A Tribute to Anne-Claude Leflaive (Iggy's, Hilton Hotel, Singapore): A great end to a great night. Sourced from a solera created in 1862 with an average of some 30 years of aging, this was a lovely sherry. Unusual though. After some 10 years of being aged as a Palo Cortado, it is then blended with Pedro Ximenez grapes (making up some 13% of the final cepage) before further aging. Incidentally, I think Gonzalez-Byass might just be about the only house in Jerez that still grows PX grapes in is own vineyards. In the glass, this had the salty, saline nose of a Palo Cortado, with roasted ground-nuts and dried fig peel and just that hint of penicillin going on, but these were met by sweeter PX aromas of dried cherries and raisins, a bit of mahogany and a nice waft of spice. Very nice, and the palate was every bit as good. This was a lovely, complex mouthful, with compellingly rich, off-dry layers of raisins and cherry pips and fruit skins on the attack, leaning out into a drier midpalate and then a finish of great clarity, freshness and balance, where tangy, salty Palo Cortado notes full of preserved fig peel and nutty nuances took to the fore again. I loved that interplay of rich and fresh notes and the way it all came together so that one barely noticed the 20% alcohol on the wine. Good stuff – this went really well with the deliciously unctuous epoisses dish we had to cap the meal off.
Textbook nose of walnuts and pistacchio, old barrels, just a hint of honey and molasses from the PX. Full bodied, fresh, good acidity, nuts and sea salt, the sweetness is hardly noticeable. Long, complex, nutty finish, with a tail of chewy acidity. Impeccable.
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(NV Gonzalez-Byass Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Palo Cortado Apostoles) From 375 ml - dark orange brown color with yellow meniscus; treacle, butter brickle, ginger, fresh creamed butter, peanut brickle nose; sweet, peanut brickle, creamy textured, mineral palate with a sense of salt; long finish
(NV Gonzalez Byass Palo Cortado Apóstoles 30 Años) Baked earth and sweet baked oranges. Challenging, but nicely rounded out by the PX, which brings a fat seam of sweetness to the wine. For me it is a bit too sweet though - as I have mentioned before, I prefer a drier Palo Cortado. A nice bitter grip to it though, certainly all nicely integrated and balanced as it stands.
(NV Gonzalez Byass Palo Cortado Apóstoles 30 Años) Deeper colour here. Dark, woody, musky, baked earth nose. Just off dry. Smooth, integrated texture. Good flavour, but perhaps lacks a little elegance. I would prefer a drier style. Good for what it is though.
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