Published on May 8th, 2020 | by Ruben0
ZEREJ II – Vino Blanco (Barbadillo)
ZEREJ started in 2015 with a first series of biologically aged sherries, four wines of different ages. This luxury tasting pack of four magnums was aimed at showing the evolution from a barrel fermented mosto over a Manzanilla to Manzanilla Pasada and finally an 18 years old Amontillado. It was the brainchild of Armando Guerra Monge of Der Guerrita in Sanlúcar.
A bit later in 2017 Armando joined Barbadillo as the premium wine responsible. With the help of the bodega’s oenologist Montse Molina he put together ZEREJ II, this time exploring the effects of oxidative ageing. The tasting pack is now composed of four Barbadillo wines, starting with this white wine Mirabrás and ending with a mature Oloroso. They were first available as magnums but recently a version with smaller bottles appeared in some stores (still bottled in 2017, I wonder what the effect has been after 3 years in clear glass bottles).
I already reviewed Mirabrás some time ago. The wine comes from an old part of the Cerro de Leyes vineyard in the pago Santa Lucía, which is owned by Barbadillo since the 1970s. It is made with hand-picked grapes that are given a short asoleo, fermented in ex-Manzanilla barrels, rested on the lees and then very briefly aged under flor, without fortification.
Despite the brief period of flor this serves as a good starting point for oxidative ageing. First because it comes from an inland vineyard (warmer, producing courser juice, traditionally predestined for oxidative ageing) and secondly because it was in fact also influenced by oxidation. It is more or less a sobretabla, albeit an unfortified sobretabla, a wine at the very start of Manzanilla production.
Zerej II – Vino Blanco (14,5%, Barbadillo)
Nose: the first thing that struck me was a vegetal side (couldn’t stop thinking of cooked cabbage), although this became less invading the second day in the fridge. After a bit of breathing more classic mineral notes and white bread, as well as green almonds and lots of chamomile. Bruised apples.
Mouth: dry, rather gentle, with a higher acidity than expected from the nose, although there’s still this umami vegetal side as well. Minerals and yeasty notes. Apples and a hint of lime.
Availability: the entire set of 4 bottles is still available from the Barbadillo shop or from Bodeboca for instance.
Summary: Not bad, although there was something on the nose that put me off. I kept seeing it as an unfinished Manzanilla rather than a fine wine in its own right. A good starting point though, leading the way for three wines that I love much more.