Saturday, 21 October 2017

Rare Brandy de Jerez Solera Gran Reserva 42.5%, Valdespino

Appearance
Light amber with bright golden highlights.
Nose
Fragrant and fresh with a slightly crisp and incredibly subtle almost Cognac character but with more notes of very fine almost dusty oak like a cabinet maker's workshop . It smells quite light yet quite intense with a hint of dried fruits, perhaps apricots and dates, and gentle Sherry notes, but this is unlike many Brandies de Jerez which have heavier Oloroso and PX aromas. Instead it has the elegance and grace only possible with many long years of ageing.
Palate 
Light,crisp and very classy with notes of caramel, blonde tobacco and oak. Despite its age this brandy has comparatively little tannin - with just enough to  balance it nicely with a very gentle
sweetness giving it a drier, lighter feel than many. It is supremely elegant and lingers for ages on a very satisfied palate. A few drops of water can be helpful.
Comments  
This very special Brandy de Jerez comes from a small solera laid down by the Valdespino family in 1842. It was intended as private stock for consumption only by the family and their friends, but some years after the sale of the firm to Grupo Estevez the latter decided to create the top quality Valdespino Rare Spirits range which includes an old Blended Malt Whisky and an old Rum, both also from Valdespino family stocks. The range was launched onto the market for the first time in 2016. The Brandy has an average age of over 30 years and was aged in hundred year old American oak butts well seasoned with Valdespino Fino and Amontillado. Availability is limited and this first batch consisted of 3,000 bottles. If you see it, buy it.
Price
50 euros, Licoreria Latina


Friday, 20 October 2017

Oloroso 21.5%, Bodegas Fernández-Gao

Appearance
Bright antique mahogany with copper glints fading to a hint of green at the rim.
Nose
Refined and fragrant, open and forthcoming. This is a classic mature Oloroso nose with nutty notes of walnut and toasted almond, cinnamon, traces of oak and a hint of dried fruits including a trace of orange peel. Pure and fresh, lovely, it defines the meaning of Oloroso.
Palate
Full bodied and generous, almost powerful up front, then it opens out and offers up those lovely complex nutty notes with a good texture and very little tannin for its age. It is very dry but rounded off by some glycerine and balances perfectly, so the serious becomes charming. The flavour lingers for ages with a very clean finish.
Comments
This is an excellent Oloroso. It comes from the newest bodega in Jerez - or is it one of the oldest? The original firm, whose origins went back to 1750, was bought out in the 1960s by McKenzie and the soleras absorbed into theirs. So the wines now available from the re-established company are not the same, but they are every bit as good if not better. They come, mostly from old family soleras of the Sánchez Gago family who are behind the new bodega. Anyway this wine has an average age of over 20 years and justifiably scored 94 points from Wine Enthusiast.
Price
33.00 euros per 50 cl bottle ex bodega


Thursday, 19 October 2017

Manzanilla Arboledilla “Poniente” 15%, Barbadillo

Appearance
Brassy gold with golden highlights, a shade darker than Levante.
Nose
Slightly fuller, fatter than the Levante, it has the herbs but is slightly nuttier with the faintest trace of cinnamon and a hint more yeastiness yet less bitterness and it is also ever so slightly sweeter and rounder in style (though still bone dry) and slightly more mature and perhaps a touch more complex.
Palate
There is a certain generosity here, the wine is not quite as lean as Levante, its features are a little more integrated, less wild, but a little harder to pick out. Behind the slightly more "hecho" nature there is an attractive bitterness, a faint trace of fruit and perhaps less salinity. It is clean and very long.
Comments
Being the biggest firm in Sanlúcar offers Barbadillo a huge range of possibilities for interesting wines. This is a limited edition of two wines, just 600 bottles of each, from exactly the same bodega (the famous Arboledilla) and exactly the same solera (Solear) and with exactly the same age, and the only difference between them is that they come from butts at opposite ends of the bodega. A mere 200 metres apart, the wines show distinct differences. One comes from the Poniente (west) side of the bodega and the other comes from the Levante (east) side. Named after the trees planted on the east side of the bodega which protect it from the heat, La Arboledilla has virtually no windows on this side, while the west side has large ones which allow in cooler air. It is the largest bodega in Sanlúcar with a huge airspace allowing the huge number of butts in the nine-criadera solera to breathe. The wines were bottled in June 2017 en rama. It is envisaged that they will be released occasionally, when oenologist Montse Molina sees fit, and while they are lovely individually, it is wonderful and instructive to compare them. The bottles are sealed with a driven cork.
Price
12.50 euros, Licores Corredera




Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Manzanilla Arboledilla “Levante” 15%, Barbadillo

Appearance
Bright brass-tinged gold with golden highlights.
Nose
Very Manzanilla, very fresh with notable saline, almost lemon notes and hints of wild fresh herbs like camomile, yet light. The flor yeastiness is not over pronounced and there is a slight mosto character with a trace of apple/apricot fruit. It smells slightly younger than Solear, but is still very attractive.
Palate
Bone dry classic Manzanilla, it is very light and super fresh with plenty of those saline bitter flor and herb notes, and extremely elegant. There are few if any pasada notes, but it is very sophisticated and has great length. Lovely wine, and a bit more zippy than Poniente.
Comments
Being the biggest firm in Sanlúcar offers Barbadillo a huge range of possibilities for interesting wines. This is a limited edition of two wines, just 600 bottles of each, from exactly the same bodega (the famous Arboledilla) and exactly the same solera (Solear) and with exactly the same age, and the only difference between them is that they come from butts at opposite ends of the bodega. A mere 200 metres apart, the wines show distinct differences. One comes from the Poniente (west) side of the bodega and the other comes from the Levante (east) side. Named after the trees planted on the east side of the bodega which protect it from the heat, La Arboledilla has virtually no windows on this side, while the west side has large ones which allow in cooler air. It is the largest bodega in Sanlúcar with a huge airspace allowing the huge number of butts in the nine-criadera solera to breathe. The wines were bottled in June 2017 en rama. It is envisaged that they will be released occasionally, when oenologist Montse Molina sees fit, and while they are lovely individually, it is wonderful and instructive to compare them. The bottles are sealed with a driven cork.
Price
12.50 euros, Licores Corredera


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Fino Camborio en rama Magnum 15%, Bodegas Juan Piñero

Appearance
Gold with a faint brass tinge and bright golden highlights.
Nose
It has immediate appeal with considerable intensity and lots of lovely saline yeasty flor. It smells fairly concentrated and there are notes of straw, dried herbs, faint traces of oak and oxidation, blonde tobacco, almond and a hint of that aroma which can only be described as "bodega". 
Palate
The intensity continues on the palate; it is big with a delicious slightly almondy bitterness which substitutes for acidity and gives it perfect balance. It is bone dry and its 10 years or so of age and a  trace of cabezuela really show in its sheer sophistication, depth and length. This is a cracker.
Comments
This wine is superb. It is a saca from the best butt of twelve selected from the total of 300 in the Camborio solera which Juan Piñero keeps in a bodega in the Calle Francisco Javier in Jerez. The label charmingly calls it  "saca de floración" or late spring when the flor is at its best, or 27th May 2017 to be exact. Following the recent trend it is in a magnum and sealed with a driven cork and hand-dipped in wax. Wine ages better in magnum and the temptation is strong to lay it down for 2 or 3 years, but the temptation to drink it now was even stronger. This solera belonged originally to Fernando A de Terry who were taken over by Domecq and the solera languished till Juan Piñero bought it and got Ramiro Ibáñez to work his magic. This is a very limited edition unfortunately.
Price
39.85 euros, Licores Corredera


Monday, 16 October 2017

Sherry Harvest Summary 2017

It has been a year of record summer temperatures. The Spanish state meteorological service AEMET reported an average of 35.1° - 1.3° above average since records began at the airport in 1952. Rainfall was scarcer with 93 litres per square metre less than average, but this year it came at the right time. The 2016 harvest was blighted by mildew which appeared in the more coastal vineyards as a result of humidity caused by late rainfall when temperatures were already high, leading to a harvest 25% smaller than 2015. This year everything went perfectly and despite the heat the harvest was considerably larger, close to the average, with perfectly healthy grapes, nearly 50% of which were harvested mechanically.



It was one of the earliest harvests on record, beginning in the first week of August and mostly completed, except for the later-harvested Moscatel and PX, by the first week of September. The 29 lagares, or presshouses, of the area pressed a total of 74,969,993 kilos of grapes with an average sugar reading of 11.8° Beaumé. Approximately 2/3 of this came from the vineyards of Jerez where the average sugar reading was 11.87°. A total of 6,989 hectares are in production, 6,362 of which are in Jerez Superior. Since the regulations permit a maximum yield of 80 hectolitres per hectare, a small percentage of musts will be disqualified from DO Sherry for overproduction, but can of course be used for table wines or various other purposes.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Manzanilla Deliciosa en rama Spring 2017 15%, Valdespino

Appearance
Strawy gold with a hint of amber and bright gold highlights.
Nose
Serious nose; zippy, salty, maritime with notes of dried flowers, yeast, olive brine, traces of bitter almond, apple, butter and a light oxidative note. This is much more "hecho" (mature) than the standard Deliciosa and much more complex. Great start!
Palate
Very fresh, clean, mineral and saline with plenty of flor bitterness and moderate acidity. It is lively and tasty with an interesting mix of oxidative flavours and those from the cabezuela giving real depth, and of course length and a perfectly clean finish. Delicious.
Comments
Selected from the most interesting butts in the La Guita solera by oenologist Eduardo Ojeda at the Misericordia bodega in the Barrio Alto. There are 6 criaderas plus the solera. This delicious wine is approximately 6 to 7 years old. Grapes are 100% Miraflores.
Price
5.00 euros per half bottle, Licores Corredera






Saturday, 14 October 2017

Francisco Yuste: Manzanilla Needs to be Better Known Outside Spain

This interesting interview with Francisco Yuste by M Gutiérrez appeared in Wednesday’s Diario de Jerez. 

Where and when did the story of Bodegas Francisco Yuste begin?
I have always been attracted to the world of bodegas since I started working as a very young man with my father. My dream was to one day live in a bodega and I have been lucky enough over the years to be able to realise that dream. My passion for Sanlúcar and Manzanilla drove me to buy up wines from bodegas which were sadly disappearing and to recuperate the bodega buildings which were and still are Sanlúcar’s heritage. What began as a hobby is now a business for which I have high hopes; our wines have a great future.

Francisco Yuste with his beloved La Kika (foto:Fito carreto)

When did you start adding bodegas to your business portfolio?
Since I bought the first bodega in Sanlúcar in 1989 I haven’t stopped investing in recuperating the town’s bodega heritage, both in wine and in bodegas. The first was the bodega Santa Ana in the Barrio Bajo of Sanlúcar, where I now live with my family, after a refurbishment which took over two years. After that I bought the bodega Los Ángeles in the Barrio Alto and the bodega Miraflores which is close to the Pago which gives it its name. These bodegas are all dedicated to the production of Manzanilla. In Miraflores we also have a brandy bodega where we keep the treasures produced by the lost bodega Pedro Romero, Punto Azul Prestige and Heritage as well as the soleras of Pedro I and the Ponche and solera rum.

In the bodega Los Ángeles we nurture some of the oldest wines in the world; the soleras of the Conde de Aldama which date back to 1740, and in my house, the Bodega Santa Ana, we nurture one of the Manzanillas with the longest ageing under flor in Sanlúcar; Manzanilla La Kika, named in homage to my mother, and which has consistently been winning awards since its launch.

It is not all bodegas though; 20 years ago I bought the Viña Alamedilla, 46 hectares of vineyard in the Pago Carrascal near Jerez which I look after like a garden. The last important investment was the purchase of the historic Bodegas Herederos de Argüeso in 2016, with soleras like Manzanilla La E, probably the Manzanilla most widely consumed in Sanlúcar and which for the moment is only available on draught. And of course the iconic Manzanilla San León, which won the Manzanilla Trophy at the International Wine Challenge.



Which would you say is your star product, the one most popular with the public?
The star product is Manzanilla. It is a genuine Sanlúcar product and there are very few bodegas which manage to produce this wine under constant flor all year round. If I had to choose between our Manzanillas Señorita Irene, Aurora or La Kika, I would choose all three, but the wine which is the greatest treasure of those I have rescued over the years is the Amontillado Conde de Aldama, voted best Amontillado Sherry in 2017 and of great pride to us for its Sanlúcar origins. It is a wine averaging over a century of age and represents the maximum such a wine can achieve, and well worth tasting at least once in one’s life. Many people come and visit the bodega from all over the world, attracted by its perfume. There is definitely a before and after when tasting this wine which is derived from Manzanilla.

Which are the most important markets for Manzanilla in the world?
Europe, the United States and Japan are our principal customers, however we have a long way to go with exports. In Spain, sales of Manzanilla alone exceed all the styles produced in Jerez, but this national trend is not reflected in the export markets.

Manzanilla, which has had its own Denominación de Origen for over 50 years, needs specific promotion so that more people outside Spain get to know it, but it is the Consejo Regulador in Jerez which decides on promotional funding. Personally I can’t remember a single promotional campaign abroad specific to Manzanilla, and as we all know, if it is not promoted it just doesn’t exist.


Despite all this, Manzanilla sales continue to grow year on year even though Sherry sales are declining, and this is due to the enormous quality of the wines of Sanlúcar, where biological ageing began.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Bodegas: Hermanos Bernaldo de Quirós

Manuel Bernaldo de Quirós y Portilla (1788-1855) was a well-respected and wealthy man who was mayor of Cóbreces, Cantabria, no fewer than three times among many other local distinctions.  He owned a bodega with a chapel and vineyards in Jerez as well as other properties, both in Jerez and in Cantabria. He married Antonia Pomar y González in 1818 and they had nine children, all of whom died young except Antonio (1825-1901), his older brother Manuel (1818-1893) and a younger brother, Valentín (b 1833).

Manuel (L) and Antonio Bernaldo Quiros

Manuel and Antonio left Ruiloba and went off to Jerez when they inherited their father’s properties there in the 1850s and proceeded to make a great deal of money by selling top quality Sherries. Antonio was the more committed of the two to the bodegas and effectively ran them. The family was devoutly religious and Carlist and gave generously to various religious institutions, even founding a new monastery in Cantabria as well as an agricultural institute which still exists. Manuel died unmarried in 1893, having returned to the north, and Antonio died, also unmarried, in 1901 in Jerez having sold their vineyard El Corregidor and the bodega’s best soleras, amounting to 800 butts, to Sandeman in 1894. These very old soleras produce Sandeman’s top wines: Royal Esmeralda, Royal Corregidor and Royal Ambrosante. The vineyard turned out to be a bit of a poisoned chalice however, as Phylloxera arrived that very year.



Thursday, 12 October 2017

12.10.2017 Beltrán Domecq Promotes Sherry in USA

At the recent XXII Spain-United States Forum which took place in Williamsburg, Virginia, Sherry president Beltrán Domecq presented a Sherry tasting for the delegates including both countries’ ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs as well as business leaders. The Forum covers common interests for a better mutual understanding in governmental, commercial, academic and cultural affairs, promoting investment in infrastructure, tourism and security among other things.

Beltrán Domecq was invited, as a representative of the Spanish wine trade, to participate in a round table on tourism and gastronomy where, along with the famous chef José Andrés he championed the important role of Spanish gastronomy as a cultural nexus between the two countries. He emphasised the role of Sherry in the Anglo-Saxon world and the strategic importance of the American market.



Afterwards he said: “It has been a great honour to place Sherry at the highest level representing Spanish wine at the most influential transatlantic forum. This unprecedented fact is one more sign of renewed interest in Sherry which finds itself in a good place, in that professionals worldwide are promoting its enjoyment at the table with the best gastronomy, both Spanish and international. It is worth adding that the Sherry bodegas are the most visited in Spain (over half a million visitors in 2016) and that wine tourism in the area is an industry in itself generating employment and wealth.”

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

11.10.17 Opening Date for Universo Santi Announced

The much anticipated restaurant, the only one in the world where all 45 members of staff are disabled in some way, will open on 26th October. It is situated in Jerez at the Finca El Altillo, former home of the founder of González Byass, and is surrounded by beautiful parkland, in some of which they will grow organic fruit and vegetables. The plan is to become a culinary reference point offering top level haute cuisine. It will also include schools of catering and gardening for the disabled. Antonio Flores, oenologist of González Byass, has been training staff in wine and there will, of course be a good list of Sherries. As to the cuisine, the idea is to follow the principles of the late great chef Santi Santamaría in using the best local produce and bringing out the best of its natural flavour without covering it up with extras and unnecessary technology. For more information: http://universosanti.com/


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Contratiempo 2016 12.5% Cuatro Ojos Wines

Appearance
Bright pale gold with silvery gold highlights.
Nose
Fresh, clean and fruity with aromas of apple, and traces of lime peel and sweeties, floral hints of jasmine and lily backed up by a mineral, saline twist which means it is from albariza. There is a natural air about it and and a delicate charm.
Palate
It tastes very much as it smells, with a slightly fuller rounder body than expected. It is good and dry yet there is a passing suggestion of sweetness and it grows on the palate, gives of its best and then leaves a gentle, clean, fuity, minerally and really quite long finish.
Comments
This very attractive dry Moscatel wine is very young, not long bottled, and is still finding its feet. It is made in El Puerto de Santa Maria from grapes sourced in Chipiona and bottled unfiltered. This is only the second release. I couldn't find a year on the cork or the labels (I found out having done some research, and, of course tasting it) and I do wish people would put vintages on their labels or at least an understandable lot number. There are various sound reasons for doing so, mainly so you know how old the wine is. It does the producer no good if someone buys a wine which has declined after sitting on a shelf for years. Obviously with this wine and certain others from the area, quantities are so small that the wine should have sold out before the arrival of the next vintage, but it can't be guaranteed. Also, it might attract customers if the grape variety were on the label. People want detail nowadays, and an explanation of the philosophy behind the brand name is not enough.
Price
12.45 euros, De Albariza




Monday, 9 October 2017

9.10.17 Fall in Sherry Sales Eases off Slightly

In the latest figures from January to August 2017 sales of Sherry are down by 4% overall, a great improvement on the first quarter figures of 8.6%. Between January and August 19.1 million litres were sold as against the 20 million for the same period last year. It is in the export markets where sales are still falling, following the trend for the last few years, with a fall of 6% or 11.2 million litres, down from the 12 million litres of last year.

Spain has been the biggest market since it unseated the UK in 2014 and here 7.9 million litres were sold including a slight 1% drop. Sales in the traditional European markets fell 5.6% in the UK, 7% in Holland, and 16.6% in Germany and average sales in Europe were down by 6.3%, with a fall of 675,000 litres to a total of slightly less than 10 million litres. In the Americas, traditionally a smaller market, sales were down by an average of 7% with the US down 2%. The Asian market is also small and showed a drop of 5.4%.



Looking at the figures for the 12 months of September 2016 –August 2017 sales decline has slowed to 3.2% with total sales of 33.6 million litres as against 34.6 the previous period. The home market has shown slight growth of 0.8% with sales of around 12 million litres, but the export markets still show decline of 5.3%, 1,2 million litres less than for the same period last year. It is worth pointing out that it is in the traditional European markets where most BOB or own label is sold and it is is this which is in steepest decline.


Looking at the figures by type of wine there is a clear reduction in sales of the vinos generosos de licor or blended commercial wines as well as the sweeter ones. In recent years sales of the crianza biologica wines have outpaced these, and in the figures to August Manzanilla has grown 0.5% selling just over 5 million litres though Fino has dropped by 8.6%. Over the last 12 months sales of Manzanilla were 7.1 million litres and Fino 7.2 million litres. Meanwhile Amontillado, Oloroso and Palo Cortado have grown by 31%, 11% and 26% respectively from January to August. While Cream is still the biggest seller with sales of 7.3 million litres over the last year, it was down by 7.3% over the previous year, and down 3% so far this year. Pale Cream sales are falling fast with a drop of 18% this year. The naturally sweet wines are also losing sales with PX dropping 5% and Moscatel 3% so far this year.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Brandy Gran Garvey 38% Solera Reserva, Bodegas Garvey

Appearance
Deep mahogany fading to amber with bright copper highlights.
Nose
Forthcoming rich and full with lots of sweet notes of Oloroso, light toffee and dried fruit balancing a hint of walnut and aromas from the oak. Plenty of holandas with a slightly stoney hint of aguardiente as should be expected, and there is a certain lusciousness.
Palate
That rich sweetness is now balanced by some oak tannin giving texture which adds to the slightly pulpy dried fruit and gentle tobacco notes. Some sweetness must have been added (legally) but it rounds off what is quite a hefty full-on brandy with no shortage of character.
Comments
Garvey were among the pioneers of the sale of Jerez Brandy, especially William Garvey's son Patricio. There is an invoice dated 1825 in the firm's archives. The age of the soleras certainly helps with the quality of the product, and Garvey brandies were among the leading brands. For a Solera Reserva, this has real character and is good value for money.
Price
10.89 euros from Licores Corredera


Saturday, 7 October 2017

La Bota de Manzanilla 71 "Navazos" 15%, Equipo Navazos

Appearance
Fairly deep in colour with a distinct amber tone and bright golden highlights.
Nose
Clean and fresh with a certain wild saline maritime air yet at the same time quite serious with some pasada notes. There are hints of minerals and dried herbs as well as delightfully bitter yet restrained flor with a trace of nuts coming through. While definitely still a Manzanilla, there are faint oxidative hints of a maturity beyond its seven years. Wonderfully complex.
Palate
Magnificent attack with amazing intensity of flavour. A "Manzanillazo"! Bone dry, gently tangy and super fresh with a fantastic balance between the zip that carries it through and the sheer complexity of flavour and terrific length. Those slight oxidative notes really provide character. All that is wonderful about Sanlucar in a glass.
Comments
This superb and exciting wine was bottled in January 2017 with an average age of about seven years and comes from La Guita, though not from the soleras themselves. The firm's chief oenologist Eduardo Ojeda has been gradually putting aside a few dozen particularly interesting toneles and butts over the last ten years, and this is the eighth Equipo Navazos release from them. They were selected for being the most classic and authentic examples of pure Manzanilla. It was bottled en rama effectively but with the lightest possible filtration. Some 5,000 bottles were released.
Price 
24 euros Drinkmonger




Friday, 6 October 2017

Vino Tinto 2016 13%, Hacienda Parrilla Alta

Appearance
Very deep black red to a tight purply pink rim, legs.
Nose
Young and tight, it starts with attractive spicy notes merging with light hints of oak then black fruits come through like bramble and damson and a trace of violet which balance nicely with the spice and oak. It comes from a hot place yet has good freshness.
Palate
Full bodied with a lively tang and all three grapes showing through, fresh, clean and well made with its own unique character. For all its intensity the tannins are unaggressive letting the fruit out to play, though it still needs a bit more time to reveal all.
Comments
This Vino de la Tierra de Cádiz was made from hand picked Petit Verdot,  Tintilla and Syrah grapes grown at the beautiful hacienda's own vineyard on an elevated plot of albariza soil sloping towards the Atlantic. It was vinified and aged there too, in 225 litre American and French oak barrels for three months. It is an interesting blend and it really works, especially for the price, and will definitely benefit from a couple more years in bottle. Names like Ramiro Ibáñez and Juan Miguel Gómez have been involved with this project, so its quality is no surprise.
Price
5,20 euros, Licores Corredera





Thursday, 5 October 2017

La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada 60 Bota Punta 16.6%, Equipo Navazos

Appearance
Light brassy amber with golden highlights.
Nose
Super fresh and intense pasada nose with inevitable flor influence but with a little more oxidation. It is not far off what one might possibly describe as a Manzanilla Amontillada as there are definite hints of hazelnut appearing but it is still very much a Manzanilla with all the lean maritime saline notes and there are traces of herbs, apple and autolysis to add to the amazing complexity.
Palate
Crisp and full with racy acidity at the start then it broadens out and shows its more mature side. It has some body and a rich almost creamy chalky texture with developing oxidation adding a certain apple flavour to all that saline yeastiness which, while a little less bitter from the flor, is replaced by notes of cabezuela from the bottom of the butt and traces of nuts. This is amazingly complex and elegant.
Comments
Wow! This is a stunning and seriously interesting wine. Look at the alcoholic strength. It comes from the La Guita solera and the same bota punta as the previous editions 20, 40, and 50 - and only 18 or so months after the last saca. It just seemed to be in amazing shape, having been replenished with wine from the solera rather than the first criadera. Because of this the wine has a higher average age than the other butts in the solera and demonstrates the direction it would go if it were not extracted for commercial bottling. In fact it has an estimated average age of somewhere between 14 and 15 years. More interesting still - and unusual - is the fact that the butt is filled almost full, so the surface of the wine is much smaller and there is less room for the flor, which though already weakened by less air, fewer nutrients and the strength of the wine, still does its best to survive. This does allow an element of oxidation however, and as the weaker flor can consume less alcohol, the strength rises. This is not a cheap wine, but is worth every penny.
Price
50.00 euros per 50cl, Er Guerrita


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

3.10.17 More on the Sanlúcar Fino Saga

The Manzanilleros of Sanlúcar see the recent revival by Fedejerez of the proposal to prohibit them from producing Fino - which they view it as a historic right - as an offensive against them. The matter was a late addition to the agenda of last week’s plenary meeting at the Consejo Regulador. While Fedejerez president Evaristo Babé firmly supports the proposal, the representative for Manzanilla, Barbadillo’s Víctor Vélez was equally firm in his rejection of it.

The proposal was hotly debated back in 2013, but while Fedejerez could have carried it with a simple majority, it was felt that this was not the way forward for such an important matter, and it was shelved. After January 2016, when bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana, Juan Piñero and Sánchez Ayala discontinued their membership of Fedejerez due to continued complaints and accusations of the Manzanilleros by Babé, both in the media and at the Consejo, the only remaining representative of Manzanilla is Barbadillo.



Without their opinions being taken into account or even consulted, the bodegueros of Sanlúcar decided to form their own representative body The Professional Association of Artisan Bodegas of Sanlúcar. Against this background, the Manzanilleros see the Fedejerez proposal as a “purely business” one, while Fedejerez defends its proposal saying that the uniqueness of the DO Manzanilla de Sanlúcar and its production being exclusive to Sanlúcar can only be protected if at the same time Fino production is exclusive to Jerez and El Puerto de Santa María. (which would make it a matter for the EU).

The Sanluqueños reject this, and point to the fact that the proposal was revived just days after the constitution of the Mesa de la Manzanilla at the behest of Víctor Vélez, which cannot be a coincidence. Tension between Sanlúcar and Jerez has returned, although on this occasion the Manzanilla sector is much more united in protecting its interests within the Consejo and it has the support of the Junta, a representative of which was present at the constitution of the Mesa de la Manzanilla.


Alhocen Chardonnay 2015 13.5%, Miguel Domecq

Appearance
Pale gold with bright golden glints.
Nose
Big, soft and nicely balanced between French oak and ripe Chardonnay. Lots of fruity notes like banana and paraguayo then vanilla custard, butter and slightly toasty spice notes from the oak, but there is a refreshing hint of zippiness as well.
Palate
Again, big and soft, plump, those banana and vanilla notes carry through, but while there is no shortage of that fat clean oaky Chardonnay flavour, acidity is low and the wine lacks bite. Perhaps the grapes could have been picked a little earlier. Still, it has good length and is very honestly made.
Comments
This is the more upmarket version of the Entrechuelos Chardonnay (QV). The grapes were grown at Domecq's own Cortijo de Torrecera vineyard next to the bodega and were night harvested at cooler temperatures. This reduces the risk of fermentation starting to soon, especially useful for white wines as it preserves delicate aromas. They were then carefully selected and pressed. Fermentation took place in new low-toast French oak barrels, and the wine was aged in them on its lees for four months. After bottling, it was aged a further three months before sale. That means it now has over a year in bottle, the perfect time to taste it.
Price
10.50 euros, Licores Corredera


Saturday, 30 September 2017

Pagollano 2016 12.5%, Hidalgo la Gitana

Appearance
Fairly pale straw to yellowy gold with golden highlights.
Nose
Very fresh with an attractive mix of flowers and fruit; traces of camomile and orchard blossom with apples and pears, yet it does smell of Palomino and there is a very light saline hint.
Palate
Smooth, fruity and soft thanks to a low acid level, but there is plenty of Palomino flavour and that saline hint comes through. It is well rounded with a little body and dangerously drinkable.
Comments
This is a new table wine from Hidalgo La Gitana launched as part of the celebrations of their 225th anniversary. According to the back label the grapes come from old vines and are harvested a bit later for increased ripeness. This has of course led to the aforementioned lack of acidity. Nowhere on the label or cork does it give a vintage, so I am presuming this is from 2016 as is very likely. Nor is there any mention of grape variety, origin of grapes or method of production, so I am again presuming that it is Palomino (I'm pretty sure) and from the firm's own vineyards. Is it a new vintage of Las 30? Who knows. There is no information out there on the firm's website or Facebook page.
Price
5.75 from De Albariza




Thursday, 28 September 2017

28.9.17 Fedejerez Wants to Stop Fino from Sanlúcar

Under the Regulations governing the production of Sherry it has always been perfectly legal for bodegas in Sanlúcar to produce and sell Fino as well as Manzanilla, but it has long been an aspiration of Fedejerez to put a stop to this. The matter was last raised in 2013 but having aroused heated exchanges it was decided to shelve it. At a plenary meeting of the Consejo Regulador on Tuesday however, it was raised again with the idea of modifying the regulations to exclude Sanlúcar, leaving only Jerez and El Puerto de Santa María for the production of Fino and only Sanlúcar for the production of Manzanilla.

The proposal was presented at the meeting but was totally rejected by the (one) representative of Manzanilla and so Fedejerez will put the matter to the vote at some future meeting. In justification of its move, Fedejerez recalled that in May 2013 it raised the matter after a commission concluded that there is no objective parameter which allows for a difference between Fino and Manzanilla. In the judgement of Fedejerez therefore, the continued production of two wines, produced in exactly the same way and which cannot be distinguished and which belong to two different Denominaciones de Origen is “irregular” and “indefensible”.



According to the Fedejerez proposal, “The lack of technical specifications to distinguish Fino from Manzanilla calls into question the sustainability of the DO Manzanilla de Sanlúcar itself, the regulations of which establish that Sanlúcar is the exclusive zone for the ageing of Manzanilla. The defence of the DO Manzanilla – the fulfilment of EU requirements for the recognition and protection of DO wines produced in member states – should bring with it the assurance that only Sanlúcar has suitable conditions for the ageing of Manzanilla, and that consequently no other type of biologically aged wine, such as Fino, can be aged there.”

The Fedejerez arguments are the same as those in the original proposal which questioned the possibility of producing the two wines in the same place. After pressing the Junta de Andalucía to “exercise its powers in matters of Denominaciones de Origen as soon as possible”, Fedejerez reiterated its claim to be defending the uniqueness of the DO Manzanilla to avoid the loss of credibility which could result from the lack of differentiating parameters between Fino and Manzanilla “and the consequent harm to the whole Sherry region.”

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

International Sherry Week - Win a Place on the Sherry Educator Course

The IV edition of International Sherry Week is only five weeks away (November 6-12) so it is time to start organising your event. This year it will be bigger than ever and there is an added incentive to join the fun. Two places on the Sherry Educator course are being offered as a prize for the best Sherry and food match. It is well known that Sherry can match any dish, but there are some wonderful combinations still to be discovered. So here is a chance to not only experiment, but to have a wonderful time with your friends, and possibly win a trip to Jerez. The course consists of three days of intensive tutorials, tastings, bodega and vineyard visits and masterclasses which give a real understanding of our favourite wine. Details can be found at: http://www.sherry.wine/sherryweek 




Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Ojo de Gallo 2016 12%, Grupo Estévez

Appearance
Pale bright strawy gold with golden highlights.
Nose
Fresh, clean and very natural, honest, with traces of apples and minerals, it smells young, fresh, leafy and vital with a slight note of Fino, but it is fruitier and lighter.
Palate
Dry, clean, lean and minerally, it has a decent acidity and a slightly chalky feel and a certain crunchy character, and all these characteristics relate to the quality of the vineyard. It is light yet has lots of style and is brilliant with food. I can't wait to see what bottle age does to it.
Comments
This delicious wine is made from 100% Palomino grapes hand picked from 25 + year old organically grown vines in the company's 145 hectares in Macharnudo Alto, the best bit of the best pago in Jerez. (They own 256 hectares in the Pago Macharnudo as a whole). The wine is fermented in stainless steel using selected local yeasts and rested at low temperature for six months on its lees before bottling. After the successful sales and critical acclaim of the first release, the 2015, the 2016 is selling fast. This is one of the best examples around of a wine which faithfully reflects the character of the vineyard in which it was born, and shows just how important vineyards are. Grupo Estévez know this - they are the  biggest vineyard owner of all the bodegas with 800 hectares. Ojo de Gallo (Eye of the Cockerel) is the name of the parcel of vines the wine comes from.
Price
7.60 euros, Licores Corredera

Monday, 25 September 2017

Nectar Cream 18%, González Byass

Appearance
Transparent deep brown with amber towards the rim.
Nose
Attractive aromas where the PX and Oloroso balance nicely, if anything allowing the Oloroso to dominate. There are notes of American oak, toasted almond and walnut, hints of antique furniture, caramel and toffee with a trace of raisin.
Palate
It is sweet, but by no means excessively so and again the Oloroso is expressive with only enough PX to soften it. It is well balanced and quite stylish, with hints of oak and no cloying. The quality is very good and it has a lightness of touch, good length and a reasonably dry finish.
Comments
This is an old GB brand which used to be a Cream, but has since been changed to a Pedro Ximénez, so having found some I thought it would be fun to try it as you don't see much around any more. The firm has reduced its range of wines over the years, presumably because it was just too expensive to promote so many, besides they have introduced new wines like Tio Pepe en rama and the Palmas range. They also have another Cream in the form of Solera 1847. The Nectar was delightful and a shade lighter than Solera 1847.
Price
5.90 euros, Vilaviniteca



Sunday, 24 September 2017

Bodegas: Gorman & Co

Dr. John Gorman (MD MRCS) was an English surgeon who decided to change careers and join the wine trade. He spent most of the latter part of his life in El Puerto de Santa María exporting quality Sherry to Gorman, Hamilton & Thorby, wine merchants of which he was a partner, with offices at 16 Mark Lane London, a street noted for wine merchants. The firm later included William Hastings Hughes until the partnership was dissolved in 1859. The Sherry business was comparatively small scale, exporting 296 butts in 1856 (compared to Burdon’s 3507). This number had risen to 650 butts by the late 1860s. The wine was sold under the firm’s name in the London area.

Gorman was a hands-on type with a thorough knowledge of the Sherry business and indeed wine in general. His wine was highly recommended by Richard Ford (1796-1858) in his book “A Handbook for Travellers in Spain” of 1846. This recommendation would increase Gorman’s sales enormously, at least for a while. Ford tells us that Gorman acted as both manager and capataz of the bodega and that it was well worth paying a visit.

A contemporary quayside at El Puerto (foto:gentedelpuerto)

Gorman's knowledge was put to good use in 1823 when he gave evidence to the British Board of Trade on the quality of Sherry. He produced an amazing list of all the vineyards, their size, their soils, number of butts produced and their owners. He reckoned that the 25,000 acres or just over 10,000 hectares (there are only 7,000 now) was close to the limit of planting to produce quality wine, and said that the wine shipped to Britain was blended to suit the British taste and much was therefore not natural.

In 1852 he gave evidence to a House of Commons committee that increasing excise duty was counterproductive, saying also that a properly made Sherry did not need as much alcohol as some inferior wines contained. He pointed out that much wine shipped as “Sherry” was not genuine and needed to be fortified. In his view, if the public could learn to drink natural wines, they would drink better and so drink more, and thus raise Government revenue.

Gorman is credited with being the first to ship Manzanilla to England, and he described it as “a natural wine, sub-bitter with a fragrant aroma, very pure, and might be drunk by those who have any organic affection or inflammatory disease”. There is no record of the business, at least under that name, after the 1870s, when presumably Gorman died.










Saturday, 23 September 2017

Holgado Petit Verdot 2013 14.7%, Hermanos Holgado

Appearance
Opaque black cherry red with very narrow pinky almost purple rim, young looking.
Nose
Big, fresh and very attractive. Perfectly ripened grapes and notes of American oak, brambles, blueberries and traces of spice, bitter black chocolate with a faint balsamic even minty hint. The oak is nicely balanced and not excessive, just enough to add complexity, though more bottle age will be needed to age the wine.
Palate
Full bodied and dry with plenty of texture and a certain amount of mostly ripe tannin, chewy. There is also plenty of black fruit, just the right acidity and those spicy balsamic notes. It is fresh, clean and long, a very good wine with some charm, but personally I would have given it more time in oak. Still it will be interesting to see how another say, three years in bottle brings it on.
Comments
This Vino de la Tierra de Cádiz is produced organically at the vineyard called the Viña Dehesa Palomino located in the protected spectacularly beautiful natural park of Alcornocales, between the sierras  Grazalema and Las Nieves, east of the road from Algeciras to Jerez. Here, some distance from "civilisation" near Villamartin, there is both Atlantic and Mediterranean influence in the microclimate. Vines have been cultivated here since the XVI century, originally by monks. While they use modern equipment they also use artisanal processes. Having made money in Pajarete cheese the family decided to invest in small scale wine production and planted Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The PV was hand picked, selected and then fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in American oak for six months. Given that the wine is nearly 4 years old is is amazingly fresh, but needs more bottle age. Meanwhile it would be delicious with Retinto beef, steaks or game dishes as their proteins balance the tannins.
Price
10.00 euros, Licores Corredera




Friday, 22 September 2017

Amontillado Tabanco 18.5%, Lustau

Appearance
Deep brown tinged amber with copper highlights.
Nose
Savoury with walnut notes slightly predominating over toasted almond and hazelnut, hints of garrapiñada (almonds tossed in caramel) and tocino de cielo (a dessert made from egg yolks and caramel) and traces of dried fruits. There is a slightly saline Sanluqueño note about it.
Palate
Full bodied and textured with lots of nuts and dry yet with very faint traces of sweetness and tannin. It is quite a complex wine, but definitely on the weighty side, perfect for winter sipping.
Comments
Despite winning medals at the IWC and DWW, you don't see much of this wine about, which is a shame as it is good. It is probably the familiar problem of too many wines for the promotional resources available, but it is available in the US and other export markets. Anyway although it is not much more than eight years old it is quite sophisticated and interesting.
Price
13.00 euros, Mantequeria Jerezana


Thursday, 21 September 2017

Table Wine Bodegas: Luis Pérez

Luis Pérez’ scientific qualifications and achievements are far too numerous to list here, but suffice it to say he is highly qualified and experienced in wine chemistry. He taught at university and worked at Pedro Domecq’s research department before starting his own bodega in 2002 with the aim of recuperating and diversifying wine production in the Marco de Jerez. He bought the 25 hectare Hacienda Vistahermosa in the Pago del Corchuelo just outside Jerez with its XIX century casa de viña, and built a modern bodega powered by gravity with underground barrel storage.



Here he planted 14 hectares with Syrah, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Tempranillo, Tintilla and Cabernet Sauvignon which are cultivated organically on albariza soil. He also planted various other varieties (19 in all)  for further study. Everything Luis and his son Guillermo “Willy” Pérez do is geared to low production of the highest quality with the maximum expression of the vineyard. They firmly believe that the wine is made in the vineyard.



Thanks to family connections Willy, who is now the chief oenologist, gained access to the old 30 hectare El Corregidor vineyard in the Pago Carrascal, which once belonged to Sandeman, and this brought new possibilities. Being planted with Palomino 84, the clone in use before the California clone took over because of its higher yield, it gave him the chance to go for his dream of making unfortified Sherry. This involved rejecting many grapes and harvesting two or three weeks later than normal, but it worked and the 2013 vintage was released with two years of crianza, called Fino Barajuela. The butts were filled slightly fuller than the normal 5/6 to reduce the possibility of flor consuming too much of the alcohol he had worked so hard to achieve. There is now also an Oloroso Barajuela.



The rejected grapes are not wasted; instead they are briefly sunned to raise their sugars and the fermented juice is sent for distillation in Tomelloso. The resulting holandas are sent back and aged statically, and will ultimately produce a 100% Jerez Brandy. There have been other innovations too, like wine aged under the sea.



The wines are:
Garum: a Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot blend aged 12 months in French and American oak
Garum Submarino: 100% Tintilla aged 16 months in new French oak, bottled, put in an amphora and aged a further year under the sea.
Samaruco: Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Tempranillo and Cabernet aged 1 year in French oak
Petit Verdot: 100% Petit Verdot aged in new French oak
Tintilla: 100% Tintilla aged in new and used French oak for 16 months.
El Triángulo: 100% Tintilla with 5 months in oak
El Muelle de Olaso: The firm’s only white table wine to date, 100% Palomino
Marismilla: Rosé made from Tintilla
Fino Barajuela: Carrascal Fino de añada, unfortified
Oloroso Barajuela: Carrascal Oloroso de añada, unfortified



Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Rosado Cabernet 2015 13%, Bodega Forlong

Appearance
Pale to mid coppery onion skin pink with orangey gold highlights.
Nose
Forthcoming, fleshy and full of berry fruit with distinct notes of cherry and raspberry, there are also attractive traces of glacé fruit, rose petals and a hint of minerality from the albariza presumably.
Palate
Soft, full, fruity and beautifully balanced with lots of ripe yet tangy berry fruit and a gentle texture. It is super fresh, tasty and dangerously easy to drink yet has surprising complexity and length.
Comments
This charming rosado is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown organically in albariza soil in the Forlong vineyard near El Puerto de Santa Maria. The grapes are picked manually and comparatively late so as to avoid the green pepper/ asparagus notes Cabernet can have if not perfectly ripe. This also makes any tannins softer. They are selected both in the vineyard and on arrival at the winery. The must is fermented till the desired colour is achieved and racked into a separate tank where fermentation continues at very low temperature (@13C) taking over a month, with weekly batonnage (lees stirring). Once the fermentation is complete the wine is clarified only by natural decantation and bottled en rama. As always, the label is a classic, designed by Victoria Cerezo Doello, and depicts presumably the Mad March hare and the notice above its head reads "En el Pais de las Maravillas" or In Wonderland.
Price
7.60 euros, Licores Corredera




Tuesday, 19 September 2017

19.9.17 New Manzanilla Committee

The Red Room of the town council building in Sanlúcar today hosted a meeting of all the 40 bodegas which produce and sell Manzanilla at the behest of Víctor Vélez, director general of Bodegas Barbadillo, who feels that Manzanilla needs better representation at the Consejo Regulador. The idea is to create a “Mesa de la Manzanilla” or Manzanilla Committee to defend the Manzanilla Denominación de Origen, though its definitive constitution will need the approval of the Consejo which governs both DO Jerez and DO Manzanilla. Víctor Vélez is the only representative of the Manzanilleros at the Consejo.

The plan is to create a trade forum which can unite to debate Manzanilla matters and which would include a representative of the Consejo. According to Vélez “there are many bodegas, some of them quite important ones in Sanlúcar, which are not represented at the Consejo as they are neither members of Fedejerez nor the association established by Barbadillo and Delgado Zuleta”. Despite accounting for 21% of total sales of Sherry, Manzanilla has just the one representative at the Consejo. “We want these bodegas to be able to collaborate and express their views at a forum of debate and I will take into account any decisions or proposals they make at the Consejo”. We want the bodegas which are not represented to feel that at least they are being listened to.



Vélez pointed out that while sales of Sherry and Manzanilla had fallen from 70 million litres in 2001 to 33 million today, Manzanilla had suffered a bit less, remaining reasonably stable with slight growth, but the market is very competitive and international sales still need to be increased. Currently 64% of Sherry sales go for export yet barely 8% of Manzanilla sales go abroad. There are many challenges which face the new Manzanilla Committee, the main ones being communication, export and promotion of Manzanilla.

The Committee will consist of seven people, representing Barbadillo, Delgado Zuleta, Grupo Estévez, one of the cooperatives, a bodega not necessarily based in Sanlúcar but which markets Manzanilla and two delegates from the Professional Association of Artisan Bodegas of Sanlúcar. Meetings will be held monthly before the plenary at the Consejo.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Fino en rama Peña del Aguila 15%, Bodegas César Florido

Appearance
Pale straw gold with golden glints.
Nose
Most attractive nose, slightly more suggestive of Manzanilla than Fino, but then they are Sanlúcar grapes and the wine is aged on the Atlantic coast. There is a fresh maritime character with traces of meadow herbs and camomile, the flor is certainly there but elegantly restrained and a minute hint of oxidation adds to the complexity. It is beautifully balanced and fresh.
Palate
There is plenty to chew on with a lovely yeasty, slightly bitter character yet acidity is fairly low giving a softness and roundness and a slight trace of butteriness from the lees. This is delicious, as good as any Fino or Manzanilla.
Comments
Here is one to watch out for. My personal view is that this bodega is outstanding and deserves better recognition. It is not only an extremely interesting bodega but they are a delightful family with lovely wines. If you buy an upmarket Moscatel from a bodega in Jerez, you can be pretty sure it was made here. Chipiona is the home of Moscatel and it is the finest around, but the more familiar Sherry style wines are also produced, yet despite their quality they are not included in the DO Sherry because Chipiona is in the production zone not the crianza zone, and so few people know them. Peña del Aguila is an old brand which they are rescucitating for a range of fine Sherry style wines which includes a superb Palo Cortado. Anyway this lovely wine is made from 100% Palomino from old vines in the pago Miraflores - which also supplies Manzanilla grapes. This Fino runs through 5 criaderas and a solera (400 butts in total) in the Cherra bodega only 25 metres from the Atlantic and César makes a selection of just one butt (in this case number 2), the best of all, which provides some 1,200 half bottles making it unique and special.
Price
14.00 euros per half bottle ex bodega


Sunday, 17 September 2017

Brandy Lepanto Solera Gran Reserva 36%, González Byass

Appearance
Bright patinated mahogany to amber at the rim with copper highlights.
Nose
Open and quite rich but not too heavy with traces of dried fruit and a pronounced gently sweet vanilla aroma from the American oak presumably. There is an attractive aroma of garrapiñadas (almonds tossed in caramel), turrón perhaps, almost Amontillado. This is a gentle, elegant, refined brandy.
Palate
Soft, fairly sweet, open textured and super smooth with that attractive vanilla nuttiness to the fore. It is a very unaggressive brandy with very little tannin, yet remarkably tasty with considerable length.
Comments
González Byass is the only bodega in Jerez which distils brandy in Jerez, and they only distil the three versions of Lepanto there. They are basically the same brandy, but subject to different ageing regimes - PX butts, old Oloroso butts, or in this case butts which have been seasoned with Tio Pepe. Lepanto is made from 100% Palomino, which is also very unusual. The brandy is aged in soleras dating back to around 1870 and is bottled at an average age of 12 years. The name Lepanto commemorates a naval battle of 1571 in which the Holy League ( mainly Spanish and Italians) defeated the Ottoman Empire off the coast of Greece.
Price
About 25 euros

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Palo Cortado Añada 2000 Single Cask 20%, Valdespino

Appearance
Pure brassy amber with bright glinting golden highlights.
Nose
Super elegant, tight and fresh with lots of toasted bread, hazelnuts and almonds, slight traces of oak and, despite having maintained flor for only a few months, there is an attractive hint of bitterness as well as a mineral note. It is balanced up by beautifully fresh oxidative notes and the faintest hint of sweetness giving it a great deal of charm
Palate
Elegance itself. It has a wonderful lightness of touch yet is deceptively deeply flavoured. It is dry, beautifully rounded and fresh with a slightly saline mineral hint and a trace of volatile acidity, balanced to perfection by a touch of glycerine. Lots of nuts, a slightly autumnal blond tobacco touch, and almost interminable length. Superb.
Comments
This is quite delicious. It is the - hopefully first - culmination of a project started shortly after Grupo Estevez bought Valdespino. The grapes are 100% Macharnudo Alto and the gently pressed must was fermented in butts. The contents of this particular butt showed great promise from an early stage and the state of the flor was carefully monitored. It gradually petered out and the wine was re-fortified to 17% and allowed to mature. It developed real class and it was decided to bottle the wine in June 2017 in just 500 half bottles. So this is  a single vineyard, single butt, single vintage Sherry which is rare and exquisite. It is only available on the export markets so whatever you have to to obtain some.
Price 
About 150 euros per half bottle




Friday, 15 September 2017

Garum 2015 14.5%, Bodegas Luis Pérez

Appearance
Almost opaque black cherry red with young cherry pink rim.
Nose
Full, young, tight with lots of plump ripe black fruit; cherry, plum, mulberry, and slightly dusty wood notes, mainly French oak as it opens out. There are traces of spice and smoke from the Syrah rounded off by the Merlot and Petit Verdot which offers a slight blueberry note.
Palate
Big, fully structured and characterful. Although Syrah only accounts for 30% of the grapes, it is notable for the spice. There is a bit of none too aggressive tannin which is balanced by the fruit but the wine needs a year or so more in bottle to reach its best. And it will be good - it is good now. 
Comments
Made from approximately 60% Merlot, 30% Syrah and 10% Petit Verdot from the virtually organic albariza vineyard at Hacienda Vistahermosa just outside Jerez. Yields are restricted by green harvesting and the grapes, which are vinified separately, are hand picked and cross a selection table before a cold soak and fermentation at controlled temperature in stainless steel. After malo-lactic the separate wines are blended and aged for 12 months in used French and American oak and the wine is bottled unfiltered.
Price
9.00 euros, Licores Corredera


Thursday, 14 September 2017

14.9.17 Valdespino Launch Palo Cortado Añada 2000

As if the range of Sherries from Valdespino was not good enough already an exciting and rare new addition has been launched. It is a Palo Cortado made from grapes grown in the firm's Inocente vineyard in the pago Macharnudo Alto, probably the best vineyard in  Jerez, where the vines range from 35 to 55 years old. 500 half bottles were filled from a single butt in June 2017, though samples were available at last year's Vinoble where they met with considerable interest. The wine was pressed very gently and fermented in a number of butts, and from early on one in particular showed outstanding finesse and complexity. It was fortified to 15°, beginning life as a Fino but gradually the flor disappeared, and it was fortified again to 17°. Being wine from a single vintage the butt was sealed by staff from the Consejo Regulador and then allowed to develop. Over the almost 17 years it has developed a further 3° of alcohol and a beautiful colour as well as amazingly complex aromas and flavours. Each bottle is hand numbered and sealed with a driven cork with a wax capsule and presented in a gift box. The wine is all destined for export, mainly Britain and the United States.