A blog and review on all things Sherry. It is about tasting, enjoyment and learning more about the World’s Finest Wine. "Sherry is a thoroughbred" as Javier Hidalgo rightly puts it. Included are the amazing local Brandies and the remarkably good table wines also produced in the province of Cádiz.
Pale bright gold with brassy golden highlights. Nose
Attractive and interesting, very fresh and bright with lots of tangy fruit. There are some hints of very slightly grassy greenness with notes of crisp green apple and a trace of kiwi from the Sauvignon Blanc along with the more familiar appley style of Palominoand the blend works very well.
Fresh and fairly crisp with a slightly livelier acidity than Palomino on its own yet balance is good. All that is enhanced by a gentle salinity in the background and the hallmark dry chalky texture of albariza. The Sauvignon is a little less lean and green when grown so far south but still makes its presence felt while the Palomino is by no means lost in the blend.
While the back label says that this is a new wine, it has in fact been available for some time. Nonetheless, it is very good and has a fairly unique character as it contains a proportion of Sauvignon Blanc grapes blended into the Palomino and they are harvested a little later than the Manzanilla grapes giving a little more body and roundness. It is fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged on lees for about 6 months in ex Manzanilla butts before bottling. Great value.
Old polished chestnut with a hint of mahogany, fading to amber with copper glints and a trace of green at the rim. Nose
Very aromatic, sophisticated, balanced and beautifully rounded, it has super subtle aromas of exotic woods with hints of spice, polished antique furniture, toasted nuts and dried fruits which are all beautifully integrated. You can just tell this is a proper old brandy with no need for the added sweetening which younger ones are subject to; it is open, clean and totally natural.
Intensely flavoured and complex with only faint notes of tannin which are nicely balanced out by the sweetness of maturity. It is very subtle and elegant with traces of nuts, woods and fine Sherry which merge together to form a delicious whole which lingers for ages on the palate.
Despite coming from the Rioja, the famous collector of wine and wine related objects (over 17,000 of them!), Roberto Amillo, has a notable penchant for the products of Jerez and offers a range of top quality Sherries, vermouth and brandy through his Jerez project Espiritus de Jerez and Bodegas Altanza in Rioja. He selects one butt at a time of something rare and special from the best bodegas which he sells in his beautiful bottles, and has achieved very high scores from the Guia Peñín and Robert Parker. This superb brandy was sourced from Bodegas Fernando de Castilla which were originally established to make the finest possible brandy and which only use 100% holandas or pot still spirit. They bought up brandy soleras including the old Palomino & Vergara solera from which this brandy comes, at an average age of well over 30 years.
For the 2019 edition of Spain´s
leading wine guide, 250 Sherries were tasted and 200 - or 80% of them - scored
90 points or more putting Sherry ahead of all other DOs in Spain - again. In
fact the average score was an impressive 92.08 points. Carlos González,
director of the guide, said that it is not only the oldest DO in the country
but it is also considered the most complete since it involves wines of greater
diversity, greater uniqueness and better quality. And it is not just its
complexity with so many types of wine but that they are unique in the world and
all are of extremely high quality. No other region in the world has these three
It is maintaining its
international recognition over the years thanks to a continuing and carefully crafted
evolution allowing it to offer innovative styles as well as the classic ones creating
a Sherry revival. Sommeliers are matching Sherry with Spanish gastronomy and
achieving authentic and award winning flavours. This week the team from Guia
will visit the Consejo Regulador to taste the next round of Sherries for the
2020 guide. Jerez is always the first stop on their journey round the country´s
wines and, apparently, one of their favourites.
Bright, pale gold with golden highlights. Nose
Super fresh and light with traces of fresh herbs and camomile flower in a
wild meadow with a trace of esparto. There is a notable saline brininess
along with a lovely bready yeastiness which is not overly bitter giving it an overall charm and subtle complexity, most attractive and opens out for ages.
Very dry and fresh, and quite light, it is a comparatively young wine and thus has few if any cabezuela notes, but what it does have is that fresh tangy grip which makes it perfect for the classic food of Sanlúcar, indeed it makes one salivate. Delicious and dangerously drinkable.
Founded in 1758 in buildings formerly belonging to the Mercedarian monks and still in family hands this charming, slightly hidden bodega, formerly almacenistas, produces classic Manzanilla which represents 90% of its production. It also has a very good restaurant in the patio. A cigarrera is a woman who works in a tobacco factory like Bizet´s Carmen or sells cigarettes and cigars. The firm has no vineyard of its own and buys in local mosto which runs through 7 criaderas and a solera before emerging at somewhere over 4 years old. It was once sold as a Manzanilla Pasada, as were many, and occasionally one can obtain some, but rarely. This wine was bottled in Autumn 2018.
Old mahogany to chestnut fading through amber to a faint trace of green at the rim, coppery glints.
Elegant and fairly intense and crisp with toasted almond and hazelnut, traces of oak and very faint but attractive notes of slightly overdone toast and salty, nutty bitterness. There is a slight glyceric hint as well with traces of dried fruits which rounds it off but doesn´t completely diguise a certain leanness showing the bare bones of the wine, which is no bad thing.
It starts offquite full then goes through a hint of sweetness before drying out and getting a little lighter as it opens out showing notes of oak and traces of tannin and that salty bitter nuttiness and less dried fruit than on the nose. It is still nutty though and lean and elegant with a long dry finish.
This is one of the Domecq brands bought by Lustauin 2008 along with their soleras, some 4,000 butts in total. Botaina was always a highly regarded Amontillado in Jerez and had an approximate average age of over 12 years. Now it is perhaps closer to 15, but Lustau do not want to change the style of this iconic wine which is arguably better than Los Arcos and Escuadrilla. While most oxidatively aged wines are bottled in the autumn and traditionally - and even now - more or less en rama, Lustau have begun to make a feature of this and apply slip labels to draw attention to the different sacas, not that they really vary that much. Anyway this is the autumn edition 2018 and 4,272 bottles were drawn from the 54 butt solera.
For the fifth year running the Consejo Regulador has held the
competition for the best mosto. Since nearly all of this will go on to
become Sherry, its quality is extremely important and the Consejo is
incentivising producers by giving awards to the best. This year 40 different
mostos were entered for the two categories: mosto produced by growers and that
produced by bodegas and they were judged in a blind tasting by the Consejos´tasting
panel. There are three trophies and corresponding diplomas in each category and
they were awarded yesterday with the winner being Viña La Zorrilla from José
in the grower category and Gonzalez Byass in that of the bodegas. A public
tasting took place afterwards at the Consejo´s bodega San Ginés.
The winners´cups at the Consejo. Note Poets Laureate butts on the left.
40 years ago most bodegas in Sanlúcar
had a distillery but they gradually disappeared. Now the town has a new
distillery. The Destilería Weisshorn is located in the Barrio Alto and was set up
by Roberto Payá and his wife María Eugenia Rodríguez who own the well known
Weisshorn restaurant. The name refers to a ship carring a cargo of rice which
ran aground at Sanlúcar in 1994 and the remains of it can still be seen on the
horizon. The distillery´s first product was Luciferi Doñana Gin to celebrate
the 50th anniversary of the Coto Doñana being declared a National Park. It
contains botanicals foraged in the Coto Doñana like rosemary, myrtle and mastic
along with juniper and citrus and is based on spirit distilled from rice.
They have also produced a special
version, 1522 Spanish Gin, aged in old Manzanilla butts, this time in
celebration of Magellan´s voyage. This week they launched Sandblast Ocean Vodka,
named after the US navy´s Operation Sandblast, the first circumnavigation of
the globe by submarine in 1960 using the same route as Magellan. The vodka is
distilled from organic grapes and contains just a little sea water. They used to have the spirit distilled for them to their specifications but now have their own distillery and are
already planning the production of other artisan spirits like rum, brandy and
Clean bright almost pure amber with brassy golden highlights and some visible viscosity. Nose
Bursting with aromas of sun dried PX though lighter than the normal version as the grapes, while very ripe, are not so intensely sun dried and there are few if any fig and date aromas making it very grapey with hints of overripe apple, peach and apricot and gently tangy with traces of esparto and some grapeskin texture. It smells fantastic and is virtually unique.
Sweet, yes, but nowhere near as sweet as normal PX and much lighter too, both in wight and alcohol. The acidity level is perfect to carry through the flavour, mitigate the sweetness and give a real freshness to the wine. The aforementioned dried fruit flavours give off some of their texture creating a gentle chewiness and there is the faintest honeyed note yet the wine is clean, fresh complex and uncloying with great length, and quite possibly a long life ahead in bottle. Delicious.
So devoted to the Pedro Ximénez grape is this bodega that it is the only grape they grow. Founded in 1729 and still in family hands - the ninth generation - they produce a totally unique range of naturally sweet wines of supreme quality. The idea with this wine was to conserve the freshness and fruitiness by avoiding oxidation. The grapes are hand picked but at normal harvest time and laid out on esparto mats between the vine rows. This provides some shade so the sun dehydrates them very gently, concentrating their fructose. In the shade or during the night they gain a little in tartaric acid providing freshness. Sun drying reduces the yield from 1 tonne of fresh grapes to 300 kg of pasas and from that, only 200 litres of wine. The must is fermented to 13% in French oak toneles and after fermentation they are filled to the brim and tightly sealed to prevent any oxidation and conserve freshness and fruit. They remain there until bottling. 2017 yielded 8993 x 50cl bottles sealed with a Diam cork.