2017 Bodegas Forlong Blanco 'Amigo Imaginario' Orange
Region: Cadiz < Puerto < Spain
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic/biodynamic farming; 40-50 year old vines in high elevation albariza soil vineyards using biodiverse cover crops, pruning as fertilizer; crushed and fermented with skins for 25 days then aged in Oloroso casks for 10 months then another 4 months in bottle; unfined/unfiltered with zero added SO2; 12.5% ABV
Winemakers: Alejandro Narváez, Rocío Áspera
Started by two young entrepreneurs with a passion for wine, Alejandro Narváez and Rocío Áspera began Bodegas Forlong in 2009, with a very clear focus on quality, not quantity. They’re the only certified organic vineyard and wine producer in the region of El Puerto de Santa Maria.
They make unfortified wines from Sherry grapes, and this is their experimental skin-macerated white, made in the style of a red with a long skin-maceration, making this an orange wine. It gets even crazier with the aging in Oloroso sherry casks, which are sealed up to prevent the flor from forming. (Flor is the veil of indigenous yeast cells that forms on top of sherry and protects the wine from air contact.) They call this wine 'imaginary friend' because it's something that doesn't really exist in these parts: unfortified wine done in an Oloroso sherry barrel, and white grapes made in the style of red.
This deep orange wine is fragrant and round, with a crisp minerality, palpable saltiness, and intense Sherry notes (because it is made from the main Sherry grape and aged in the same casks). You get the savory, salty, figgy nuttiness, along with bitter orange and savory herbs, without the extra alcohol (because Sherry is fortified). Makes an incredible aperitif, chilled with a bowl of salty, oily Marcona almonds - the most insane pairing!