This wine is made in a similar way to a Fino or Manzanilla, without, being fortified with the additional 2-2.5% alcohol. Fermentation takes place in 40 year old bota (barrels) filled 5/6ths full. After alcoholic fermentation it is racked of gross lees and returned to the Bota where it develops a fine flor (yeast layer) and it continues to mature for a further 9 months or so. The interplay between the flor, air in the barrel and the wine, protects it from oxidation and adds layers of complexity and character to the wine.
Listen as Jesús Barquín explores his two white table wines, their history and production using flor yeast.
Words from Equipo Navazos
Everything suggests that the origin of Andalusian biological ageing should be dated back to the second half of the eighteenth century, halfway between Sanlúcar (providing the wines) and Cádiz (providing the market and commercial channels in the form of the tabancos de montañeses where the beneficial effects of the flor were first appreciated).
Everything likewise indicates that in those days the practice of fortification was infrequent in the white wines destined to local consumption. We gather that from Agustín Fernández’s 1801 article on “Vineyard and winemaking practices in San Lucar de Barrameda”, published in issue 213 of that admirable source of information that was the Semanario de Agricultura y Artes dirigido a los Párrocos. After stating that the best grapes were the “listanes” (palomino fino) and the best vineyards those of “tierras blancas” (albariza soils) he continued as follows:
“if the grapes are of top quality, the whites need nothing more; it is true that some add a quarter of refined spirit to stabilize them, but they risk the wines becoming coarse as a result of this” (p 59)
If to this we add the fact that the local classification of vineyards according to quality criteria was well settled at the turn of the 18th century, we can infer that the parameters that a top-quality wine of the age had to meet were the following: a) the palomino fino variety, b) sourced from the best vineyards, c) fermented in butt, d) using indigenous yeasts, e) aged under the layer of flor that was formed immediately after the fermentation yeasts finished their job, f) with no added alcohol. This wine, before the generalization of the term “vino de manzanilla” (for which Cádiz was responsible), was plainly known locally as “vino blanco” (‘white wine’).
It is no more and no less than that, a white wine, that we offer now as the fifth vintage of Navazos-Niepoort 2012, produced by Equipo Navazos following exactly the same rigorous quality criteria employed by the best winemakers of the Bajo Guadalquivir some 200 years ago: palomino fino musts sourced from a historic Albariza vineyard, fermented in butt with indigenous yeasts that impregnate the vines and the fermentation vessels themselves, aged for eigth months under a layer of flor thanks to the action of more indigenous yeasts that take control immediately after fermentation, and of course with not a single drop of added alcohol.
In the Sherry District the 2012 vintage was scarce in quantity but, likely partly because of it, simply fenomenal, the truly “perfect” vintage. This fact-together with our increasing experience in the winemaking of this revolutionary, although rooted in tradition, wine-has brought about this new edition to be again a step ahead of the previous ones in terms of quality. However, in any of its five vintages up to now, this is a wine we Equipo Navazos are especially fond of, perhaps because it is more our own “creation” than some of the others.
It is best enjoyed chilled at around 9ºC, with any type of lightly cooked fish and seafood, as well as lighter rice and pasta dishes, and salads of delicate flavors.
From the chalky soils to the glass, after a period under flor. Never before, in recent times, had tradition and future embraced with such authenticity in a bottle of Andalusian wine.