Wednesday, 7 October 2015

What is Manifiesto 119?

This communist-sounding title is that of a group of winemakers and bodegueros from Jerez, El Puerto, Sanlúcar and Chiclana, all with very inquiring minds. They have got together to do what they can to raise the profile of the wines of Cádiz by recuperating old vine varieties from the XIX century, making unfortified Sherry and giving more importance to grape cultivation in the vineyards. The title refers to the 119 grape varieties recorded in Andalucía by the eminent botanist and ampelographer Simón Rojas Clemente, who in the early XIX century noted 40 in Cádiz alone, as well as drawing a viticultural map of Andalucía.

On the 20th September last, the group celebrated their first public get-together at the legendary Er Guerrita in Sanlúcar where they offered a tasting of their wines and explained their plans. Members of the illustrious group are: flying winemaker Ramiro Ibáñez, Guillermo (Willy) Pérez of bodegas Luís Pérez, Armando Guerra of Er Guerrita, Primitivo Collantes owner of the eponymous bodega, growers and winemakers Rocío Áspera and Alejandro Narváez who run Bodegas Forlong and Francisco and José Blanco of Viña La Callejuela. They are not the only people experimenting and other inquiring minds are welcome to join them.

The group tasting at Er Guerrita (foto:cosasdecomer)
Primitivo Collantes has already planted 1,700 vines of the old variety Rey or Mantúo in Chiclana. Other old grapes being revived are the Perruna and the red Tintilla. The group feels that the Palomino itself could do better with more care in the vineyard and attention to the terroir. For the tasting Ramiro brought his Pitijopos (I think it means dragonflies), six different wines all from 2014 and all Palomino, but from different vineyards. Callejuela brought their 2012 vintage Manzanilla en rama. The group would like to see the recuperation of the casas de viña as this would help with vineyard work and offer a cultural and tourist attraction.

Unfortified Sherry is another of their ideas. Willy Pérez has already been experimenting and has shown it is perfectly possible by simply keeping an eye on the ripening of the grapes and what happens in the bodega. His wines are coming along nicely. The group plans to hold regular meetings to exchange ideas and keep coming up with new ones, and to work with anyone to restore the wine to its rightful place.

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