Today I tasted…. Manzanilla ‘I Think’ by Equipo Navazos
I Think. What a brilliant name to grab your attention. It certainly made me think…. First I wondered, are they unsure if it’s really a Manzanilla (‘I think it’s Manzanilla’)? Then my mind turned to Descartes (‘I think, therefore I am’). Eventually I thought I’d better stop speculating and find out the true origin of the name!
The name and label are an homage to Charles Darwin – ‘I think’ being the first words of annotation to his tree of life sketch, which is also reproduced on the label. And it seems to me that the wine inside the bottle is a fitting tribute too – to the enduring power of nature to create something spectacular.
This is an En Rama Manzanilla, which the Equipo Navazos website describes as ‘true and untamed’. It’s bottled with minimal filtration after an average of around four and a half years under flor. Paula McLean, author of the brilliant Jerez-Xeres-Sherry blog, tells me it comes from the La Guita bodega. The saca (bottling) date for this bottle is April 2012, and because of the strong flor presence has the potential to evolve in the bottle over time.
The lack of filtration and treatment produces a rich deep golden coloured wine with visible legs. It’s incredibly pungent with the aromas jumping out of the glass at you. Those aromas are super-savoury: marmite, tinned tomatoes and a strong flor influence.
On the palate, it’s full-bodied, with strong yeast and bread flavours and a hint of marmite. Those tomatoes are there again too. There’s a little salinity – although not as much as in many Manzanillas – and a good hit of green olives. what really strikes me is the soft roundedness of the flavour – there are no spiky edges, just lots of rich flavours that are beautifully integrated. It has a long, rich finish, principally of yeast and green olive flavours.
The richness and softness make this a very different Manzanilla to others I’ve tasted. There’s none of the usual brisk zippiness – this wine is thrilling to savour and can also stand it’s ground with some pretty bold food flavours. Dare I admit that it even gave pizza a run for its money?!
I Think. Here’s a wine that lives up to the promise of its label – it really did stop me in my tracks and make me think. And now for another thought: I think I’d better buy another bottle.
Photographic note: Bored of the same old backdrops, I was fooling around with the scarf I was wearing. It turned out to be the perfect complement for the colour of the label. Scarf by Becksondergaard at Covet.