Today I tasted…. Colosia Manzanilla by Gutierrez Colosia
Regular readers will know that I really love Gutierrez Colosia’s sherries, after a particularly memorable introduction to them last September, but I had never come across the Manzanilla before. As luck would have it, our local wine shop has started stocking the entire Colosia range from Gutierrez Colosia. As it was a hot, sunny day Manzanilla seemed like the obvious choice to put in my shopping basket.
Manzanilla is exclusively aged in the coastal town of Sanlucar de Barrameda, where the maritime influence on the climate creates a much more vigorous year-round growth of flor. This leads to a very pale light wine with distinctly seaside and saline notes. Gutierrez Colosia’s bodega is based in El Puerto de Santa Maria, so they use another winemaker’s bodega to mature their Manzanilla.
As their bodega in El Puerto is the closest bodega to the Atlantic in the whole Sherry DO, I wondered how much difference there would really be between their Fino and this Manzanilla. Indeed, Carmen from the bodega said there should be little difference really – the same grapes, the same original base wine, just aged in different places but both with strong influences from the ocean. I wasn’t able to taste them side by side, but had extensive notes from when I last tasted the Fino.
Carmen tells me that their Manzanilla develops a different character the longer it is in the bottle, and that by 6-12 months in bottle it is becoming rounder and more like sherry. The Manzanilla I had was bottled in March 2014, so had been in bottle for four months.
On the nose, it’s not so much a sea breeze as a windy day at the beach – lots of saltiness, but softened by aromas of rising bread dough and a hint of marzipan.
This is a very tangy wine to taste, with typical Manzanilla flavours of salt, iodine and a little steeliness. This gives way to a fruitier flavour of green olives, much like the flavour of Colosia Fino. What strikes me with the Manzanilla though is the very strong savoury flavour of yeast extract (Marmite – which I love!), complemented by tastes of toasted white crusty bread and the merest hint of almonds.
There are definitely huge similarities between this Manzanilla and Colosia’s Fino, but the Manzanilla was bolder at the same time as being ultra ultra fresh. This boldness meant that the Manzanilla could cope with the robust flavours of the chicken and chorizo jambalaya I cooked that evening. Of course it would also be absolute heaven with big fresh prawns straight from the Bahia de Cadiz.
Perhaps it was the time spent in bottle that influenced the difference between the two wines – the Fino we tasted was very recently bottled, as we sampled it at the bodega. Whatever the reason, though, I reckon they are both worth having in the fridge this summer. Make a night of it and taste them side by side, marveling at the difference a few miles makes.
Note: If you want to know when a Colosia sherry was bottled, look for the code on the back label beginning with L. It gives the month and the year of bottling. My Manzanilla bottle was marked L 3-14 so was bottled in March 2014.