La Bota 50 de Manzanilla Pasada “Bota Punta”

Saca of January 2014
D.O. Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda
16.2% alc. – 50cl
Hijos de Rainera Pérez Marín
Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Production: 1,100 bottles

50

This prodigious wine was never bottled until Equipo Navazos selected it in 2008 for its 10th release of ‘La Bota de…’, followed two years later by edition number 20 “Bota Punta”. Then there have been a few more very limited releases until in January 2014 we have launched La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada 50 “Bota Punta”, again from a single cask of very peculiar character, located at the extreme of the solera. This is a very special wine that takes the astonishing quality of the previous releases of this wine (editions 10, 20, 30 and now 39 and 40) to unimaginable levels of complexity.

Rafael Rivas, capataz for several decades at La Guita cellars at Sanlúcar’s Calle Misericordia until his retirement in 2010, started in 1986 a 15-butt solera with a well-aged manzanilla. The plan was to produce an old manzanilla of exceptional quality, should one be required to add some extra kick to the commercial releases of the house.

But no such kick was ever required, and so, in order to preserve its character and prevent its turning into an amontillado, capataz Rivas pampered these 15 butts and ‘touching’ them only sparsely, sometimes as little as only every two years, with testimonial sacas of only four or five arrobas (roughly 5×16=80 liters) and refilling them with wines sourced from the best solera of La Guita. The result is a true manzanilla pasada like the good old ones, but also extremely singular in style. Currently, the “shepherd” of these casks is Capataz Cabo, the heir of Capataz Rivas, always under the direction of Eduardo Ojeda.

What makes this wine truly unique and gifted with unmatched biological character (intense and steely salty notes on the palate) is that the butts are filled up to “a tocadedos” level—well above the 5/6 mark that is common in the Sherry district. In this fashion, the layer of yeast/flor inside these butts (much weakened by the age and lack of nutrients of the wine) is significantly smaller and thinner and can be kept alive on the sole basis of scarce periodic refreshments—acting as barely sufficient barrier between the wine and the intensely oxidizing effect of air. On the other hand, its very weakness implies that this protective effect is only a mild one, which is evidenced in the elegant oxidative notes of this manzanilla as well as the rising level of alcohol, climbing above 16%.

The real average age of this wine must be around 15 years. It is a complex and powerful wine, of balanced freshness and elegant oxidation notes that make it truly unique. Stunningly versatile on the dinner table, it matches a wide variety of dishes, from the most easygoing (rich fish dishes, fish-based rice recipes, charcuterie) to the most difficult (scrambled eggs with boletus edulis, runny sheep cheeses). Best served around 12º C, in moderately large stemware.

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