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For sherry lovers and collectors, there are no scents or flavors more mouth-watering than those created by flor yeast, no image more fascinating than a cobwebbed cask of long-lost wine, and no words more resonant than "La Bota." Eduardo Ojeda and Jesús Barquín are Equipo Navazos, the unique duo behind La Bota, a series of bottlings that explore the stylistic range of wines from Jerez and Montilla-Moriles and the connections between them. Ojeda is the technical director of Grupo Estevez, whose holdings include Valdespino in Jerez and La Guita in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Jesús Barquín is a professor of criminal law at the University of Granada, as well as one of Spain's most focused and scholarly writers on the wines of Jerez, Montilla-Moriles, and beyond.
Their partnership began in 2005, when Ojeda invited Barquín to join him for a tasting at Sánchez Ayala bodega in Sanlúcar. A solera of untouched amontillado took their breath away and they had the idea to buy a cask to distribute among their circle of wine fanatic friends. La Bota de Amontillado #1 was born. La Bota de Fino, de Pedro Ximénez, de Manzanilla, de Palo Cortado, etc. were soon to come. From its origins in Jerez and Montilla-Moriles, now with nearly 80 bottlings, Equipo Navazos extends beyond special cask selections to include some surprising collaborations: still wines from Navazos-Niepoort, stunning Colet-Navazos sparkling wines from Penedès featuring secondary fermentation spurred by flor yeast, with sherry and manzanilla dosage, and Navazos-Palazzi spirits, among others.
We are thrilled to be joined by Jesús Barquín and Eduardo Ojeda for a special dinner on Monday, December 4th, at Racines NY. Chef Frederik Duca will prepare a multi-course pairing menu designed to pair precisely with a wide range of Equipo Navazos wines, presented by Barquín and Ojeda themselves. With guests such as these, we can guarantee enlightening company and inspiring wines!
Tickets for dinner are available below, as well as a delicious assortment of Equipo Navazos wines -- both new releases and a few gems from earlier in the series. All item descriptions come from Equipo Navazos' website http://www.equiponavazos.com. Although it is our practice at Chambers Street to use only our own notes for the wines that we sell, Equipo Navazos' technical and historical notes are unmatched in clarity and completeness, and therefore fruitless to paraphrase.
We hope you can join us for this rare and exciting event. Cheers! Ariana Rolich
From Equipo Navazos: 'Gaspar Florido used to market two very old wines sourced from their soleras at their old cellaring facility at calle Rubiños, in the heart of the "Barrio" in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. When they decided to seize the real estate fever and sell their urban bodegas they had to move those butts to a shabby facility on the road from Sanlúcar to Trebujena. There is where I had the opportunity to sample them for the first time, on a visit with Álvaro Girón to already old Gaspar in June 2006. We were very positively impressed by their quality and consistency, especially in contrast with the lack of distinction--to put it mildly--of the context there and then. There were quite a few butts of the outstanding GF-25 and only a few of GF-30, a very old and absolutely spectacular wine. It is precisely from the latter that this La Bota de Palo Cortado nº 41 "Bota NO" is sourced. Only a few months later, early in 2007, Bodegas Pedro Romero purchased Gaspar Florido, and since then they have remained marketing GF-25 under the usual label "Jerez Viejísimo". In Gaspar's opinion--perhaps questionable but not lacking solid ground--such wines see how the distinctive features of amontillado, palo cortado and oloroso are blurred by their very age. That is why he used to label it simply "Jerez", which after all merely honors the sanluqueña tradition of referring to the local palo cortado as "jerez cortado". It is indeed a very old palo cortado and so we have labeled it as such. Today these butts are stored at the Sacristía of Pedro Romero, back to the heart of the "Barrio" and actually very near their original location. There is where we had the opportunity to revisit them and sample them exhaustively and, ahem, exhaustingly, in order to select our favorites for this edition of "La Bota": it is a truly extraordinary wine for its unlikely balance between sheer authenticity, concentration, and finesse; genuinely amazing, with so much character and personality.'
From Equipo Navazos: 'The very thin skin of the Pedro Ximénez variety favors the fast dehydration of the berries during the asoleo (sundrying) process, which makes it ideal for the production of raisiny sweet wines. The Montilla-Moriles region (especially in Montalbán, Montemayor, and Puente Genil) concentrates today virtually all the production of sweet PX musts that will later be aged in the different Andalusian winemaking areas. Casa del Inca, in Montilla, is the former residence of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, where he wrote most of his literary production. Its present functions—after restoration—are related to the city’s winemaking tradition. Late-harvested grapes, several full turns of exposure to the late summer sun, and careful extraction at different pressure levels by means of powerful hydraulic presses are the key to the musts’ original quality. Another key element is the subsequent fortification with top-quality wine-based spirits. Third and last as far as vintage PXs not undergoing barrel ageing are concerned is time: one and a half years resting in tinajas or conos, the traditional cone-shaped vessels used in Montilla-Moriles for centuries now.'
On Monday, December 4th, at Racines NY we are thrilled to be joined by Jesús Barquín and Eduardo Ojeda of Equipo Navazos. Chef Frederik Duca will prepare a multi-course pairing menu designed to pair precisely with a wide range of Equipo Navazos wines, presented by Barquín and Ojeda themselves. $175 ticket includes dinner, wines, tax, and gratuity. With guests such as these, enlightening company and inspiring wines are guaranteed!
From Equipo Navazos: 'With this release number 74 we are revisiting the same solera in Montilla from where our release number 46 was sourced. Again Pérez Barquero, where Rafael Cordoba, co-owner of Pérez Barquero, has been controlling with exceptional care the vineyards and vintages for decades. He is a master in obtaining truly outstanding musts, both yema (first press) and color (second press). With these second press musts, locally called “vino de color”, the expert winemaker Juan Márquez produces their Olorosos. Very fragrant and strongly bodied wines, wines that very noticeably show the rotundity of the pedro ximénez grape. La Bota de Oloroso #74 “Montilla” comes from a selection of casks from the Solera Diógenes, located in third row at the Bodega El Puente. The main difference is that, this time, all the casks selected belong to the solera itself, while for the release number 46 we picked some vessels from younger criaderas as well. This fact, together with the elapsed time and with the fact that the withdrawals from these casks have been small, explain why this wine is almost five years older than its predecessor, La Bota de Oloroso nº 46. Its estimated average age is therefore close to 30 years.'
From Equipo Navazos: 'By the end of 2010, on occasion of the fifth birthday of our adventure at Equipo Navazos, we were lucky enough that our friends of Pérez Barquero allowed us to celebrate it with a super limited release: a racy Amontillado from Montilla. An extremely old “NO” wine of exceptional intensity and concentration, and spectacular complexity, sourced from one of the row-end butts that rest in Pérez Barquero’s Los Amigos cellar for many decades. Very few bottles with which we wanted to thank the support and acknowledge the contribution of the friends who walk with us on this fascinating trip. For La Bota de Amontillado Viejísimo 73 “Bota Aniversario” we have revisited the same tonel de cañón number 8 of the bodega Los Amigos, together with its sister the tonel number 3, in order to complete the contents of a whole bota without emptying any of them. It is one of those truly impressive amontillados from Montilla, at the level of the greatest traditional wines from Andalucía. Its average age is difficult to establish, but certainly older than fifty years old. In any event this wine has been sourced from from some of the oldest casks of this producer, belonging to the set of primitive soleras of the house.'
From Equipo Navzos: 'This is an extremely old, powerful and superconcentrated wine that belongs to the same cathegory as the noblest and oldest reliquias and sacristías of the Sherry District, including our releases no. 5 “NPI”, no. 14 Oloroso, no. 47 Palo Cortado or no. 49 Amontillado, among others. Barely 900 units bottled from a combination of two half-emptied casks (one the number one or “bota punta”, and the other the number 5 in the row) selected from an ancient small solera of Oloroso very carefully looked after by Chano Aragón in his bodega located at Calle Olivo in downtown Chiclana. The age of La Bota de Palo Cortado 63 “Bota NO” is extreme, surely close to 80 or 90 years old, one of those very dry and concentrated, highly acidic wines, with notable bitterness and remarkable dry extract, which sometimes is not precisely the cup of tea of certain wine lovers, while others simply love them. We are of course of the latter, although we reckon this is not a wine to drink in a careless way but one to revere. Enjoy it as an awesome perfume as well as reflectively sip it with utmost temperance and, hopefully, immoderate delectation.'
From Equipo Navazos: 'In the wine cellars owned by La Guita on the road to Jerez outside Sanlúcar de Barrameda there are several Amontillado soleras identified by the number of butts that exist of each one, and by the legends “Manzanilla Pasada”, “Manzanilla Pasada Vieja” or “Manzanilla Pasada Viejísima”. All those soleras have survived practically untouched since La Guita rearranged its stocks in 1980 and moved most to the cellars on the road to Jerez. Among them, the Solera 1/10 of “Manzanilla Pasada Vieja” which actually is an exceptional Amontillado, very old and elegant, that shows the typical character of Sanlúcar. It is precisely from that solera that we have sourced the present release: La Bota de Amontillado 61 “Bota NO”. It is the second time we come to it, since in 2011 there was a release with the same name and source numbered as La Bota no. 31. Due to its evident age and depth it can be sipped as a midmorning drop on quiet leisurely days, or after a meal. It also displays a harmonious palate that makes it especially appropriate for intense dishes such as a hearty stew, arròs de muntanya, or lobster bisque, and also of delicate pieces of sushi with a dash of wasabi. Come to think of it, at a lower than usual temperature, this amontillado can be sipped successfully side by side to a refreshing ajoblanco or gazpacho.'
From Equipo Navazos: 'Gaspar Florido used to market two very old wines sourced from their soleras at their old cellaring facility at calle Rubiños, in the heart of the “Barrio” in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. When they decided to seize the real estate fever and sell their urban bodegas they had to move those butts to a shabby facility on the road from Sanlúcar to Trebujena. There is where we had the opportunity to sample them for the first time, on a visit with Álvaro Girón to already old Gaspar in June 2006. We were very positively impressed by their quality and consistency, especially in contrast with the lack of distinction–to put it mildly–of the context there and then. There were quite a few butts of the outstanding GF-25 and only a few of GF-30, a very old and absolutely spectacular wine. It is precisely from the latter that this La Bota de Palo Cortado nº 48 “Bota Punta” is sourced. In fact it comes from a sister cask of the one from which we extracted our La Bota de Palo Cortado nº 41 “Bota NO” ten months before. Only a few months later, early in 2007, Bodegas Pedro Romero purchased Gaspar Florido, and since then they have remained marketing GF-25 under the usual label “Jerez Viejísimo”. In Gaspar’s opinion–perhaps questionable but not lacking solid ground–such wines see how the distinctive features of amontillado, palo cortado and oloroso are blurred by their very age. That is why he used to label it simply “Jerez”, which after all merely honors the sanluqueña tradition of referring to the local palo cortado as “jerez cortado”. It is indeed a very old palo cortado, and so we have labeled it as such.'
From Equipo Navazos: 'Gaspar Florido kept in his cellars an amazingly older wine than his very old GF-25 and than its even more extremely old GF-30 (from the casks of the latter we have sourced two editions of La Bota de Palo Cortado, namely those numbered as 41 and 48). A true gem of a wine, an extraordinarily essential beverage that was marketed under the brand name “Ansar Real” almost with an eyedropper and at a very high price, nevertheless proportional to its rarity and to its outworldly quality. There still survive a couple casks of this wonderful wine in the hands of Bodegas Pedro Romero. One of them has a marked character of palo cortado, and this is the one which we have selected for the present edition, in the interest of its immediate comparison with his “younger” brother, bottled in parallel as La Bota de Palo Cortado 48 “Bota Punta”. ' We cannot find proper adjectives to describe La Bota de Palo Cortado 47 “Bota NO”. Anyone who may have been impressed by the concentration and sharpness of the edition number 41, will now be incredibly amazed by the wild nature of this number 47. A powerful wine, perhaps excessive we admit, but it is precisely for this reason that it fascinates us so much. Any true wine lover should grab the opportunity to try a gem like this while we can still enjoy the increasingly improbable privilege of having access to them.'
From Equipo Navazos: 'Rafael Rivas, capataz for several decades at La Guita cellars at Sanlúcar’s Calle Misericordia until his recent retirement, started in 1986 this 15-butt solera with a well-aged manzanilla. The plan was to produce an old manzanilla of exceptional quality, should one be required to add some extra kick to the commercial releases of the house. But no such kick was ever required, and so, in order to preserve its character and prevent its turning into an amontillado, capataz Rivas pampered these 15 butts and ‘touching’ them only sparsely, sometimes as little as only every two years, with testimonial sacas of only four or five arrobas (roughly 5×16=80 liters) and refilling them with wines sourced from the best solera of La Guita. The result is a true manzanilla pasada like the good old ones, but also extremely singular in style.' Another feature that contributes to this wine’s singularity and unmatched biological character (intense and steely notes of salinity on the palate) is the way the butts are filled almost up to a tocadedos (within finger reach from the top)—well above the customary 5/6 in the Sherry region. This way, the yeast layer or “flor” (truly weakened now by the wine’s age and lack of nutrients) in these butts is more reduced and can be maintained with those scarce refills. It still performs its function as physical barrier against the wine’s oxidation, but in its diminished state it cannot be fully effective and so this manzanilla offers elegant oxidation notes and a budding rise in its alcohol level, at about 15.50/15,90%. This prodigious wine was never bottled until Equipo Navazos selected it in 2008 for its 10th release of ‘La Bota de…’, followed two years later by edition number 20 “Bota Punta”. We are now, then, with the third saca. This new release will be celebrated by many wine lovers who are absolutely crazy for this superb manzanilla pasada.'
From Equipo Navazos: 'In the Bodega Principal of Gracia Hermanos, next to the railway station in Montilla, there is a small solera of very old PX made of only seven butts that have spent many years as “NO”—protected from the regular regime of extractions of the Pérez Barquero group, and refreshed only very sporadically and in minor quantities. For this release we have selected four of those “NO” butts. This is a very old PX, of truly hard to estimate age but decidedly well above 30. It was likely ‘touched’ in its early days with a dollop of old oloroso, and it has aged following a regime that falls somewhere in between the styles we know as Montillano (releases number 3 and 12 of La Bota de Pedro Ximénez) and Jerezano (release number 11 of La Bota de Pedro Ximénez), closer in any case to the former, and unquestionably older and more complex than any of the three. At 15% abv, it has undergone oxidative ageing in butt under wider air space than the Montilla traditional “a tocadedos” (fingers touch) measure. The resulting wine has an unusual balance between fruit and noble oxidation.'