The summer flirt for your taste buds: Manzanilla Pasada, Pastrana Single vineyard, Hidalgo La Gitana

Do you find yourselves enjoying wines more when you imbibe them with friends?

Is it more exciting to learn about a new wine style or introduce it to your friends and family? I often compare this process to buying gifts for my loved ones rather than for myself!

manzanilla pasada hidalgo la gitana
On Saturday night I was super excited to try this Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla Pasada made in Sanlucar de Barremeda, part of the Sherry country  with a couple of friends who had NEVER tried Sherry before. I enticed them with a table full of olives, bread cheese and charcuterie. So “Cheers everyone, Yamas and Salud” I said and waited to see their reaction after they tried their first drop. They looked terrified, annoyed and somewhat uncomfortable. They said “You always want us to try new wines but this is a No. We wouldn’t drink it again.” Without trying to defend the style, I explained that the wine is aged in the superbly organised and interesting Solera system, mentioned the coastal position of the cellar and how the fresh Atlantic breeze  gives a particular salty, tangy finish.

And then we changed the subject and moved on with our night. After a while, all glasses were empty so I offered to open another bottle since no one enjoyed the Manzanilla Pasada… and then every winelover’s dream came true.. “Can we have some more?” they asked, “the more I drink it the more I like it”, they claimed.

And now 3 more wine drinkers know about Sherry, and Manzanilla and Jerez and can’t wait to explore more fortified wines. Happy days!

I’ll just sit here waiting for summer to come to London in the meantime…

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This beautiful Manzanilla Pasada made from 100% Palomino grapes, grown in the singe vineyard of Pastrana  in the Jerez Superior district is bursting with aromas and flavours of bruised apple, dough, yeast and this distinctive salty breeze, a sea iodine note.  Its finish was such an uplifting and refreshing one with notes of dried chamomile (fun fact: Manzanilla in Spanish means literally “chamomile”) and grilled almonds followed by an elegant touch of salinity and the distinctive Sherry “bite” to it! It’s not that much the alcohol but the acetaldehyde (by-product of the film-forming yeast) that wakes up every single taste bud on your tongue!

If you didn’t know, Manzanilla is mostly made by the same way as Fino Sherry (100% Palomino grapes grown on the finest albariza soils and aged in the dynamic ageing system of Solera in American 600l oak barrels), but it can only come from the coastal region of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. There, the climate encourages the flor that covers the surface of the wine in the bottas giving this characteristic “bruised apple” and “yeasty” profile to the wines, to grow throughout the year and forming an even thicker cover due to the humid breezes coming from the west Atlantic (Poniente wind). When the term “Pasada” is on the label, this means that this is a richer, more complex wine, that has been aged for longer than usual (around 6-7 years) and the flor has gradually started to fade as there are not enough nutrients to feed on. The wine then gets gradually exposed to oxygen and gaining a roasted nuts and slightly savoury character!

Fino and Manzanilla are the perfect flirts for your tasting buds, ideal as an aperitif, a range of tapas, olives, nuts and of course fried seafood and fish! Give it a try and you won’t be disappointed!

Happy exploring!

You can trace the wine with wine-searcher.com

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