Wednesday, 17 June 2015

An Interview with Antonio Flores

From an interview with P Heredia in La Voz Digital Cádiz

The chief oenologist at González Byass, responsible for the firm’s top quality wines which have recently scooped many awards, was born in the bodega, his father being production director there. He is well travelled, having conducted tastings all over the world.

González Byass wines have triumphed in the Decanter World Wine Awards and the International Wine Challenge, two prestigious British competitions. What was the key?
Maintaining our style of winemaking and ageing. Also bringing back some styles of wine which have been virtually forgotten like the Finos Palma, which represent the best of biological ageing and selection in the bodega.

How should one drink the Amontillado Cuatro Palmas, a Tio Pepe aged to an amazing 48 years, and winner of an International Trophy?
It should be drunk slowly, with enough time to be able to appreciate all it offers: subtlety, power, structure. It is a Tio Pepe with nearly half a century of ageing, the authentic perfume of Jerez, a “vino de pañuelo” (a “handkerchief” wine = so aromatic it can be used as perfume).

How do you make a champion wine?
Right from its birth, one chooses the best soil, selects the best juice, gives it careful treatment and ages it in the best butts and helps it along the way so that it expresses itself at its best.

How is the brand “Sherry” at the moment?
There is hope, Sherry is in fashion and is beginning to regain its place among the world’s fine wines with the help of gastronomy and younger drinkers.

Can the wine sector empower the economic recuperation of the area?
It can, and it should. Sherry has historically represented a fundamental pillar of its economy, not just in the three Sherry towns of Jerez, Sanlúcar and El Puerto de Santa María, but for the whole Bay of Cádiz area.

Antonio at work (foto:lavozdigital)

It is said that Sherry is the drink of more mature people. How can we get younger people to appreciate it?
We need to let them see that Sherry is part of their culture, that it is the best and most noble fermented drink in the world, and that it offers pleasure and health.

For someone inexpert in these wines, what do they need to know?
You should approach Sherry without fear, you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy it.  Knowledge will be acquired little by little when the wine is enjoyed in company.

Is Sherry well promoted at home and throughout the world? Is it more highly regarded abroad?
I believe that neither the bodegas collectively nor the Consejo Regulador are skimping on promotion. It is a slow process with long term results. We have come through a long crisis where resources have been scarce. Nobody can read the future but we are moving forward little by little knowing we should be proud to be able to enjoy a unique wine at an unbeatable price.

As the oenologist and master blender at González Byass, what is your favourite Sherry?
Amontillado Viña AB, a wine in between two types of crianza: biological and oxidative, a seductive wine of real character which leaves nobody indifferent.

What is the next challenge for González Byass?
González Byass Family of Wine as its name indicates is formed of bodegas all over the viticultural map of Spain. Our objective is to be represented in the most important areas. Beyond that, we are always aiming for quality, innovation and sustainability, but we never forget that Sherry is at the very heart of our Family of Wine.

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