Saturday, 26 May 2012

Bodegas: Antonio Barbadillo

Now run by the 6th generation of the family which originated in Covarrubias (Burgos), Barbadillo was established in 1821 by Don Benigno (1783-1837) and Don Manuel Barbadillo, cousins who had returned to Spain after 20 years in Mexico. They bought a bodega built in 1781, now known as Bodega del Toro, from one Joaquin Allier and the entrepreneurial Benigno set about exporting wines to Britain and the Americas as well as selling wine to other local bodegas. In 1827, the same year that the word "Manzanilla" first appeared on wines, Barbadillo launched the first bottled brand "Divina Pastora". Innovation did not end there, or after Benigno's death, as his children, and theirs, continued to build up the firm: brandy and vinegar followed.

The beautiful bodega La Arboledilla

With its offices in the beautiful La Cilla palace in Sanlucar, the firm now holds 500 hectares of vineyard in 2 parcels in Jerez Superior: Gibalbin and Santa Lucia. In the former is the ultra-modern vinification plant, and the 17 bodegas, which cover 75,000 square metres and contain some 400,000 butts, are in Sanlucar surrounding the medieval castle of Santiago and looking down over the Bajo de Guia beach. Barbadillo is thus the largest producer of Manzanilla, and one of the largest Sherry producers. The company owns the Sanlucar bodega of Infantes de Orleans Borbon and briefly, Williams & Humbert and Otaolaurruchi.

More recent diversification has seen the purchase of bodegas in other regions: Somontano and Ribera del Duero, along with the Iberico business Sierra de Sevilla (now sold). Another innovation was the first white table wine from the Sherry zone: Castillo de San Diego, now the best selling white wine in Spain, and its sweeter companion Maestranza, followed by a red table wine Gibalbin. Business can't be too bad - Barbadillo reckon to sell about 500,000 half bottles of their signature Manzanilla Solear during the week long Feria de Sevilla (the annual Seville fair). Then they were the first to introduce Manzanilla "en Rama" - only 1,000 litres straight from 10 selected butts, bottled without excessive filtration and fining and much tastier than the usual Manzanilla. Interestingly, it is released seasonally, and each season's release tastes slightly different according to the thickness of the flor.

The Barbadillo range consists of:
Reliquia - Extremely old wines of 100-150 years of age sold in decanters: Amontillado, Palo Cortado and Oloroso - very small quantities and very hard to obtain.
VORS - Palo Cortado, Oloroso, Amontillado
Manzanillas - Solear, Solear en Rama, Muy Fina, Pastora Manzanilla Pasada en rama
Standard Range - Eva Cream; San Rafael Oloroso Abocado; Cuco Oloroso seco; Amontillado Principe; Moscatel Laura; PX La Cilla; Palo Cortado Obispo Gascon, all really fine wines.
Table Wines: there is the new (and first) sparkling wines from Cadiz: Beta Brut and Beta Sur, and many table wines: Mirabras, Poniente, Levante, Vi, Blanco de Blancos, Gibalbin, Quadis, Nude, not to mention the wines from Somontano and Ribera del Duero.
Brandies: BB and Barbadillo Solera Gran Reserva
Yes, best to book by phone/e-mail The firm has a very interesting Manzanilla Museum
Address: C/ Luis de Eguilaz, 11, 11540 Sanlucar de Barrameda, Cadiz
Tel: (0034) 956 38 55 00

No comments:

Post a Comment