Tuesday, December 7, 2021

A youthful and impressive pair, César Florido Fino En Rama and a Barbera from Piemonte

An impressive and youthful pair, César Florido

 Fino En Rama and a Barbera from Piemonte.

Bodegas César Florido Fino En Rama Pena del Aguila Jerez (DO), 15% 

€18.00 (37.5cl) 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

The Palomino grapes for this Bodegas Cesar Florido Fino en Rama come from the prestigious Pago de Miraflores vineyard. The wine is aged slowly under flor in the cellar solera. From one special cask (Bota No 22) – bottled to order, making 600 halves – without filtration or fining.

Serve this in a clear wine glass and enjoy the golden colour. And that glass will also enhance the amazing briny and saline aromas and flavours, with a characteristic biscuit-y yeastiness. 

The professional advice is to drink it chilled though, personally, I’d be careful of overdoing it. I started this bottle at a cool room temperature and thought I got more out of the first glass, both in aroma and flavour, than from the second (poured after some time in the fridge). Different strokes for different folks!

Don’t rush this beauty, a sip will go a long way. I remember that tip from César Saldaña, Consejo Regulador Jerez, then (2011). While speaking at an event in Ballymaloe he said: When drinking sherry with your meal you should always have a glass of water at hand. When you want to “wash” down the food use the water and then take “a few drops” of the sherry as it goes a long way!

The en rama approach showcases a different expression of sherry’s potential. Bottled with minimal or zero filtration and released seasonally, en rama sherry offers a much closer approximation of what the wine would have tasted like in its natural state, taken directly from the cask, with all it aromatic intensity, fullness of body, and essential flavours intact. En Rama certainly broadens the already wide potential of Sherry.

En Rama is a relatively recent development in sherry as importers Le Caveau point out: Up until recently (with a few exceptions), the only viable way to taste sherry en rama was to go to Jerez, or one of the other Sherry towns in the ‘Sherry triangle’, visit the bodegas, and taste the wine poured directly from the cask. The en rama version offers the more complex drinking experience: it’s pungent and saline, with notes of yellow apple, green olives, and a hint of almond, along with a corresponding fullness of body that somehow manages to be bracingly acid-driven and fresh.”

In the early days of en rama in these parts, word went out that it must be drunk on purchase as it would rapidly spoil. In fact, whether to drink or keep is a personal choice. ‘Not all en rama wines necessarily improve, although the best wines age really well and last many years.’ - Decanter Oct 2020


GAIA Brich Piemonte (DOC) Barbera 2019 14.5% 

€18.45 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Barbera, according to Wine Folly, is the quintessential ‘wine of the people,’ it is meant to be enjoyed young — and it’s cheap! Italy is Barbera’s original home.

The best of it, including our GAIA produced Brich, comes from the Piemonte region. Colour is a fairly deep red. Aromas are intense, plum and cherry, lots of promise here. On the palate, it is fresh-tasting (meant to be drunk young), lots of acidity. Light and lively rather than the rich and smooth that you might expect. The fruit (including touches of blueberry now) and slight spiciness from the palate continue through the long and satisfying finish. Well made (well priced too by the way) and Highly Recommended. 

Le Caveau, who import the wine, say: Brich is a wonderful Barbera, grown on the hills of Montferrato in Piemonte.  On the palate, the wine feels free and natural. Brich saw a short 12-hour maceration in concrete vats, 70% destemmed, fermentation with native yeasts, aged in concrete vats for 9 months, neither fined nor filtered and a mere 2mg of SO2 added at bottling.” 

AGRICOLA GAIA is a collaboration between Fabrizio Iuli and Eric Narioo (Vino dio Anna, Les Caves de Pyrene) in hilly Monferrato region of Piedmont. The grapes for this Barbera come from the lieux-dit “La Tina”, belonging to Fabrizio’s family for generations, formerly part of their old winery. The vines are 30 years old plus, and had been abandoned for 15 years before Fabrizio took them back. 

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