Monday, 18 August 2014

Bodegas: Cesar Florido

This old and interesting family firm, in the trade since the XVIII century, was founded in 1887, being the oldest surviving bodega in Chipiona and is one of only two non-cooperative bodegas in the town. Once, Chipiona had dozens of bodegas but now there are two plus the Cooperativa Catolica Agricola. Most Chipiona wine – mainly Moscatel - is sold to the big bodegas, but Florido bottle their own, or sell in bulk. They specialise in Moscatel de Alejandria. Chipiona is the perfect place for the Moscatel which grows happily on the fine sandy soils close to the Atlantic coast south of Sanlucar. This sand has meant that the vines have not needed to be grafted against Phylloxera.

The firm, run by 5th generation Cesar Florido, buys in some grapes, but they mainly come from 21 hectares of family-owned vineyards whose vines are anywhere between 15 and 50 years old. Grapes which are to be sun dried are simply laid out on the sand without the usual esparto grass mats or sheets of plastic. The sand is dry enough to avoid any risk of rot.

They have three bodegas, all situated in the old centre of Chipiona: Calle Padre Lerchundi is where they have the winemaking facilities, offices and bottling; the bodegas in Calle Castillo and Calle Ladislao Carrascosa contain ageing wines. All have the traditional "patio bodeguero". One can buy wine at each of the bodegas at their despachos de vino. Sales are largely domestic, but they do export, principally to the USA but also to the UK.

The wines:
Fino Cesar: made from Chipiona, Balbaina and Miraflores grapes, at least 3 years old from 62 butt solera. All the other wines are aged in bocoyes - butts of 40 arrobas rather than the usual 30.
Oloroso Seco Cruz del Mar: made from pago Balbaina grapes and aged in solera for 12 years
Peña del Aguila Palo Cortado 20%: very limited quantities, solera aged for 38 years
Cream Cruz del Mar: at least 5 years old, blended with Oloroso and Moscatel
Moscatel Pasas: The top of the Moscatel range, made from Moscatel grapes sun-dried for 15-20 days (which means a 50% loss in grape weight) giving a huge increase in relative sugars, aged in solera for up to 9 years
Moscatel Dorado 15% (17.5 for export): Mistela made from super-ripe but not sun dried grapes aged for one year in wood
Moscatel Especial 18%: Mistela as above but with added arrope for complexity and aged for one year in wood

While Chipiona is in the zona de produccion it is not in the zona de crianza, so the wines don't qualify for DO Sherry, but they are still monitored by the Consejo. Moscatel de Chipiona has long had a fine reputation of its own, and this is THE bodega in the town.

Address: Calle Padre Lerchundi, 35-37, 11550 Chipiona, Cadiz
Telephone: (+34) 956 371 285
Visits? Yes, by previous appointment

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