Friday, 20 November 2015

20.11.15 Brandy Cheese; More on BIB

Get your tastebuds around this latest gourmet idea: top quality cheese steeped in top quality Jerez brandy!  Cheese producer Reny Picot and Williams & Humbert have got together to create this wonderfully tasty limited edition product which will be promoted throughout the Christmas period.

Master cheesemakers Reny Picot, based at Fresno de la Ribera (Zamora) have produced a traditional ewes milk cheese called Señorío de Montelarreina Gran Reserva to a centuries old formula, which  was the winner of a silver medal at last year’s World Cheese Awards among many other accolades. The quality of the cheese is due, like that of Jerez, to climate, soil and location both of the sheep and the dairy, which are in a mountainous area.

The cheese has been steeped in Gran Duque de Alba Gran Reserva brandy giving it an even more intense flavour. It is available whole or in 250g.packs and they recommend it with fine table wine, but it sounds to me to be the perfect partner for a good old Sherry, which can so easily deal with that intensity of flavour.

The artisan BIB bodegas in Sanlúcar say they are being “persecuted” by the Consejo. They are soliciting the help of the Junta vice president, Manuel Jiménez Barrios who visited Sanlúcar on Wednesday, to get more power of decision making on affairs which exclusively affect Sanlúcar wine, including the possibility of an independent decision making body. They are defending the sale of bulk wine in general and especially in BIB rather than garrafa, a measure which they say was endorsed a while ago in a Consejo report, a copy of which they have sent to the Junta.

After the meeting the Manzanilleros complained to Jiménez Barrios about the “total and absolute” lack of decision making power in the DO Manzanilla which is actually controlled by Fedejerez. In order to rectify this and prevent “the continued loss of bodegas, vineyards and jobs” the group reminded him that the rules of the Consejo contemplate decision making on Manzanilla affairs in Sanlúcar. Certainly the rules include the possibility of setting up a commission to deal with the specific affairs of any of the DOs, but any decisions would still have to go before a plenary at the Consejo which has the final say.

For the moment the rebels have not requested such a commission because they know that Manzanilla only has one representative out of twenty in a plenary which would make it extremely difficult to make any headway. They are not proposing a separate DO but rather to have a separate parallel plenary relating specifically to Manzanilla. As far as their complaints about the “harassment” they claim to suffer from the Consejo are concerned, and which they reported to Jiménez Barrios, they denounced the fact that the day following their meeting with him, an unannounced visit took place by inspectors from the Consejo’s Control and Certification department, a most unusual event according to a spokesperson.

The Consejo has emphatically denied this accusation, saying it would be difficult to do their job if they gave notice and thus give any lawbreaker the chance to conceal their activities. All members are treated equally and it is the purpose of the Consejo to ensure that rules are obeyed and not to look the other way when people explicitly say they are going to break them (alluding to the rebels’ plans to sell BIB Manzanilla). Despite their disapproval of the inspectors’ unannounced visit they claim they have nothing to hide and that the quality of their wine is infinitely higher than that of those who would wish harm (meaning Fedejerez) to those working in an ever more concentrated business in which the interests of a few are imposed on the rest.

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