Tuesday, 17 January 2017

17.1.17 Jerez Feria del Caballo 2017

The city Council has just announced that the dates for the Feria 2017 will be 13-20 May and it will be based as usual at the Parque González Hontoria. Like last year the dates run from Saturday to Saturday as this works better for those involved. Officially known as the Feria del Caballo, this year's event is dedicated to the honour of Lola Flores, the Jerezana who became an international star with her singing, dancing and acting and who died in 1995. The lovely new poster by Sergio Martinez Cabeza was presented at a press conference at the city chambers.

Monday, 16 January 2017

16.1.17 The Resurgence of Cayetano del Pino

This small and well respected bodega established in 1886 has a long and rather varied history. It was founded by Cayetano del Pino Vázquez and before too long grew to be one of the greats of Jerez, but a bad partner and bad advice following the premature death of the founder’s son cut short the success of this family business, and its founder’s dream, nearly finishing it off. After many decades in the shadows as an almacenista, getting by on infrequent sales of old wines and the occasional solera to other bodegas –albeit at a decent price – and what little can be earned from bulk sales, the del Pino family is back on the scene with renewed hopes and its own brands.


The bodega is owned in equal parts by the four grandchildren of the founder, though it is their children, Gerardo, Enrique, Santiago and María Teresa del Pino and JoséLuis Otte, the fourth generation of the family, who are running it – though they have other jobs. Cayetano del Pino does not produce Finos or Olorosos. In the bodega in Plaza Silos, which was bought from Pedro Domecq over thirty years ago, there is only room for the ageing of Amontillados and Palos Cortados. They are distributed roughly 50/50 among just over 1,000 butts including ten exceptional butts of Palo Cortado which have been kept separately for over twenty years for consumption by the family which has now decided they should be shared.

The “Palo Cortado 1/10”, which has only been topped up as necessary to replace evaporation over the last fifteen years - the time needed by the family to balance its stocks - will soon be put on the market. Sales have been put exclusively in the hands of Jaime Carvajal, a wine professional with many years of experience, who works with bodegas in the area to produce and launch new wines. For Carvajal, this agreement is a “gift from the Gods”; the aperitif for what he hopes will be a long and prosperous relationship, and which will help to re-launch a bodega whose prestigious wine is sold to Lustau for their Almacenista range under its own name.


Gerardo del Pino who runs the bodega, explains that the new wine will be available in limited quantities from a single annual saca which will produce 2,000 half litre bottles, a new format which the bodega is adopting for all its wines including another exceptional Palo Cortado, the 1/5, bottled at upwards of 35 years old. The selection for the 1/5 was done from butts in the old bodega Santa Ana on the Arcos road, where the wine was fermented in butt, the old fashioned way. The 1/10, on the other hand, was selected in the bodega at Plaza Silos and is ready to get cracking in the marketplace.

The presentation of the new wine, which will retail at around 40 euros, harks back to the firm’s old labels, of which there have been some 600 over the years, surely the highest number in Jerez, and some of the most beautiful. The large new label represents a harvest girl with a basket of newly-picked grapes on her shoulder, and the cork and capsule are of the highest quality. The founder’s great grandchildren believe that the renewed interest in Sherry is not a passing phase. They believe it has come to stay and this interest lies in the top end wines which are exactly what they provide.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

15.1.17 Sherry Making Headway Again in UK Sales; Prize for Tio Pepe En Rama

Sales of Sherry continue to lose volume but these losses are concentrated in the cheap own label or BOB (buyer’s own brand) markets, particularly supermarket chains in Holland and Germany. The majority of bodegas ceased supplying these wines some time ago. On the other hand the superior quality more expensive wines continue to grow and are slowly bringing the DO towards decent profit margins.

The Consejo’s figures for wines leaving the bodegas up to the end of November show sales of 31 million litres which represent an annual drop of 4.8%, but that comes down to 34.3 million litres or 4.5% over the last twelve months. It is not all bad however; along with the rise in sales value the other good news is that Sherry sales in the UK have fallen by only 0.34% or barely 0.5% for the twelve months, putting a virtual end years of decline in Sherry’s biggest export market and the second biggest after Spain itself.

Figures from the Spanish institute for foreign commerce (ICEX) confirm the improvement in the UK market showing that while volumes have fallen in recent years they have been cancelled out by a rise in value per litre sold and thus in quality. Sherry continues to be the UK’s leading fortified wine and despite a fall in sales to supermarkets, there has been a rise of 7% in volume and 9% in value in bars, restaurant and wine shops. This implies an improvement in Sherry’s image among younger consumers; exactly what the bodegas and the Consejo have long been hoping for.

According to ICEX figures, UK imports of bottled Sherry in 2015 came to 6.3 million litres with a value of £18.6 million (21.2 million € at today’s rates). The previous year imports were 6.6 million litres and the value was the same, meaning that the average price for a litre has increased by 4.6% or from £2.82 to £2.95. According to the Consejo, the UK is the only export market showing improvement. In the period January to November exports fell by 8.75% with a volume of about 20.2 million litres, but for the twelve months of 2016 they fell by 7.75% with a volume of 22.4 million litres.

With the exception of the UK, traditional European markets have seen Sherry sales fall by some 15%, so despite the improvement in the UK, the average for 2016 comes to about 7.2% or 20.3 million litres. The American market is importing around 1.7 million litres of which 1.25 million litres go to the USA after a recent fall of 13%. In Asia sales have dropped nearly 9% or 256,309 litres over the twelve months, however the Spanish market, now the largest, has grown by 3.65% or 10.7 million litres to November, or 2.3% with 11.9 million litres for the twelve months.

Good New Year news for González Byass: The Spanish association of journalists and wine writers (AEPEV) has announced its awards and picked Tio Pepe en rama as the best Sherry. The 1,055 wines and spirits submitted to the annual competition were whittled down to 143 and 41 respectively. AEPEV counts on much expertise and its aim is to promote wine, especially Spanish wine, at home and abroad. Meanwhile the bodega is hosting the X Pasarela Flamenca, a fashion show for designer flamenco clothes, starting on the 9th February. Thirty designers will be there along with top model Alba Carrillo, singer Juan Peña and bullfighter Juan José Padilla.


Saturday, 14 January 2017

Alba Sobretablas 2013 11.2%, Alba Viticultores

Bright brassy gold with golden highlights, very light legs.
Fresh, zesty and slightly grassy with lots of fruity apple and grape aromas and a slight mineral edge. It smells very Palomino with background notes of wild herb strewn grassland and fresh air with character and generosity.
A tangy freshness leads in to an only just ripe fruitiness with those apple notes and a mineral backbone. Very clean, natural and refreshing with a slightly wild, zippy character.
Made from 100% Palomino from selected vineyards around the pagos Mahina and Miraflores in Sanlúcar. It was fermented in stainless steel tank and left on its lees till February before being racked into two 32 arroba butts which had previously contained Manzanilla for 50 years. Here the wine aged for 7 months. The butts were filled completely ("a tocadedos") to avoid the development of flor as they want the wine to express the vineyard character. The contents of each butt were bottled separately in August 2014 without any added sulphur and minimal filtration. Interestingly butt number 2 developed a little flor and so the two wines had clear differences. This was from butt number 1.
14 euros from Er Guerrita

Friday, 13 January 2017

13.1.17 Jerez Events Calendar 2017

Jerez city council has released the 2017 calendar for official events. The mayor says they have tried to make tourism less seasonal as Jerez has all the resources for a wonderful tourist destination at any time of year, especially Flamenco, wine tourism, horses and gastronomy. Throughout most of the year there will be a Lola Flores theme culminating in an exhibition of her life. Lola was a great singer, dancer and actress, of whom her home town of Jerez, is very proud. There has been some controversy about the image on the Events Calendar poster which shows Cartujano horses on a beach, something Jerez does not have. There is no shortage of images of Jerez which could have been used instead, and people are remembering with amusement the “beach” the previous mayor wanted to install at the feria ground.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

12.1.17 Sherry and Champagne to be Twinned

Jerez and the Champagne capital Reims have a great deal in common, most especially their historic and world famous wines. It is not surprising therefore that these two important wine capitals have set out on the road to twinning with academic cooperation in viticultural research as the main topic of a visit by a delegation from the Institut Georges Chappaz for wine and vine research which is linked to Reims University.

Cesar Saldana greets Reims delegation at Consejo (foto:diariodejerez)

This will be the twelfth time Jerez has been twinned with another city but the respective city councils have yet to make a date to complete the process which this time is starting with the building of institutional relations in a series of meetings to promote the exchange of ideas and collaboration agreements. The French delegation wants to start with getting to know Cádiz University and the Consejo Regulador with whom they had a meeting yesterday at which César Saldaña gave them an introductory  talk on the history and production of Sherry. They then paid a visit to the bodegas of González Byass. Tomorrow they will attend an official reception offered by the mayor, Mamen Sánchez, before taking a stroll round the historic heart of Jerez, finishing with an evening of Flamenco.

On Friday the delegation will meet academics of Cádiz University to learn about the work of the Andalusian Centre for Vitivinicultural Research and to develop exchanges between students and professors of oenology as well as philosophy and letters. It is hoped that cooperation between the Reims and Jerez institutions can help in the search for solutions to some of the problems which confront the wine trade such as vine diseases and climate change. The experience of two very different wine regions could reach some interesting conclusions. Wine tourism is also on the agenda.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Manzanilla 15%, Sánchez Romate

Pale strawy gold, light legs.
Lots of salinity and a real maritime air, this could only come from Sanlúcar. While it still shows some signs of youth, that slight fruitiness balances nicely with a hint of flor bitterness and wild herbs giving the wine a bit of character.
Light in feel but plenty of up front flor rather than acidity, though there is a touch, and a trace of that Manzanilla wildness, clean, dry and salty with a decent clean finish.
Sánchez Romate offer two Manzanillas, the up-market one, Viva la Pepa, and this more everyday yet very good version, aged for over three years. Being based in Jerez, Romate buy the wine in from an almacenista in Sanlúcar, as is the practice.
5.00 euros from Licores Corredera