Equipo Navazos is a group of sherry experts who go and hunt out special wines from the bodegas of Jerez, Sanlucar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa Maria - i.e. wines of unusual quality - in order to commercialise them. This group was established in 2005 by Jesus Barquin, culinary critic, and Eduardo Ojeda, oenologist, after they discovered a number of barrels of Amontillado that had been forgotten and had remained untouched for 20 years at Sanchez Ayala. They were allowed to bottle one barrel and that is how they came to make 600 bottles of 'La Bota de Amontillado'. These bottles were then shared among the members of the group. The members are sherry distributors and connoisseurs both at home and abroad who can buy the bottles.
From 2006 onwards, a few more limited selections were released under the name of 'La Bota de...' with a number of special barrels of Manzanilla, Fino, Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez bottled. In particular, the barrels from outside the traditional soleras (like the Bota Punta and the Bota NO), which had previously not been available outside the walls of the bodegas themselves, score particularly highly. The bottles are labelled with a serial number and the exact bottling date so that consumers can be completely sure how long the wine has been evolving in the bottle. Equipo Navazos decided to commercialise the bottlings from 2007 on, although the quantities available are always restricted to a few thousand bottles at the most. Therefore each bottling has its own, very particular character, which is at odds with the pursuit of the constant, recognisable quality upon which solera system is founded.
It is this last characteristic of the Botas that has made these bottles real collector's items, a bottling (saca) is unique and cannot be repeated.
D.O. Jerez - Manzanilla: Sherry is a wine with a protected designation of origin that may only come from the southernmost part of Spanish Andalusia. This sherry region is officially named D.O. Jerez (Xérès) Sherry y Manzanilla. This region forms a large triangle on the map between Sevilla and Cádiz. It's a beautiful area with picturesque white villages, rolling vineyards, exquisite palaces and a lively street life.
Inland, at the heart of the region, is the city of Jerez de la Frontera. It is from here that the wine derives its name. Sherry is in fact an anglicisation of Sherris, the old Moorish name for Jerez. A lot of bodegas are to be found in the old Moorish city centre. You can nibble on delicious small eats in its many tapas bars, washed down with a little glass of sherry. You can also find a lot of bodegas in the fishing village of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. This village is famous for a special sort of sherry, Manzanilla. The third most important place for sherry is the harbour city of Puerto de Santa Maria. Sherries have been shipped from here for hundreds of years.
There are two reasons why the sherry region is particularly suited to the production of this special wine. Firstly, the climate is extremely favourable to growing grapes. It's very hot in the summer, cooled by a west wind off the sea. Secondly, the region has a particular soil, known as Albariza. It is dazzlingly white in colour and very chalky. This allows the grapes to develop their elegant taste and aroma. This chalky soil is very good at absorbing rainwater. So the vines can always find an adequate supply of water in the soil, even in the dry summer months. Most of the grapes are grown on Albariza. Two other soil types are also found here: Barro (clay) and Arena (sand). Only a very small share of the grapes are grown on these two types of soil.
The Palomino grape accounts for 95% of the vines, making it by far the most important grape for sherry. Although Muscat (called Moscatel in Spain) and Pedro Ximénez are also used. Both of these grape varieties are frequently left to dry in the sun after harvesting. Their water evaporates and their sugar content becomes more concentrated. These dried grapes are used to make sweet wines. They are also used to make dry sherries a little sweeter.
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