Aponiente: Mind Reading and Mind-Blowing
Rarely has a meal had such a lasting impact on me. And it’s perhaps for this reason that I’ve so struggled to capture a spectacular, and upon reflection a quite bibendous, recent evening in Aponiente in a blog post. I’d almost conceded defeat but just couldn’t let the opportunity pass without at least sharing a few words on the wines.
That seven of thirteen wines fell within the category sherry and manzanilla showcased the gastronomic potential of these world-class wines in their own right but, together with a sprinkling of relative oddities such as the unfortified Palomino, ‘Ice-cider’ and Tintilla de Rota, they took you on a journey. It’s easy to compare young fino with old amontillado and marvel at the effects of biological and oxidative ageing, but this route from bodegas a mere stone’s throw away in El Puerto de Santa María, to the Jura, Champagne and back offered so much more – an exploration of soil; of fortification; of flor; and of history.
Some restaurants deliver awe-inspiring food, others sheer contentment; Aponiente somehow managed to do both. With so many courses the constant flow of food and wine seemed almost relentless, but the relaxed and engaging style of service meant I never felt overwhelmed. Sure, it helped that these were dishes and wines that put a smile on my face – clever, thrilling and challenging in equal measure – but it was a feeling that prevailed from the moment I walked through the front door.
At one point in the evening I suddenly became more aware of the background music, as if someone had turned up the volume over my table. The song was instantly recognisable too because, although obscure (or so I thought), it was the last track I played on my iPhone as I walked to the restaurant. Had Aponiente now decided to read my mind? Surely not, I thought, blowing it was probably enough for them after all.
The Wines – October 18 2016
Manzanilla Papirusa – Lustau
Fino en rama – Gutiérrez Colosía
Cremant du Jura Reserve – Domaine des Marnes Blanches
Socaire – Primitivo Collantes & Ramiro Ibáñez
Fino Yodo – Lustau & Juan Ruiz Henestrosa
Alba Parcelario – Alba Viticultores
Resonance – Marie Courtin
Manzanilla Entusiástico – Delgado Zuleta
Amontillado VORS – Lustau
Palo Cortado – Juan Piñero
Sidra de Hielo – Valverán 20 Manzanas
Tintilla de Rota – Ferris
Pedro Ximénez – El Maestro Sierra