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Monday, December 11, 2017

The Event: a re-tasting of the important Bod Altanza Spanish sherries from the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada press tasting.

The Date and Time: Monday November 27, 2017  7PM to 10PM
The Event: a re-tasting of the important Spanish sherries from the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada press tasting.
The Venue: Gothic epicures
The Target Audience: me
The Availability/Catalogue: products are available by private order through Profile Wine Group.
The Quote/Background: Roberto Amillo is a major collector of Spanish wines and sherries and bottles/paper etc. He has almost 20,000 items and has opened a museum-gallery-shop in Jerez. In 2011, Amillo started Espíritus de Jerez, making his own selection from older, exceptional soleras and bottling them under the Colección Robert Amillo label. The series contains four sherries and two brandies. Everything he has done with this collection has garnered great scores in the mid-nineties (points). The packaging deserves a mention: the half-litre bottles are square, squat, and made of thick heavy glass, with colourful accents inspired by mosaic tilework. After consumption, the bottles can be used as decanters or perfume/cologne bottles. The sherries have a good track record, but are convoluted in each one's marketing. Bodegas Altanza presents them after Robert Amillo has sourced the materials (from Jerez producers) for his Espiritus de Jerez brand, which are then marketed in Ontario by Profile Wine Group who repps Altanza.
The Wines: The Roberto Amillo sherry range was tasted (four bottles) and scored –
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Bodegas Altanza Colección Roberto Amillo Palo Cortado Palomino Jerez $74.95 half-litre Espíritus de Jerez: 20.5%ABV, from a solera at Bodegas Williams & Humbert. Extremely aromatic, loaded with toasted oak, walnuts (some rancio), dried fruit, leather, the usual suspects of citrus, toffee and mocha, spices of cloves. Some aging, such as an older flor nose and complexity with minerality. Nice long length in the finish for the complex of sweet spices and pastries. Good structure. My fave of the four...and actually, palo cortado is my fave sherry of all that I taste. Possibly 95 points.
-Bodegas Altanza Colección Roberto Amillo Oloroso Palomino Jerez $74.95 half-litre Espíritus de Jerez: 21.5%ABV, from a 30-year old 24 butt solera at Bodegas Williams & Humbert. Fragrant nose, complex dried fruit (again, dried orange peel, rancio nuts with some varnish, cedar, cinnamon. With age, higher alcohol is useful here to carry through the solera notes and a more oily feel in the mouth. As with all of these wines, there is (from aging) a tannic bitterness in the undertones that collectors will revel in. Long spicy finish. Possibly 94 points.
-Bodegas Altanza Coleccion Roberto Amillo Pedro Ximenez Jerez $74.95 half-litre Espiritus de Jerez: 15%ABV, sourced from Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla. Much as I love this drink for its sweetness, I feel compelled to say that my tasting palate is not as well adapted to sweet beverages. I enjoy all of them, but a little goes a long way with me. Here we have intense richness of raisins, dates, figs, mocha, anise with lots of toasted toffee. The low alcohol keeps this one in range. Persistent finish.
Suitable for chocolate fondue, pastries, foie gras, blue cheese. Possibly 91 points.
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Bodegas Altanza Colección Roberto Amillo Amontillado Palomino Jerez $74.95 half-litre Espíritus de Jerez: 20%ABV, from a single barrel at Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana in Sanlucar. It is actually a Manzanilla Amontillada, especially on the nose with its brininess and some volatile acidity showing. Otherwise, dried fruit and peel of apricot and oranges mixed with some rancio of toffee and nuts. Dried oxidized aromas dominate, with tones of mushrooms, herbs, forest floor, not for the faint of heart. Slightly bitter/tannic finish. A real wine for a real collector looking to sample an older dry sherry. Possibly 89 - 90 points.
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade):  94.

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