Thursday, 21 March 2019

Ideal Pale Cream 17.5%, Valdespino

Pale to mid strawy gold with golden highlights and a slight viscosity.
Mostly Fino with only very light flor notes but fresh and with just a hint of apple sauce and grape juice behind. It doesn´t smell excessively sweet but the sweetness does very slightly mask the Fino aromas, yet it adds a few of its own such as an attractive pastry note a bit like like apple Danish with a trace of lemon icing but without the cinnamon.
Light, fresh and medium-sweet but not too sweet and there is a nicely judged acidity to balance and there is a certain glyceric texture but the Fino flavour and the sweeter confectionery character come through giving a light, gently sweet style with considerable appeal and a decent fairly dry finish.
Made from Palomino Fino grapes fermented and aged in solera for 5 years and then blended with rectified concentrated grape must (basically unfermented juice with most of the water removed) also made from Palomino, which confers the sweetness. This is the standard process for Pale Cream production, though one or two bodegas use Moscatel instead which works well. The sweetness is less than that of a Cream Sherry, lying between 45-115 g/l sugars, while Cream starts at 115 g/, sothe sweetness here is a little more subtle.
8.50 euros, Licores Corredera

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

20.3.19 Latest Competition Results for Sherry and Cádiz Wines

Vinalies Internationales
150 experts at this French wine competition, organised by the French Union of Oenologists, blind tasted their way through 3,500 wines from over 40 countries over 5 days. Spain won 36 Gold and 41 Silver medals and the Sherry results were:

Fortified Trophy: Pedro Ximénez Noé – González Byass
Gold: Oloroso Dulce Matúsalem - González Byass 

This competition for Spanish wines, now in its IV edition, is organised by the Spanish Federation of Oenologists´Associations within the Enomaq exhibition of winery equipment and 150 wines were awarded Gran Oro, Oro and Plata medals. The Sherry and Cádiz wines scored as follows:

Gran Oro:
Palo Cortado 1750 – Fernández-Gao
Palo Cortado Leonor – González Byass
Palo Cortado de la Cruz de 1767 – Bodegas Arfe
Amontillado NPU – Sánchez Romate
Pedro Ximénez Noé VORS – González Byass
Moscatel Pasas Madroñales – Coop. Católico Agrícola (5th time running!) 

Francisco Lorenzo Gallego, president and oenologist of Católico Agrícola
Tio Pepe en Rama - González Byass
Palo Cortado Regente - Sánchez Romate
Cortijo de Jara Roble 6 Meses – Cortijo de Jara
Vino Tinto Betanu – Bodegas Ibargüen
Finca Moncloa - González Byass

Manzanilla Pasada en Rama Pastora – Bodegas Barbadillo
Oloroso Don José - Sánchez Romate

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

19.3.19 Jerez is Worried and Frustrated by Brexit

The Brexit situation, almost whatever the outcome of the seemingly interminable indecision, is a real source of worry to the bodegas of the Marco de Jerez as it could cost them dear. Their principal concerns are that there could be customs problems at the border and a further drop in the value of Sterling. Some bodegas have been exporting larger than normal quantities of wine, either at their own behest or that of UK importers, in an attempt to at least mitigate the effects, while others anxiously await the upshot but all, including the Consejo Regulador, feel it is most unlikely to be favourable and are extremely frustrated as there is little or nothing they can do about it.

The United Kingdom is the largest export market for Sherry and the sixth largest for Brandy de Jerez. Spain as a whole is likely to be among the countries most affected by Brexit since it exports a lot of cars, fruit and vegetables to Britain quite apart from large quantities of wines and spirits, and the general feeling is that UK prices will inevitably rise in the medium to long term causing further losses in sales. Brexit will have to be paid for somehow, and increased taxation is an obvious method with alcohol being one of the most likely targets. Greater reliance on imports from the Commonwealth and possible preferential taxation could also adversely affect Sherry. The current promotional campaign in the UK will continue however, despite the UK being in a sort of no man´s land, no longer being an interior market nor a third country, making EU funding of the campaign more difficult.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Harveys Fino 15% Bodegas Fundador

Pale to medium strawy gold with bright golden highlights.
Fresh and fairly crisp with a notable aroma of flor, bread dough and bitter almonds with just a hint of damp barrels, apple fruit and garden herbs in the background. It appears to have much youthful vitality yet has a little more complexity behind making it interesting and attractive.
It begins with a certain crispness and then opens out a bit offering at least a little of the weight one expects from the Macharnudo. There are lots of attractive yeasty flor notes giving gentle bitterness while acidity is moderate and it has the dry chalky texture of albariza. Perhaps 4 to 5 years old it is clean and refreshing and reasonably long.
This Fino comes from grapes grown in the firm´s own vineyards in the pago Macharnudo and from a solera established in 1953. Unfortunately the Harveys range has been messed about with somewhat over recent years, mostly as a result of corporate takeovers, and so promotion of the products - which were once world famous - seems to have fallen by the wayside. Emperador who own Fundador seem more interested in Brandy than Sherry. Anyway, the range this wine belongs to consists of Fino, Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Oloroso and PX, yet for some reason (presumably?) only the Fino can be found on the website (with a different label) along with the VORS and Bristol Cream.
7.50 euros per 50cl

Sunday, 17 March 2019

17.3.19 EU to Modify Regulations on Average Age and Sugar Content in Spirits

Spanish Eurodeputy Pilar Ayuso has received the support of the European Parliament for her report suggesting two changes to the regulations covering spirit drinks which date from 2008. The first change is the harmonisation of the maximum permitted sugar content which permits existing limits in each category in individual national regulations without prejudice to lower limits which may already exist. Until now certain member states have had limits and others have not. The maximum permitted sugar content in Brandy de Jerez is 35 g/l. and the use of spirit caramel (E150 – also used in Scotch Whisky) is also permitted for colouring purposes but it has no effect on flavour.

The second change, one which the trade has been seeking for years, allows for the average age of spirits aged in traditional criadera and solera systems such as rum and Brandy de Jerez, which have been produced for centuries, to be included on the label rather than the age of the youngest component of the blend, something nobody wants to put on the label. The EU will now accept the solera system and the method of calculating average age. These modifications will allow for clearer and more informative labelling and benefit producers and consumers alike.

Annual spirits production in the European Union amounts to some 37.5 million hectolitres worth around 23 billion euros. There are over 240 EU spirits with a geographical indication of origin (IG).

Saturday, 16 March 2019

The Classic Pagos of the Marco de Jerez: Añina

This fine pago dates back to Roman times and was probably the property of a certain Annius, an early vineyard owner in the area and hence its name. Lying west of Jerez surrounded by the pagos or sub-pagos of Orbaneja, San Julián, Cantarranas, Zarzuela, Corchuelo and Marihernández. It lies some 13km from the Atlantic and about 6 km from Jerez near Las Tablas. The pago includes some 800 hectares, but by no means all is currently planted and there are many casas de viña dotted about, many in a poor state of repair. Much of the vineyard here are owned by growers and bodegas from Sanlúcar, especially in the northern part of the pago closest to Sanlúcar.

The vineyards are mostly south facing with gentle slopes of not more than about 10% and Añina reaches a maximum altitude of about 113 metres and various types of good pure albariza can be encountered, mostly bujeos, lustrillos and tosca cerrada. Wines produced here are considered to have very good balance mostly providing mid-weight decently structured Finos perhaps between Macharnudo and Balbaina in style. Then there is the Mosto Añina festival every December where many casas de viña offer traditional country food and mosto to wash it down.

Notable plots include: Orbaneja (regarded by some as a sub-pago, along with Marihernández, Montana and San Julián), El Caribe (ex Sancho Hermanos, now Diez Mérito),Viña de Morla, Viña El Álamo (once Pedro Romero), Las Conchas (also ex Pedro Romero, now Williams & Humbert), the small vineyards of Alberto Orte: El Aljibe, San Cristóbal and San José (where he also produces table wine), Nuestra Señora de Las Mercedes (8.5 ha owned by Viña Callejuela), Viña Las Cuarenta.