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.
This is a
comparatively new bodega in Sanlúcar, established as recently as 1992 by Juan
Piñero who made his money in construction. He began by buying from Argueso a bodega of
3,000 square metres in the Calle Trasbolsa in the Barrio Bajo (lower district) of
Sanlúcar which, after some repairs and refurbishment of the central patio with
orange trees, was fit again for purpose. It was built in the 1920s to resemble the great bodega La Arboledilla, and is a classic Sanlúcar bodega orientated
east-west to catch the maritime breezes and with a high roof, earth floor and
enormous windows: perfect for creating Manzanilla. For the first few years he supplied wine to La Gitana, but that meant working to suit them. With the arrival in 2013 of Ramiro Ibáñez as oenologist Juan took the decision to sell his own brands, and with great success.
1993, he bought 1,800 well-seasoned American oak butts, each of 30 arrobas (or
500 litres) capacity. Then he bought a Manzanilla solera of 400 butts the same
size as well as young wines from the Pago el Cuadrado vineyards. Eager to keep
on improving, in 2000 he bought the old Pedro Domecq bodega in the Calle
Alcoba, along with the Manzanilla Maruja soleras which once belonged to
Fernando A de Terry. These were moved to the bodega in Calle Trasbolsa where
conditions were now perfect for Manzanilla.
The Terry label for Maruja
being keen to offer a bigger range of wines, he bought another old bodega in
the historic centre of Jerez, in the Calle Francisco Javier. This bodega
extends to 800 square metres, has an earth floor, high roof and thick walls to
regulate the heat, and houses the solera Fino Camborio which once also belonged
to Fernando A de Terry in El Puerto de Santa María. There are also 750 very old
American oak butts of very old Oloroso which he bought.
Juan Pinero's label for Maruja
consists of - from Sanlúcar:
Maruja: over 8 years old, El Hornillo must fermented at vineyard 8 criaderas and 8-10 sacas per year.
Manzanilla Jarona: as above but over 3 years old, 3 criaderas, 8-10 sacas (jarona is slang for "vague")
at over 15 years old,
at much the same age
about 25 years old
sweet wines: Moscatel at about 7 years, Cream at about 12 years and PX at about
Manzanilla Maruja has an interesting history. In the early XX century tastes
were changing from heavier Olorosos to a lighter style. Manzanilla took off and
bodegueros wanted some. Fernando A de Terry wanted to register one as “Maria”
but was prevented from doing so as there was already a biscuit of this name. He
ended up with the most similar sounding name he could think of, Maruja, (which
while a girl’s name, also translates roughly as “housewife” or “maid”). The
Civil War ruined business in the domestic market, but it picked up again in the
1940s and Maruja was popular. The solera, in reality Fino, was at El Puerto but
was refreshed until the mid- 1950s with large amounts of Manzanilla bought from
Barbadillo. This worked well till Manzanilla started to go out of fashion again
and as the soleras were no longer refreshed with it, the wine became almost
Amontillado and then back to Fino again. In 1985 Terry was bought after the expropriation of Rumasa by Allied
Domecq which was dismembered in 2005 by Beam and Pernod Ricard, and Terry along
with the Maruja soleras went to Beam, and ultimately to Juan Piñero. So this
wine has had many guises since it began.
Address: Calle Trasbolsa, 35, 11540 Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Cádiz