Equipo Navazos   
Remarkable Sherries from the 'Navazos team'

Website: www.equiponavazos.com

Equipo Navazos are making Sherry sexy again. Most people in the wine trade know and recognize that Sherry is one of the most interesting styles of wine, and also one of the best value – you can get serious, complex, interesting sherries for relatively little money. But until recently, no one seemed to be able to give the wines of Sherry and Montilla the sort of buzz that they deserved. Now everyone is talking about Equipo Navazos wines, which are bottlings of specially selected barrels from the region’s top producers.

The project started as a private consortium of Sherry lovers, who, in 2005 found a remarkable barrel of 20 year old Amontillado, which they produced 600 bottles from, titled La Bota de Amontillado. The following year releases 2 and 3 were made, still intended to be private and shared among the 30 or so partners in the project.

In 2007 the wines started being released more widely. Each release is chronologically numbered and with the date of withdrawal from cask indicated on the bottle. At the time of writing, 21 is the latest of these releases. In addition, there is a table wine from Palomino Fino made in conjunction with Dirk Niepoort.

The wines are brilliant, and while they are expensive by Sherry standards, they easily justify the prices asked. My only quibble is that they use the standard Sherry closure – a T-top with an agglomerate cork. These are bad news because they carry a high risk of cork taint and also allow a relatively high level of oxygen transmission. These wines deserve a better closure than this, and then we’d be able to see them develop in a more controlled manner in bottle. Yes, much sherry is oxidized during the long ageing process and thus resistant to further oxidation, but not all.   

Distribution in the UK is by Paul Shinnie; in the USA it is by Eric Solomon.

Navazos Niepoort 2008
A table wine made from Palomino Fino that is based on the great wines that were made from the best vineyard sites without any fortification some 200 years ago. The grapes here were sourced from a historic albariza vineyard, fermented in barrel using only wild yeasts, and aged without fortification under flor for four to five months, with no fortification. The complex, nutty, salty nose is quite fine. It has some fino sherry character. The palate is fresh and intense with nice lemony acidity and a salty mineral tang. Very fresh, lively and complex with a long nutty finish. Serious. 92/100

Equipo Navazos 18 Fino
From Valdespino. Intense, taut, complex nutty nose with bracing freshness. The palate is complex with intense nuttiness and hints of mushroom and spice. Amazing depth and a long finish. Brilliant. 93/100

Equipo Navazos 10 Manzanilla Pasada
From La Gita. Yellow/gold colour. Restrained, well balanced nose of nuts and herbs with some citrus and grapefuit notes. The palate is broad-textured, soft and mineral with lovely delicacy and complexity, some bready notes and fresh minerality. Very interesting with incredible length. 94/100

Equipo Navazos 16 Manzanilla
From Sanchez Ayala. Golden colour. Powerful, intense, nutty aromas on the piercingly fresh, almost pungent nose. The palate is broad, fat and nutty but with a lively, intense, salty, citrussy core. Very long finish. This is an intense, complex wine that's not your typical Manzanilla. 94/100

Equipo Navazos 17 Palo Cortado
By Fernando Castilla. Orange colour. Very lively, citrussy nose is fresh but also quite broad, with nut, herb and grapefruit notes. The palate is explosively intense, showing lively citrus fruit as well as rich nutty depth, and complex herb and mineral characters. Light but intense, this is a paradoxical wine. 96/100

Equipo Navazos 19 Cream
By Valdespino. Brown colour. Sweet, complex, warm raisiny nose. The palate is superconcentrated and intense with some sweet raisiny notes but also lively, spicy, mineral, nut and citrus flavours. Warm and complex, this has an eternal finish. 95/100

Older notes:

Equipo Navazos La Bota de Palo Cortado No 17 Bota Punta, Jerez
This stunning sherry is quite rare: just 600 half bottles were produced. Amazingly complex nose with notes of nuts, herbs, lemon and old casks. Fresh and intense with wonderful complexity, as well as some toffee and nut richness. Good acidity. 94/100 07/09

Equipo Navazos La Bota de Manzanilla Saca de Enero de 2009 No 16A
really interesting take on Manzanilla, showing floral, aromatic, nutty notes on the nose. It’s broad, complex and softly textured in the mouth with delicious tanginess and apple notes. Remarkable stuff with real complexity. 92/100 07/09

See also:

A remarkable Sherry tasting

Wines tasted 05/10 (unless otherwise indicated) 
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