Monday, 8 June 2015

Bodegas: Conde de Peraleja

This was an old XVIII ermita (hermitage) built by the Carthusian monks on land near the Guadalete river just south-east of Jerez, about a mile from their famous Cartuja. It was used by the monks for agriculture and animal rearing, especially the famous Cartujano horses, as well as a retreat for elderly monks. The name Salto al Cielo means “jump to heaven” as this was the place from which the old monks would depart on that journey. Their land was confiscated by the state in the 1830s and later sold to the López de Carrizosa family. While the old ermita is gone, there remain visible traces of its foundations.

Grupo Salto al Cielo is a farming and food group established by Luis López de Carrizosa Ybarra on the same land in 1967 and which is divided into four fincas. The huge estate grows avocados, oranges, carob, potatoes, carrots and cotton among many other things. Then there are Limousin cattle, holiday accommodation for “agro-tourism” and a further 2,600 hectares of land for hunting. Full facilities are available for riding and classes are given in show-jumping and dressage. There is even a XIX century chapel in the finca.

While mainly concerned with all the above, the estate has a small bodega called Conde de Peraleja, an inherited family title bestowed on a previous López de Carrizosa by Alfonso XIII in 1905 (the family has been in the area for over 800 years and helped defend Jerez against the Moors). Here Amontillado, Oloroso, PX and Cream are produced under the brand name Salto al Cielo (once a brand name of the now lost bodegas Barón de Algar which was owned by the family - see separate post). As there are no vineyards, the musts are bought in to feed the soleras. The Oloroso comes from a tiny solera of 5 butts with an average age of 50 years and is selected by Beltran Domecq. Perhaps some of the old wine came from the Baron de Algar bodega founded in 1830 by Francisco Javier López de Carrizosa y Pavón which closed in the early 1980s.

£25 per half bottle UK agents Ehrmanns, but not yet available

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