Sherry heaven: the 2023 release 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.

Lustau En Rama 2023 releases

This is a trio of wines from Lustau, all drawn from the cask and bottled with no additional treatment. These are all beautiful wines, showing personality and character as well as massive drinkability. I liked them all, but the El Puerto and Sanlúcar bottles had an edge over the Jerez.

Lustau Sanlúcar Saca Manzanilla En Rama NV
15% alcohol. Complex aromas of pastry, lemons, apples and some sea spray. There’s some dried citrus and a slight hint of raisin. In the mouth this is rich but dry with some peach, apple and spice, as well as a crystalline citrus quality and a hint of green olive and salt. Long and complex, with a beautifully focused, tapering finish. Lots of power and detail here, finishing fresh and bright. 95/100

Lustau De Jerez Saca Fino En Rama NV
15% alcohol. Lovely aromatics: spicy, slightly smoky and mineral with taut citrus fruit, and a touch of green apple. In the mouth, this is fresh, salty and tangy with a twist of orange peel, some brined olives and crystalline citrus. It’s less weighty and rich than the Manzanilla, with a hint of reduction adding interest. Bright and linear. 94/100

Lustau El Puerto Saca Fino En Rama NV
15% alcohol. Beautifully poised aromatics here with real finesse: green apple, lemon, honey and sea spray. In the mouth this has a lovely cheesy, salty tang from healthy flor growth, with bright citrus fruit and a sense of precision. It’s really lovely with a slightly nervous quality on the long finish that’s really appealing. 95/100

Notes on the 2022 releases:

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

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