González Byass has launched the 2015 Finos Palmas, selected this year by Spanish wine expert and journalist, Michael Schachner, contributing editor for leading American wine publication, Wine Enthusiast.
Commenting on this year’s Cuatro Palmas, master blender, Antonio Flores, said, ”As ever, the process of selecting the wines has been fascinating and it was a privilege to be able to have Michael Schachner helping to choose some particularly outstanding wines which highlight the unique evolution of our very best finos through time.”
The tasting took place over a morning in late September in the cellars at González Byass with the final wines being bottled and released this week.
Michael Schachner, contributing editor for Spain and South America, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, in the USA commented, “What an incredible experience this was! Never before had I been invited by a winery to take part in the barrel selection or blending process. Usually this is the exclusive domain of the winemaker, but in this case my voice, nose, palate and opinions were taken seriously, with my selections falling very much in line with those of Antonio.”
He continued, “I lost count along the way, but we must have tasted through nearly 100 barrels to select 33 of our favorites. Then we re-tasted those barrels in order to find the very best lots…the wines that will make up Una, Dos, Tres and Cuatro Palmas.”
THE FINOS PALMAS WINES:
Selection of three casks (numbers 10, 78 and 114) from a total of 142 in which the flor is still alive and protecting these 6 year old wines, originating from the Tío Pepe solera.
Tasting note: Pale gold in colour with hints of green. An intense nose, with the pungency and penetration that is characteristic of great fino, the aromas of the flor dominate accompanied by a nuttiness from the palomino fino variety; potent and dry on the palate, with a salty, slightly bitter finish.
A wine that has spent 8 years in contact with the flor and which, in the wine, was still evident on the surface of the wine, at the time of selection.
Out of the 150 American oak casks in this solera we chose just two, numbers 18 and 65, for the 2015 Dos Palmas
Tasting note: Bright gold with hint of Green. Intense, incisive and penetrating aromas and owing to its age, some oxidative notes are evident. On the palate it is potent, with a touch of unctuousness. Saline with an attractive hint of bitterness as is fitting of an aged fino.
Very old Tío Pepe, where the biological ageing has reached its limit. After 10 years ageing only a few barrels retain traces of the yeasts which interacts so magically with the wine. Only one cask, out of 150, was selected for this year’s Tres Palmas, cask Nº 9.
Tasting note: Old gold color, with some touches of green. Very intense nose, very aromatic and penetrating, touches of oak are becoming apparent and the aromas resulting from wine’s oxidative ageing dominate. Harmonious on the palate, the wine has body yet is dry, elegant and flavourful with a long creamy finish due to the autolysis of the dead yeasts deposited in the cask. According to Antonio Flores “this is a wine that walks the line between life and death; the agony of the flor.”
This very old amontillado represents the capacity that Tío Pepe has to age and develop with time, concentrating the best of its raw ingredients to give us a wine which demonstrates the importance of selection and classification in the winery – a sublime and unrepeatable amontillado, taken from one cask, Nº 3 in this particular solera that has been ageing in our cellars for 51 years.
Tasting note: Intense, medium dark mahogany colour, hints of chestnut and a green rim. Very intense on the nose reminiscent of cedar wood, tobacco, dried herbs and antique, lacquered furniture. It has a spectacular structure on the palate with a magnificent acidity, perfectly integrated into the oak. A fine salinity on the finish, with an elegant bitter aftertaste which is redolent of the origins of the wine’s biological ageing under flor – rich and flavoursome with a never-ending finish.