Refreshing minerality from the magical chalky soils of Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Straw yellow in colour, with a slightly fino-like nose with bready, mineral notes. Fresh and easy to drink, with an addictive, slightly salty punch at the end, this is a wonderful introduction to the still white wines of Jerez and a great wine to enjoy every day with friends.
On its own, White fish, Shellfish, Olives
More about OVNI
Who makes it
Equipo Navazos was born out of a shared passion for the fortified wines of Andalucia. Back in 2005 Eduardo Ojeda and Jesús Barquín, aware of some of the treasures that lay in the dark in the bodegas of the Marco de Jerez and Montilla-Moriles, decided to do something about it. They began to travel around from bodega to bodega, carefully selecting soleras and individual barrels and bottling limited editions of different wines for friends and family.
Gradually the number of bottles grew, although, with numbers around a few hundred or the low thousands, it remained very much an artisanal project. The two friends began to become more and more involved in the winemaking process right back to the vineyard itself, and collaborations with growers led to the launch of specific brands of their own. The quality of the Equipo Navazos catalogue is thanks to the century-old efforts of some of Andalucía’s best-known growers and cellar masters – names like Valdespino, Pérez Barquero, Rey Fernando de Castilla, Sánchez Ayala or Marqués del Real Tesoro to name just a few.
The OVNI Project is a continuation of that collaborative approach. A selection of still wines made with the Palomino Fino and Pedro Ximénez grapes in Jerez and Montilla-Moriles with no biological ageing under flor to help showcase the full potential of the grape and its terruño.
About the grapes
Palomino Fino – often just referred to as Palomino - is a white grape variety which originated in Andalucía and is most closely associated with Jerez where it covers about 95% of the total vineyard area and is the key grape used to make a whole range of wines, mainly fortified but some still wines too. In the Canary Islands it is known as Listán Blanco.
Palomino tends to give quite high yields, with clusters of medium-sized grapes with quite thin skins, which can make it vulnerable to fungal diseases like mildew or botrytis. It is very resistant to high temperatures and drought, hence you’ll tend to find it in dry, warm climates. Palomino grapes are quite low in acidity and sugar and wines can have a tendency to oxidise (ie spoil on contact with air), which is not a problem for sherry producers but makes producing quality table wine more of a challenge.
Still, dry wines made with Palomino tend to be quite light and balanced. The variety really comes into its own when it’s subjected to crianza biológica, or biological ageing in botas or butts under a veil of the famous flor, the white film of yeast cells native to the region of Jerez which float on the surface of the wine. The flor stops air getting to the Palomino wine and encourages a bewildering array of delicious aromas and flavours to develop. These vary depending on the wine style (Fino, Manzanilla, Oloroso, Palo Cortado etc) but can cover everything from saline and nutty notes, fresh dough, almonds, spice, leather, orange zest, dried fruits or tobacco.
Where it's made
Jerez, or the Marco de Jerez as you’ll sometimes see it referred to, is the triangle of territory between the towns of Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda in the province of Cádiz in Andalucía in southern Spain. The area is best known, of course, for its various styles of fortified wines which are bottled under two DOs: Jerez-Xérès-Sherry and Manzanilla - Sanlúcar de Barrameda. But the area also produces still (ie non-fortified) wines too, usually from the ubiquitous Palomino Fino grape, and many of these are bottled under the Vino de la Tierra de Cádiz label, not a Denominación de Origen as such, but part of the broader IGP or Indicación Geográfica Protegida category.
Jerez is famous for its white albariza soils which are rich in calcium carbonate, clay and silica and with subsoils which are good at retaining water. The 7,000 hectares or so of vineyards are divided up into various pagos – extensions of land which contain various vineyards. Some of the pagos have a long history and variations in micro-climate and soil composition means their names have become synonymous with different wine styles and profiles: look out for names like Macharnudo, Macharnudo Alto, Miraflores, Balbaína, Carrascal or El Hornillo for example.
The climate in Jerez is warm, with hot, dry summers and gentle winters with, surprisingly perhaps, quite a high rainfall. The proximity of the Atlantic and the breezes in the region help keep the climate humid. This, coupled with the design of the bodegas where the wines are aged – high ceilings, east-west orientation – creates a unique set of conditions which help make the wines of Jerez so special and unique.
How it's made
OVNI is a still white wine made from old vine Palomino Fino grown in the coastal pago of Miraflores la Baja in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. The wine ferments at a controlled temperature in stainless steel tanks and then remains in the tank for a short period. This helps ensure that the wine does not develop any flor and enhances all the minerality of its terruño.