En Rama aims to pick sherry off the flor
Thursday 17 May
With the London International Wine fair fast approaching (again!) there’s a host of new launches filing up my inbox.
Another vintage of Pinot Grigio doesn’t cut the mustard but the re-appearance of La Gitana Manzanilla En Rama gets my taste buds working.
La Gitana En Rama was first released in November 2011 and quickly sold out. In a stroke of luck (right time, right place), I managed to get my greasy hands on a single bottle courtesy of a sherry bar. It will, no doubt, be as hot as a stolen car again this time around.
En Rama is pure, unadulterated Manzanilla. It is only possible to bottle this special batch twice a year – in spring and autumn - when the flor is at its thickest. It is unfined and unfiltered unlike most sherries produced commercially and thus is more unstable but, in my experience, more interesting. Javier Hidalgo explains: “It is precisely in those two moments of the year when we bottle en rama, to catch the maximum intensity of flor aromas and taste.”
Historically, transport facilities made it far more complicated to ship wines drawn directly from the cask due to the exposure to extreme temperatures in transit. With improvements in transportation , the bodega has been working to preserve this style of manzanilla in its natural form, as you would taste in the bodegas in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. With no stabilisation, it should be drunk within three months of bottling.
Javier Hidalgo adds: “For me en rama supposes the experience of eating the plum I grab from the tree it the countryside, with the sun shining and the birds singing around me. Straight from the branch (“rama” in Spanish) to the mouth. Certainly different from the conventionally bottled wine.”
It is hoped the new en rama sherries from both La Gitana and Tio Pepe will give the sherry industry a much needed boost.