Scott Wasley Selections

Marco de Jerez

TSA 20th anniversary 'Azahar' Manzanilla Vieja en rama


"‘Azahar’ is bottled to celebrate the 20th anniversary of TSA. It’s released exactly 20 years since my first research trip to Spain and Portugal in September 2000, and celebrates the 20th anniversary of my first visit to el Marco de Jerez." - Scott Wasley

‘Azahar’ is a mature Manzanilla with a brief secondary, oxidative ageing. Scott swiped this wine from a new criadera of botas which were removed from the Callejuela Manzanilla solera in 2018 and set to age unprotected as a new feeder base: it’s a Manzanilla Pasada’s version of sobretablas. ‘Azahar’ snapshots a fleeting, unrepeatable moment of loveliness in the evolution of this wine, in between being one thing and becoming another.

The brief post-Manzanilla ageing simply adds a line to the makeup of the Manzanilla. The wine still rings clearly of the fresh pollen-hay-surf roll-and-glide of a Manzanilla en rama. But now it’s underscored by a wedding-ring-width line of golden praline which etches, lines and orders the wine, strikes its form, after the manner of a margarita’s lime-salt riming. This does not (yet) affect the basic flavour of the Manzanilla. It’s no longer (quite) Manzanilla; but nor is it yet (not quite) Manzanilla Pasada. It’s simply ‘Azahar’.

Camomile lawn, orange blossom (Azahar), melon tendrils, sea-spray, densely spongy honey-lemon tea cake. Full and rich in the mouth, excellent abstract line. Extra ageing doesn’t necessarily mean development and body, though: it’s actually sleeker, with a better defined linear aspect, more nimble with sense of movement.

The abstract threads which contribute line and freshness (including acid and diatomaceous minerals, that algal herb aspect) develop and work together. Chalk, mineral, flor, acid, aldehyde and a brassy textural weight (the looming pasada character) are six fibres lightly spliced together, and work beautifully through the dense sponge, earthen richness.

The pasada character appears as a line of burnished bronze, a metallic thread wound gently with the other elements and functions as an edging shadow, sliding through the wine, aligning the round Callejuela style. Magically, it rings pure Palma with a twist.