“I Think” Manzanilla is a limited production, very fresh and complex, golden pale dry white, and a singular example of one of wine’s most distinctive and greatest regions, Sherry (DOCs Jerez-Xérès-Sherry and Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda). It was carefully selected for bottling by Equipo Navazos, the team that produces the very highly praised and beloved series of single lot Sherry rarities known as La Bota, along with some other tiny special releases.
For “I Think” Equipo Navazos was able to identify a small number of exceptional barrels that fit somewhere between larger run commercial production Manazanillas and the aged eccentricity of La Bota. These barrels offered both “en rama” (raw from the barrel) freshness and vigor and when blended seamless complexity, balance and length on the palate. This barrel selection became “I Think”, and is now drawn ( a “saca” in Sherry terms) from barrel periodically, and continues to evolve beautifully in the bottle, when well stored.
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Equipo Navazos “I Think” Continued
Wine has been made in the Jerez area of Andalusia for millennia, and sweet versions of what we today call Sherry since Shakespeare’s time. Sherry “Sac” as it was rhapsodized over by Shakespeare’s Falstaff. The dry “modern” styles that we know today from Sherry’s great houses, as celebrated in Edgar Allen Poe’s “A Cask of Amontillado,” date back to the 18th and 19th centuries–some houses running continuously in some form since the 1700s. So the heritage and evolution of winemaking skill to bring you I Think literally goes back centuries.
Equipo Navazos (Team Navazos in English) began as a way for a small circle of impassioned Sherry lovers to bottle and privately distribute among themselves some amazing casks of Sherry that they discovered languishing untapped for 20+ years in an antique Sherry winery. The casks, of Amontillado by the way, did not fit in the winery’s commercial line-up and were too few to be launched as a brand in their own right. And so began the La Bota series of rare Sherries, which eventually received highly limited commercial distribution in the US and elsewhere, and ringing praise from top critics around the world.
The first editions were put together with the support of 30 or so private “partners,” mostly friends from the wine world: oenologists, wine writers, distributors, sommeliers, as well as deeply knowledgeable aficionados.
María Alvarez, co-founder of Spanish-Wine-Exclusives, and her husband (well, especially her husband) were among the original supporters of Equipo Navazos. Being lucky enough to follow Equipo Navazos from early on, Spanish-Wine-Exclusives from its inception has always hoped to one day work with Equipo Navazos. So we are extremely proud to offer “I Think” Manzanilla.
The “I Think” project began in 2010 at the behest of a British wine merchant that loved the La Bota wines, but was in search of a special Sherry for his customers with a different profile. Rather than the typically more mature, profoundly complex, challenging and more expensive La Bota series of Manzanillas and Finos, he sought something with a younger and fresher character that reflected the vibrancy of Sherry as tasted in barrel samples in Sherry country. Something close to Sherry in its raw state, known as “En Rama” in the Sherry world.
Equipo Navazos was able to identify some very special barrels that fit somewhere between larger run commercial production Manazanillas and the aged eccentricity of La Bota. These barrels offered both en rama freshness and vigor but also singular complexity. They became “I Think”, and were drawn (“saca” in Sherry terms) from barrel in October of 2010.
With the outstanding quality and a success of the first and second sacas, a third limited run was created and that is the “I Think” Manzanilla En Rama February 2013 saca we offer today. It was bottled after only the slightest filtration process, and retains the intense golden color and striking character it exhibits straight from the butts where it ages under flor for approximately four and a half years.
The name “I Think” is an homage to Charles Darwin as a symbol of the triumph of reason. It raises the question of what is true and untamed Manzanilla. In this case it is, we think. While the “in the raw” nature of I Think is part of its intrinsic appeal, it will mature slowly like other fine wines when properly stored (in cool temperature controlled conditions), trading part of its freshness for elegant complexity; and evolve more toward the character of its La Bota brethren.