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Botani stopped me in my tracks the first time I tasted it, at the end of a long day's tasting in London last year. Some people contend that only full-bodied, powerful or concentrated wines stand out in big tastings or in competitions but this fine white is an irrefutable counter-example (pistols at dawn). It had shape and personality combined with great finesse and delicacy, which I found totally arresting and full of palate-refreshing, fragrant pleasure. Since then I have been waiting impatiently for the 2008 vintage to arrive in the UK, via importers Indigo Wine (email@example.com or tel 020 7733 8391). Please note that it is not yet available in the UK but is due to arrive within about 10 days. It is already widely available in the US, as you can see from www.wine-searcher.com.
Jorge Ordoñez & Co, Botani Moscatel Seco 2008 Sierras de Málaga is as delicious as the 2007 that won my heart. It is fragrant and delicately grapey with citrus and fine herbaceous notes and an unexpected mineral edge: delightfully aromatic but much more than that. On the palate, it is more mineral and less grapey but the mid palate is still finely scented and finishes fresh. Fine and lingering rather than deep. It makes a terrific summer aperitif, even though the 13.5% alcohol and the partial barrel fermentation (40%) gives it a certain weight in the mouth, and would also go well with delicately spiced dishes. Successful dry Muscats are few and far between but this is one of them.
These old-vine Muscat of Alexandria grapes are grown on the north-facing mountainous slopes of Almáchar, in the western part of the Axarquía (pictured here), just an hour's drive from Marbella and the golden mile. Although it is not obvious from the photo, the slopes are too steep for tractors and a mule is the transport of choice during harvest. The grapes are fermented 60% in stainless steel and 40% in oak but the oak adds texture rather than flavour.
The packaging is modern, distinctive and attractive, too, and the wine recently won the New Wave Spanish wine award for best modern design.
Jorge Ordoñez and Co was set up in Málaga in 2004 as a joint venture between Jorge Ordoñez, one of the most prominent importers of Spanish wine into the US, and the late Alois Kracher, whose son Gerhard succeeded him as technical director in 2008. Victoria Ordoñez (Jorge's sister) is in charge of the winery. All of their wines except Botani are elixirs of varying degrees of sweetness. (I reviewed a few of the them in Jancis's previous tasting article on Jorge Ordoñez' wider portfolio.)