Luis Gutierrez – Robert Parker (Spain)

Tasting notes published on (August 2022)

After three years absent, the critic for Spain of The Wine Advocate, Luis Gutiérrez returned to Andalusia and the Marco del Jerez in june 2022. He was able to taste two vintages: 2018 and 2019. Both have obtained very good scores. He has highlighted Lumière 2018 with 95 points, placing it as the best rated dry white wine in the area, where the highest scores have been reserved for fortified wines. Lumière 2019 also stood out with 93 points, Elixir 2018 with 93 points and Etoile 2018 with 93 Parker points.

Here we share with you some of the tastings:

Lumière 2018

LUMIÈRE 2018 (95 points): I love the finesse and elegance of the 2018 Lumière, a subtle Palomino from old vines in the La Platera Vineyard in Miraflores Baja. The wine is from a cold and wet year and achieved 12.5% alcohol and has mellow acidity, but it feels very balanced and complete, with more depth, more nuance (aromas and flavors), perhaps through a more thorough ripening of the grapes. It fermented and matured with lees for 11 months in four-year-old Bordeaux barrels. 4,800 bottles produced. It was bottled in July 2019.

Élixir 2018

ELIXIR 2018 (93 points): If there’s one wine that is different in the portfolio, that’s the 2018 Elixir, which was produced with a blend of Moscatel and Palomino, and Moscatel tends to mark the wines in a strong way, especially aromatically, with notes of orange blossom and orange peel interwoven with subtle notes of cloves and herbs from the Palomino. This was bottled at 12.8% alcohol, and the wine is quite fresh and vibrant and even shows some citrus notes in the palate. It was vinified in Bordeaux barrels from 2013, so very neutral. 4,100 bottles were filled in July 2019.

Univers 2018

UNIVERS 2018 (92 points): I found finesse and precision in the 2018 Univers, which is only 11.5% alcohol and has more freshness and acidity, a paler color and a sharper profile in general. 2018 was a rainy and cold year, even if the summer also had warm winds (poniente) that always mark the year. The wine is varietal and spicy, but the spiciness is softened by some floral and even citrus notes. 4,100 bottles were filled in July 2019. In general, I preferred the 2018s to the 2019s.

Ètoile 2018

ÈTOILE 2018 (93 points): Even if the nose was quite similar in the Palomino wines (the Moscatel is always another story), the finesse and nuance of the 2018 Ètoile was quite noticeable in the palate, where the energy I found must be the combination of the albariza de lentejuelas soils and the depth of the old vines in the Pago Miraflores Alta, where a soft slope produces wines that are subtle and elegant. It fermented and matured in oak barrels, without the influence of the Sherry barrels, rather than in the Sherry butts where the 2017 had fermented and matured in oak cask. This is a more powerful version of Lumiere. This has 11% alcohol and a pH of 3.31 with 5.71 grams of acidity. Only 720 bottles were produced. It was bottled in July 2019.

Lumière 2019

LUMIÈRE 2019 (93 points): There’s more ripeness and volume in the 2019 Lumière, and compared with the 2018 that I tasted next to it, the wine suffered in comparison. 2019 was a year of concentration and high ripeness, and the wine achieved 13.5% alcohol (a full 1% more than the 2018), while it also has a lower pH and higher acidity, so the wine still comes through as balanced, but the point of balance is different. All the Palomino wines have certain varietal character, which seems stronger in the 2019s. Or to put it differently, the 2018s were more transparent with the soils; the soils came through more clearly. 3,720 bottles were filled in July 2020.

Élixir 2019

ELIXIR 2019 (92 points): The 2019 Elixir is 100% Moscatel from Chipiona (because 2019 was a very low-yielding year and they didn’t have enough Palomino). The wine achieved much higher ripeness (14% vs 12.8% in the 2018), and it feels heavier and flatter in the palate. It’s all relative, because I was tasting it next to the 2018, which is a lot fresher and more vibrant. The 2019 is also darker and a little duller in color. 1,500 bottles were filled in July 2020.

Univers 2019

UNIVERS 2019 (91 points): The white 2019 Univers, a pure Palomino from 25-year-old vines, fermented in stainless steel, and they don’t use Sherry butts (botas) or flor, trying to show naked wines from the variety and the soils. This is quite varietal, trying to achieve precision, finesse and cleanliness with little intervention and low sulfur, and perhaps it’s more difficult in riper years. This still has a moderate 12.5% alcohol despite the year being very dry and the summer marked by the warm Levante winds, and the wine has a soft palate with volume and a sleek texture. I think this is the more varietal of the wines (save for the Moscatel one!) with intense spiciness in the shape of cloves and cumin. It matured for 11 months with lees. 4,160 bottles were filled in July 2020.