Not your average Fino
It turns out that wine folk are nice folk. Last Friday we pouring at the Good Spirits Company Wine Fair in Glasgow for our fledgling sherry importing business, Sherry Boutique, and we were sharing a table with Alliance Wines, exclusive UK distributors for Equipo Navazos.
Cut throat and competitive? Not a bit of it. We tasted each others wines and had a great time pouring for the thirsty people of Glasgow. At the end of the night, I was the very happy recipient of a half empty bottle of Equipo Navazos Fino En Rama left over, which Duncan from Alliance knew was going to a good home.
This is a Fino bottled exclusively for Alliance, and the maker is not named on the bottle. It’s from Jerez, but that’s all I could find out. It’s En Rama, meaning that it is unfiltered, or at the most very lightly filtered, and otherwise untreated, and it was bottled in May 2015.
As with all Equipo Navazos sherries, this is a very distinctive wine. It’s a rich gold in colour, and glitteringly clean and bright. The nose is very unusual – alongside the classic Fino aromas there are notes of honey, pears and that slightly musky smell that I associated with damp straw (in a good way!).
In the mouth it’s full-on zing – very citrussy like freshly squeezed lemon juice, giving way eventually to pears, honey, olives and almonds and again that strangely attractive muskiness balanced by a steely note. It made me crave buttered brown bread with marmite, and my cravings apparently knew best; with those balancing flavours in place I got much more of the muskiness and a stronger almond character without being overpowered by the citrus.
Overall I think this is fabulous. Not so much a palate cleanser as a palate hose-down, it’s blisteringly refreshing whilst also being richly flavoured and complex. It’s a fantastic value introduction into the world of Equipo Navazos sherry. At about a tenner for a half bottle it’s a great price in and of itself, and a serious bargain compared to many Equipo Navazos offerings. This is most definitely not a beginner’s Fino; I think you need to love that challenging ‘punzante’ character of a relatively strong Jerez Fino to fall for this. But if you already love Fino, and fancy something with some serious personality, this is definitely for you.