Monday, 21 December 2015

Bodegas: Arfe SL

Like any good Jerezano, Luís Arroyo Felices dreamed of his own bodega to occupy himself during retirement. After a 35 year career as an oenologist for Bobadilla, Osborne and the last 20 of them with Garvey, his opportunity arose in the year 2000 when the firm went into liquidation and he had to retire earlier than expected. He had bought a very old bodega in the Calle Molino del Viento in the heart of the old bodega district in the highest part of the Barrio San Miguel. The very old bodega had been restored in 1767 by its then owners, the Orbaneja family, and a stone plaque on the first pillar recounts this. It had once belonged to Cabeza y Zarco. The bodega name is an acronym of Luís’ surnames.

The plaque on the pillar with the Cruz (photo:bodega)
The small 300 square metre bodega consists of a row of semi-circular arches down the length of the centre which support a pitched roof. The central andana (row of butts) is fitted under the arches while the other two are against the walls. Some butts are stacked under arches at the end of the building.

Bodega interior (foto:bodega)
He decided not to buy old soleras, of which there was no shortage at the time, and instead bought sobretablas from the 2000 vintage, already fortified to 17%, from a cooperative in Chipiona as he does not own vineyards. He bought enough to fill the 216 butts he had bought, all of which were over 40 years old and seasoned with Fino. He prefers to buy musts from coastal areas like Sanlucar and Chipiona to feed the soleras. The plan had originally been to make VOS and VORS wines for which there would have been a long time to wait, but in the end his wine was already so good at 15 years old that he decided to put it onto the market in October 2015.

During this time much of the wine, which he had intended to be Oloroso had begun showing distinct signs of the finesse associated with Palo Cortado,  and he was able to concentrate on that, earning the reputation of being the only bodega in the Marco de Jerez to produce only Palo Cortado. He does, in fact also produce small amounts of Fino Amontillado and Oloroso, all under the name Club Arfe. The star wine is his Sacristia Especial De La Cruz de 1767 Palo Cortado, launched in October 2015, but available only in limited quantities. The total output is some 6,000 unfiltered bottles annually.

Visits? Possibly but by appointment
Address: Calle Molino del Viento, 12, 11401 Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz
Telephone: 956 348 191
Website: arfe

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