Justin Roberts said...

Agree with Anon re tapas. They can be had any time of the day and quite often are the meal...

At 4:47 PM, Blogger Warren Edwardes said...

here's some more background.


This is a report dated 04/12/2002

"La Supreme Court prohíbited Bodegas González Palacios labelling as 'Manzanilla González Palacios' as manzanilla is a denominación de origen."

Lebrija had argued that Fino is used in Jerez and Montilla comfortable.

All this would not have happened if DO Jerez had welcomed Bodegas González Palacios into their club.

It is great that finally Lebrija can sell its generoso wines based on the quality of its products.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger Warren Edwardes said...

Here's a link to the "Orden de 11 de marzo de 2009, por la que se aprueba el Reglamento del «Vino de Calidad de Lebrija» y de su Órgano de Gestión."


At 8:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes. In fact I can't recall more than a very few occasions when I went out with friends and had anything but tapas at night. Tapas can be as substantial as you want them, and in eastern Andalusia even more so than in the west.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Warren Edwardes said...

OOPS Sorry for being so definitive and evidently incorrect about tapas in Andalucia.

Just visited and never lived in Andalucia. Lived in Barcelona and Madrid and often visited pretty much everywhere in Spain and must say I have never anywhere been out to tapas instead of dinner with Spaniards.

On my own and with English visitors several times yes.

Probably depends on the company one keeps. Each to their own.

At 10:27 PM, Blogger Warren Edwardes said...

Just watched a great programme on horses, bulls and Jerez on BBC2


See it again with a glass of Fino, Manzanilla - or Flor de Lebrija.

At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha! I am just discovering manzilla (with roasted red peppers, macadamia nuts and parma ham), and am drinking the exact La Gitana Manzilla. Lovely stuff- must drink more is what I think when I venture to sherry. What glass suits it best is what I was wondering about when I came online searching manzanilla. . . any comments?


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home