The Equipo Navazos project was started by a group of Spanish Sherry lovers led by wine writer and Sherry guru Jesús Barquín, regular contributor to World of Fine Wine and Professor of Criminology at the University of Granada. These “Sherryphiles” were aware, through their own extensive tastings, of a treasure trove of brilliant Sherries that were sitting, unbottled, in the bodegas of Jerez, Sanlucar and Montilla. Bodegas often have butts or casks (bota) of Sherry whose small volume makes it commercially unviable to bottle separately. The concept behind Equipo Navazos (Team Navazos) was to select specific bota of such wines for individual bottling, unfiltered or lightly filtered (Sherry is typically put through a very firm filtration). The wines were selected for their quality and for their distinct personalities, which would have been a shame to lose in a large blend. Initially these bottlings were intended only for a select group of friends and professionals. Yet the response was so enthusiastic that it became very clear to those behind Equipo Navazos that something important could come of this idea; namely that the opportunity existed to remind the world of just how great Sherry could be. To this end the project was expanded to allow for a small ‘commercial’ release of certain wines to a handful of international markets. After three years, Australia started to get a tiny allocation.
The Navazos Sherries are drawn from several bodegas, and represent a variety of styles: Manzanilla, Fino, Palo Cortado, Oloroso, Pedro Ximénez, Cream and even a brandy. The wines are bottled in limited series, in successive numbered editions, dated and named “La Bota de….” (the cask of…). The date of each saca, or racking, has been precisely stated on the label so that it is possible to compare editions of the same solera. This also enables precise tracking of the evolution of the wines, as these wines are expected to evolve in the bottle (it’s Sherry, but not as we know it). These are once off bottlings and once the bottles for each La Bota… release are spoken for, there are no more.
HUON HOOKE - THE REAL REVIEW
(500ml) Medium to deep amber colour. Superb complexity of bouquet, tremendously intense and powerful, savoury, old leather amchairs. Superb. This is lighter than the Lustau Pata de Gallina and the flor character is still perceptible. The price makes the Lustau look great value.
LUIS GUTIERREZ - WINE ADVOCATE
The older of the two Palo Cortados I tasted in this sitting was the NV La Bota de Palo Cortado 72 "Pata de Gallina," bottled at an average age of 35 years (it would qualify for a VORS if they wanted) and of Jerez origin. It was sourced from the Almacenista Juan García Jarana and then matured in the Fernando de Castilla winery. It spent some 30 years in a solera of casks filled to 5/6 of their volume and the last five years untouched in six 500-liter butts that belong to Equipo Navazos in the cellars of Fernando de Castilla. It's powerful and elegant, with the oxidative style more present. This is surprisingly elegant, with lots of finesse, nuances and character and a very long, tasty finish. Number 34 was an earlier edition of this same wine. 2,000 half-liter bottles in were filled in January 2017.