Barrialto Azacanes Coleccion Limitada Y Exclusiva 2019, Andalucia, Spain

Rafael Rodriguez, with his Barrialto micro-winery in a converted historic tavern in Sanlucar’s Barrio Alto sub-zone, represents an exciting and important evolution for unfortified white wines from Sherry country in Andalucia. The most groundbreaking aspect of the vision for Barrialto is his dedication to exploring and exalting the region’s historic terroir through his organically-farmed vineyards. Rafael Rodr√≠guez is a genuine Mayetero, a local term for a viticulturist who makes his own wines by hand. Barrialto produces natural, artisanal white wines from old-vine palomino grapes without fortification, starting with excellent work in the vineyard. Barrialto Azacanes is a very small production (one barrel), skin-contact orange wine made from bush-trained palomino grapes grown in Pago Maina, near Sanlucar, with albariza barajuela soil. Rafa says that the albariza barajuela lends a dry minerality and herbal salinity. Azacanes is bottled from a single ex-Manzanilla 1000L butt. Rafa does not use excessive punch-downs; rather, he allows the palomino grape skins to rest gently on the wine, lending a radiant copper hue imbued with elegance and balance. Vinification: Hand-harvested palomino grapes are destemmed, crushed, and placed into stainless steel tanks where the juice is left to macerate and spontaneously ferment with native yeasts on the skins for four months with very minimal punch-downs. After fermentation and four months of skin contact, the grapes are pressed, and the wine is transferred to rest in a 1000L ex-Manzanilla (Gaspar Florido) cask for 18 months. The wine does not undergo malolactic fermentation. It is then transferred to a stainless steel tank and lightly fined with bentonite and paper filtration for a further six months to rest before bottling.