Since trying the wines of Equipo Navazos in late 2013, in particular a taste of the Nº 37 and Nº 31 Amontillados, I have been constantly seeking the chance to try more of their range, and even just more sherry in general. An opportunity arose late last year to attend a masterclass with the Australian importer Bibendum and the co-founder of Equipo Navazos, Jesús Barquín, and I took the chance gratefully.

The tasting was a highlight of my year in wine, not just for the often spectacular contents of the bottles, but to hear and learn from Jesús, who is both passionate about this project and extremely knowledgeable about Sherry but also conveyed the immense respect he has for the Bodegas and vineyards where these wines are sourced.

  • 2010 Colet Colet-Navazos Extra Brut – Spain, Cava
    Shows apple, honey, ginger, chalk and a tinge of caramel. The palate has a very mild oxidative note that I rather enjoyed. Good texture and plenty of spice. Complex and interesting but won’t be universally loved. 90/100
  • 2011 Equipo Navazos Vino de Mesa de Andalucía Navazos-Niepoort – Spain, Andalucía, Vino de Mesa de Andalucía
    From a single vineyard Marnachundo in Albariza and described as unfortified fino. Heady florals, straw, lemon and chalk aromas. The palate is rather clean and fresh but it just spread out across the mid-palate and take on some more weight. There is just a hint of bitterness but it was not entirely out of place or unlikeable. 89/100
  • 2010 Equipo Navazos Jerez-Xérès-Sherry La Bota de Vino Blanco MMX “Florpower” nº44 – Spain, Andalucía, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry
    Unfortified, from the Pago Miraflores vineyard in Sanlucar. Light orange-gold coloured. Funky, saline, nutty and complex spices on the nose. Intense mineral and saline drive to the palate. There is richness to it, but it takes a back seat to the rush of refreshing acidity. Carries through to a long finish, leaving you wanting more each time. Stunning. 94/100
  • 2010 Equipo Navazos Jerez-Xérès-Sherry La Bota MMX “Florpower – Más allá” nº53 – Spain, Andalucía, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry
    The same base as the stunning #44 but with an additional 10 months barrel time, this was still very good but was not quite as expressive right now for me. Orange peel, the funkiness of #44 is backed off a little but still shows a little bit as well as popcorn and a reductive note that comes from just being bottled. The palate is beautiful, there is power but it is considered and balanced, without having the racy drive of #44 but probably showing more depth. Probably requires some time to settle and open up. 91/100
  • NV Equipo Navazos Manzanilla en Rama – Spain, Andalucía, Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda
    Bottled February 2013. A chance to look at this in a bit more detail after the quick tasting yesterday. Sea spray, violets, apple and a light nuttiness. Refreshing citrus acid on the palate, the flavours carry well and there is even a good amount of depth to the fruit. Has some bite to it that I find interesting and I really like this, punches well above its level. 90/100
  • NV Equipo Navazos La Bota de Manzanilla nº 42 – Spain, Andalucía, Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda
    Sourced from Bodegas Sanchez Ayala, with the fruit coming from the Las Canas vineyard in Sanlucar. Smokey, earth, light hazelnut, pear and a chocolate raisin note to the nose. Rich and with great presence to the fruit, it is amazing how fresh and bright the palate remains, both from the acidity and the alcohol influence. Has good grip and length. 91/100
  • NV Equipo Navazos Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada Nº 50 “Bota Punta” – Spain, Andalucía, Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda
    From a single cask, only 900 half bottles produced. Aged in a 600 liter American oak barrel for 15 years, with the first 10 years being under a layer of flor and the final 5 years with the barrel topped up and nearly full. The nose shows an oxidative leaning, with oatmeal, popcorn, apple and an intense nutty caramel streak throughout. That nuttiness is present across the whole length of the palate and it finishes with a great deal of persistence. Given the depth of the flavour, it is impressive how it retains finesse and class. Extremely good. 93/100
  • NV Equipo Navazos Jerez-Xérès-Sherry La Bota de Palo Cortado Nº 52 “Sanlúcar” – Spain, Andalucía, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry
    From the 2010 vintage and the Pago Miraflores vintage in Sanlúcar. Melon, nuttiness, straw and spice. Fairly light on the palate, the alcohol does show through a little bit as a result. Feels a bit angular, without the depth or roundness to give it some dimension. 88/100
  • NV Equipo Navazos Montilla-Moriles La Bota de Oloroso “Montilla” nº 46 – Spain, Andalucía, Montilla-Moriles
    Out of this world. Sourced from Bodega Perez Barquero. 25-30 years average age. Aromatically explosive and intoxicating – citrus rind, mango, salted caramel, apricot, a tinge of oxidative character and toffee. The palate is dry and very nutty, but there is richness via the glycerol that draws the length out to an unbelievable point. 21% alcohol and I didn’t pick it up on the nose, while it is more apparent on the palate, it feels very well integrated. One of the best wines I had in 2014. 96/100
  • NV Equipo Navazos Jerez-Xérès-Sherry La Bota de Amontillado Viejísimo Nº 49 “Bota A.R.” – Spain, Andalucía, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry
    Single cask resulting in 1200 half bottles. 55-80+ years average age. 22+% alcohol. Medicinal nose with orange, old oak, mixed herbs, charcoal and caramel also present. Intensity turned up to 12 on the palate, it is an overload of the senses. Alcohol and unbelievable extract, the layers and depth to this are incredible. A tiny, tiny bit is enough, this is an extreme experience and I feel exhausted just thinking about it again! Not something to have all the time but an honour trying it. 93/100
  • NV Equipo Navazos Gran Solera (May 2013) – Spain, Andalucía, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry
    Average age is 20-25 years. Chocolate, raisin and Christmas cake – less rancio on this bottle than the previous one I tried. The palate feels like concentrated raisin it is full bodied and has good length. For 425 g/l residual sugar, it is certainly sweet but it does well to retain balance and not feel cloying – though a small pour is plenty. 90/100
  • NV Equipo Navazos Jerez-Xérès-Sherry La Bota de Pedro Ximenez Nº36, Bota NO – Spain, Andalucía, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry
    Average 30 years old. Licorice, herb, cedar, coffee chocolate and caramel plus a little raisin (though not as much as the Gran Solera which was pure raisin). Utterly mouth-coating and the length is almost endless. A small pour is totally satisfying and yet I’d happily go back for more. Amazing wine. 94/100

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