Today I tasted….. Valdespino Palo Cortado Viejo CP
I first tasted this wine at Capote y Toro in London, on a loooong sherry-fuelled evening where I tasted my way through a variety of sherry exotica on their by-the-glass list. Suffice to say, it was a good thing that my friend came and met me, or I may never have got home. One glass, drunk towards the end of an evening like that, just didn’t feel like enough to draw any firm conclusions other than “mmmm, delicious”.
So, on my recent trip to Drinkmonger, it made it into my shopping bag.
Palo Cortado Viejo CP is the big brother to Fino Inocente and Amontillado Tio Diego. All three sherries hail from the same single vineyard in Macharnudo, arguably the finest of all the Jerez Superior pagos, and are barrel fermented rather than tank fermented. The Palo Cortado solera is refreshed from selected barrels in the ninth(ie the youngest) criaderas of the Inocente and Tio Diego soleras.
The Palo Cortado’s catchy name refers to the bodega where it was originally made: CP stands for Calle Ponce, a street close to the Real Escuela Andaluza de Arte Escuestre in a part of town that used to be dotted with Valdespino bodegas. The Calle Ponce bodega has been remodelled and is now a brand new language school, after the Valdespino operation was moved to the outskirts of town. As the ‘Viejo’ part of the name implies, the wine is on the old side, at an average of 20 years. It’s 20% ABV.
So much for history, what does it taste like? Well I stand by my original, if brief, review of “mmmm delicious”, but thought I should put some flesh on the bones….
It’s medium amber in colour and has very persistent legs, as you can see from some of the photos. On the nose it’s extremely rich and complex, with a really appealing mix of aromas of resin, treacle toffee, dark chocolate, walnuts and smoke. I’ve seen other reviews that note strong bread and toast aromas, but I didn’t detect these nor any other reminiscence of its time under flor.
In the mouth it has a velvety, rich texture and a little alcohol burn on first tasting. It has quite a pronounced and enduring implied sweetness despite being a bone dry wine. This persisted to the finish. Flavours are complex and bright, with hazelnuts, bitter walnuts, polish and black pepper. It doesn’t have an especially long or heavy finish, in fact it’s pretty refreshing and seriously moreish.
I paired it with some goat’s cheese matured in ash, which had quite a farmyard-y flavour, and some plain unroasted almonds. Both matched really nicely. This is a wine that can handle a wide spectrum of foods that you might normally put with Fino, Amontillado or Oloroso. Tonight we’ll be trying it with steak and I’m confident it will be up to the challenge.
For more information about Inocente and Tio Diego, check out this article.