Bodega Gonzalez Byass, Delicado 12 y.o. Amontillado, Jerez, Andalucia, Spain, NV
An amontillado is the result of two successive ageing processes, both in solera – firstly biological as a fino under flor, then oxidatively in oak. It normally starts life as a fino, of minimum age 3 years, where the protective layer of flor has broken down. Such wines are then fortified to 17 % abv to kill remaining yeast cells and for biological protection as the wine continues to develop, without the flor, ageing oxidatively on ullage in a separate solera.
This wine: varietal palomino fino, natural cork stopper, 500 ml, 17% abv, widely available, ~£15 (01/2017)
Consumer tasting note: a strong nose of crushed fresh and roasted hazelnut, hints of dried citrus peel, a little high-toned marmalade, raisin and a touch of toffee; medium-full bodied, with an intense palate of crushed fresh and roasted hazelnut, with a hints of walnut and dried citrus, finishing with a touch of toffee right on the end of the medium-long length.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, medium intensity amber, showing tears.
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, fully developed, with aromas as they come, all a little high-toned, of crushed hazelnut, roasted hazelnut, subdued roasted almond, hints of dried citrus peel and flor, hint of more high-toned orange marmalade, a raisiny edge, hint of caramel-toffee.
Palate: dry, medium acidity, fortified medium, medium (+) body, pronounced intensity, a moderate grip, with flavours of crushed hazelnuts, roasted hazelnuts, touch of walnuts, woodiness, hint of toffee. A medium-long length, with a clean nutty-dried citrus finish, with toffee hints at the end.
Quality: very good, perfectly balanced acidity with alcohol, in harmony with the whole; showing decent fully developed complexity and flavour intensity, lesser concentration, following into a medium-long length.
Readiness for drinking/ageing potential: drink now, unsuited to further aging as it is fully developed already, but this style and quality will keep for 2-3 years.