Sherry-scented bubbles – 2010 Colet Navazos Extra Brut
Even in our sherry-obsessed household, we like to toast the New Year with some bubbles. Fizz is festive, right? But this year – in keeping with a year that, for us, was completely shaped by sherry – our fizz had a little sherry in its soul.
Equipo Navazos, those finders of long-forgotten botas and champions of sensational small releases, don’t only discover and bottle epic sherries from established bodegas; they’re also collaborating with other winemakers to experiment with creating new wines, and not only in the Sherry Triangle. Which brings us to our New Year’s Eve bubbles….
Colet Navazos is a collaboration between Equipo Navazos and the Colet winery in the Penedés region of Catalunya, which makes sparkling wines using the methode champenoise. One of their projects is the production of a palomino-based sparkling wine produced in the Sherry Triangle, but this has not yet come to fruition. In the meantime, they have been experimenting with bringing some sherry character to Penedés sparklers, by adding different types of sherry and small amounts of flor yeasts as the dosage for the second fermentation.
2010 Colet Navazos Extra Brut is made predominantly from the classic Penedés grape, Xarel.lo, and has spent 30 months on its lees before disgorgement in 2013. The dosage for the second fermentation includes a little flor combined with some Palo Cortado and Amontillado.
It is pale golden with a very vigorous fizz when poured. We won’t share the pictures of Grand Prix podium-style froth all over the table!
On the nose there are unmistakable, but subtle, sherry aromas: both flor-influenced ‘punzante’ acetaldehyde scents of brine, almond and marzipan, and whispers of oxidatively aged sherry. These combine with green apple and typical toasty and biscuity methode champenoise aromas.
On the palate the wine has lots of fine and lively bubbles, and a bright, fresh flavour. It’s bone dry with flavours of apple, toast and nuts. Again there’s the hint, the merest suggestion of sherry; beautifully integrated and never overpowering the whole. Think sherry as background music here, rather than a rock concert you bought tickets to see.
The end result? Interesting, different, very refreshing. Dangerously drinkable.
Thanks to Paula McLean of Drinkmonger and the blog Jerez-Xeres-Sherry for recommending this to us. Price about £20. Alcohol 12.5%.