Sherry heaven: the 2022 bottlings of Lustau’s 3 en rama
Website: Lustau 3 en rama
En Rama sherry – bottled straight from the casks, raw and unfiltered, have become a thing over the last few years. Here I tried three examples from Lustau, who are unique in releasing three different bottlings of these biologically aged sherries, one from each of the three towns in the sherry triangle.
They are released in April each year, cellar master Sergio Martínez selects the best casks of biologically aged sherries and bottles them unfiltered. April is when the flor is at its thickest, following optimal growing. It’s worth noting that these Sherries are classified by the town they are matured in, and not where the vineyards are located. The bodega is the second terroir! So you could have two Sherries from the same vineyard, but one is a Fino de Jerez and the other is a Manzanilla.
Fino de Jerez En Rama, 2022 bottling
Jerez de la Frontera is further from the sea. Less humid conditions result in a thinner flor layer, and the result is often richer styles of fino that are less saline and more nutty. This one? It has lovely refined aromatics of smoke, nuts, green apples and wood spice, leading to a palate that’s vivid and intense. Beautiful balance here between the richer pear, peach and nut notes and the fresh, saline, spice savouriness. Complete, with just a hint of mineral reduction adding flinty interest on the finish. A lovely wine. 95/100
Fino del Puerto En Rama, 2022 bottling
El Puerto de Santa Maria is in the bay of Cádiz, and has a mild climate year round. This is a remarkable Sherry, with profound aromatics of matchstick/mineral reduction combined with taut citrus fruit. It’s brisk and has a seaside-like quality, but the reduction is pronounced and quite beguiling. The palate has vivid, saline citrus character and also a bit of appley depth, but it’s that beautiful mineral reduction that frames this wine so beautifully. Obviously a brilliant cask, and so good to see this bottled separately. Coche Sherry. 97/100
Manzanilla de Sanlúcar En Rama, 2022 bottling
Manzanilla is a Fino aged in the coastal town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, located on the estuary of the Guadalquivir River. Breezes from the Atlantic keep conditions humid, ideal for thick flor development. This has a complex, saline nose with some orange rind, lime peel and green apple. The palate shows good concentration with some oiliness sitting under the vibrant, tangy citrus fruit, with a complex savoury, saline finish. There’s a fresh, bracing character but also some innate richness. Very fine, although theoretically I might expect this to be fresher and more vital. 94/100
UK agent: Bancroft Wine
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com