Today I tasted… Solear En Rama Saca de Otoño 2014
Today is a special day for Manzanilla and Sanlucar de Barrameda – it’s the 5oth anniversary of the creation of the Manzanilla – Sanlucar de Barrameda Denomination of Origin (DO). So in honour of this special day, I’m tasting a very special wine.
Bodegas Barbadillo have been making Manzanilla since 1821 and have bodegas scattered all over Sanlucar, both up the hill in the Barrio Alto and down by the water in the Barrio Bajo. Solear is is the bodega’s flagship Manzanilla, and every season the bodega bottles a limited release of Solear en Rama. It is clarified with a little egg white before bottling, but undergoes no other treatment.
The flor changes through the seasons, and so each season’s bottling (saca) should have different flavour characteristics. Each season’s saca has a different label, featuring an illustration of an animal or bird found in the Donana national park, just across the river Guadalquivir from Sanlucar. This saca features the Tarabilla, a type of thrush.
The autumn 2014 saca was bottled on 2 October 2014. This was the day I visited Barbadillo with the Sherry Educator course and we were all given a bottle by the enologa Monste Molina. So this is a very special bottle indeed for me. I was reluctant to open it, but Solear En Rama really needs to be drunk within 3 months of bottling. So I decided to open it as my celebration bottle for the DO’s big anniversary.
It’s a rich golden colour, with a hint of green. Thanks to being so minimally treated, it’s much darker and richer in colour than a conventional manzanilla and also gives the appearance of a fuller body.
On the nose, it starts off savoury with green olive brine, marmite and sea air. Then come hints of marzipan and almond blossom.
On the palate, it’s brisk and savoury. The first flavours are of marmite on buttered white toast (possibly my favourite food in the world, so we’re onto a winner here!), followed by a mouthfilling hit of lemon juice and then a few green olives. With a refreshing finish, this is very moreish indeed, and the half bottle disappeared in double quick time.
It was a bittersweet experience opening this bottle – it was special and therefore half of me didn’t want to open it. But here’s the thing: It was made to be drunk and enjoyed, and what better reason to enjoy it than to toast the DO’s 50th birthday. Cheers!