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Pale straw gold with golden highlights. The nose is interesting – unusual even – and fresh. Salty briny seaside notes with a gentle trace of flor, hints of apricot and quince as well a bread dough. The palate has notes of baked apple which nicely balances the acidity and traces of flor. It is clean, tasty and has very good length.
UBE Miraflores uses old clones of Palomino and is mix of three different albarizas (chalky soil with high fossil content): lentejuelas (grainy); tosca cerrada (lower chalk content, harder) and lustrillo (chalky with iron) The grapes derive from five different vineyards of the Pago Miraflores area in Sanlúcar – the largest and most heterogeneous vineyard area of Sanlúcar. This blend of different albariza soils and vineyard gives the equivalent of a “village” Sanlúcar wine. Carrascal is from the Las Vegas vineyard, the highest in the Pago de Carrasacal, and the closest area to the Atlantic. The vines are original rootstock Palomino and the terroir is lentejuelas, a grainy type of Albariza soil. The wine is fermented in 500 litre sherry butts with indigenous yeasts, aged in very old barrels and bottled after a light filtration and minimal sulphites added. What is also delightful is the uplift of beautiful chalky acidity and the wines weigh in at an eminently drinkable 12.5% ABV.
Ramiro Ibáñez Espinar, is a restless and talented winemaker who, with experience in Bordeaux and Australia as well as his native Sanlúcar, runs a winemakeing consultancy under the name GL Cero used by various bodegas in the Marco de Jerez. He is hugely enthusiastic about the potential of albariza soil and the recovery of traditional local grape varieties, many of which are all but lost, and which are no longer permitted in the Consejo regulations. He makes all sorts of interesting wines to demonstrate the terroir and personality of each vineyard and grape variety without letting too much flor obscure it. Ramiro was a founder member of Manifiesto 119, a group of like-minded local wine producers who want to experiment with the old varieties and winemaking techniques, make unfortified sherry and give more importance to the grapes and the vineyard, not to mention restoring casas de viña. They chose this name after the 119 grape varieties (40 of them in Cádiz) catalogued in Andalucía in 1807 by the first Spanish ampelographer, Simón de Rojas Clemente. Like Ramiro the group makes table wines as well as Sherry, and while few of them carry the DO they are still sought after and hard to obtain due to the small quantities made. One of the projects is called Ube and focuses on old vine Palomino from different clones fermented in an old Manzanilla butt without flor.