Friday, 31 July 2015

International Sherry Week

In only 3 months' time it will be International Sherry Week, 2-8 November. This event is now global and Sherry lovers around the world will be celebrating with  food and Sherry matching events, tastings, Sherry cocktails and many other ways of enjoying this wonderful wine. There's no time to lose, NOW is the moment to start planning your own Sherry event, and to do so simply visit the website www.isherryweek.com for all the information you need and to register your event free. Anyone can do it, all you need is a love of Sherry and its culture - and some friends to impress!


Thursday, 30 July 2015

30.7.15 More Awards for Sherry

In the III edition of the wine competition “Catatalentos”, open for the first time to fortified wines, three Sherries won awards. Manzanilla Maruja from Juan Piñero took the crianza biológica award while the crianza oxidative went to Palo Cortado Leonor from González Byass and the sweet went to Moscatel Pasas from César Florido. The event is organised by the chemicals giant BASF who want to showcase the quality and variety of Spanish wines. Interestingly the winning wine were chosen in a blind tasting by the bodegueros, oenologists and growers themselves.

Juan Pinero receives his award (foto:diariojerez)

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

29.7.15 Don’t Call it Sherry, Call it Jerez

In Spain it is identified with Andalusian folklore and in Britain as a drink for grandmothers. Broadly speaking these are the two great barriers to consumption which Sherry faces according to a report by the DYM Institute commissioned by the Consejo, the main conclusions of which were presented at a meeting of the Consejo yesterday.

The study interviewed wine drinkers between the ages of 30 and 50 but who were not Sherry drinkers in Britain (London and Manchester) and Spain (Madrid and Barcelona). The object was to discover why they avoid Sherry and to try to break down those barriers. There will not be time until after the summer to sit down with the marketing people from the bodegas to analyse the study’s conclusions, but in yesterday’s summary the author of the report pointed out that it would be worthwhile to promote the name Jerez rather than Sherry.

Classic image of Sherry (foto:dailyrecord)
The consumers of other wines than Sherry who were interviewed have two basic problems with it which explain their inclination towards other wines. Firstly they know nothing about it and find it difficult to obtain in their usual wine shops, and secondly they see its image as outmoded being associated in Spain with Andalucía and in Britain with grandmothers. César Saldaña, director of the Consejo says that the study’s conclusion is that the image of Sherry is a psychological barrier to non- Sherry-drinkers who have a negative image of it and don’t even realise it is a wine.

After the harvest the Consejo and the bodegas will sit down to study the advisability of incorporating the fairly drastic changes into publicity to overcome these barriers, though the use of the name Sherry may not need to be abandoned but rather toned down. This way the Consejo would look for a way of approaching new consumers, especially in the British market, by disconnecting from the negative image of Sherry and instead promoting Jerez for wines like Finos, Manzanillas, Olorosos more efficiently.


César Saldaña said that the Consejo’s communication strategy is still to be worked out, pointing out that the negative image highlighted by the study only took into account non Sherry drinkers. He explained that the chosen premise of the study was to find out why consumers of other wines don’t drink Sherry and so the DYM Institute had organised discussion groups with in-depth interviews.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

28.7.15 Highest Points for Sherry in Guía Peñín 2016; Awards for Williams & Humbert

Carlos González, director of the Guía Peñín, is a self-confessed Sherry lover whose passion is reflected in the scores for the 2016 edition of the prestigious guide, where Sherry gets the highest average score of 91.67 points. Sherry and Manzanilla beat Priorato (90.07) by over 1.5 points despite the latter’s spectacularly good 2013 vintage which merited a special mention. In 3rd place were the wines of Valdeorras with an average score of 89.07.

After the exhausting round of tastings which began in Jerez in January, the Guía Peñín is currently being published and printed to be available in October, coinciding with the XVI Guía Peñín Best Wines of Spain Show. The tasters held a re-tasting of all the wines which scored over 94 points, and there were no fewer than 370 of them.

Carlos Gonzalez at work in Jerez (foto:diariojerez)
The 2016 edition has a record-breaking 11,200 wines tasted, of which 200 were Sherries, and this year they have included special editions such as Finos and Manzanillas en Rama. While tasting in Jerez, the Peñín director noted how good the wines were, highlighting the good moment Sherry is experiencing. He said that in the guide’s 26 years of existence no wine had been awarded 100 points, but if any wine deserved it, it would be Sherry. Further, he said that Sherry has always given dignity to the array of wines produced in Spain, and urged readers of the guide to try Sherry, which too many think is a wine for connoisseurs only, but in fact is a wine with styles to suit everyone.

Overall, the tastings have seen increased average points for 24 Dos and reduced points for 40 others with one remaining the same. In the preamble to the guide, it is noted that nearly 1,000 wines from new producers were tasted, varying from small to large. Straightforward wines with international inspiration which reflect the regeneration inspired by young winemakers in Spain.


 At the recent Wines from Spain Competition in London, Williams & Humbert took the two Awards for the Fortified Category. The wines were Manzanilla Alegría and Dos Cortados VOS 20 Years Old. The competition is for the best Spanish wines in various categories which are available in the UK.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

An Interview with Manuel Lozano of Lustau

Juan P Simó talks to Lustau’s chief Oenologist in today's Diario de Jerez

Wine as it used to be. No noise, no fuss. He collected his seventh “Oscar” at the Park Lane Hilton hotel in London at midnight on Thursday in front of over a thousand world wine experts. Then he flew back to Jerez bearing his seventh consecutive World’s Best Fortified Winemaker award from the International Wine & Spirit Challenge. Manuel Lozano Salado (Jerez 1954) is calm, straightforward, serene, unchanging. He is not one for razzmatazz, just the day to day work in the bodega, as always. We are talking with a wine lover, mad about Sherry who has dedicated 40 years of his life to it.

Have you never changed?
I live in a regulated sort of way; I have the same friends as always, I buy the same medicine in the same pharmacy as always; I have a drink in the same bar as always however good it is, because life’s like that.

How did it all start?
I grew up in a restaurant environment. My parents had bars, restaurants, beaches, clay pigeon shooting and the Hotel Comercio in Calle Doña Blanca. Through all that I came into contact with the world of wine. I got to know all sorts of wines especially the “medio tapón” (younger Finos sold cheaply in bars). There was no television and the hours were short and in December there were the afternoon drinks, occasions where I learned a lot from comments at the bar or from the more knowledgeable people who worked in bodegas. Also my father had contacts with the wine salesmen who would sit down and discuss wines and prices.

And you paid attention?
I loved it but it wasn’t studied then. It was a case of mouth to mouth or visiting a bodega as a child and taking in the sights and sounds and slowly becoming a wine professional. There were no degrees and I had to do some training in Madrid going on to professional education. You came out as a technician in viticulture and oenology which later got me into a bodega.

Nobody mentored you, you had to be self-taught?
I had no mentor. My father, who knew various bodega representatives, used to take me to visit the bodegas. I was only ten but it was the only way to find out what one could never know.

What must the good oenologist know?
The oenologist must have an in depth knowledge of what is in the bodega. It is not just working with wine but managing a bodega. One has to enter the world of cost competitivity as wines of the same quality at a lower price give the bodega a better margin. The romance of the past has gone, what matters now is management and results.

Manuel and some of his awards (foto:Pascual/diariodejerez)

In Jerez we have always had very good oenologists.
José Ignacio Domecq, “La Nariz” (the “nose”), is a clear example. With him people could count on ways to study abroad and get a good training. Those who studied at his side like senior bodega foremen learned the day to day work and managed everything related to the business side of the wine. They were fine tasters classifying wine from butt to butt. There was the language of the chalk, marking each butt carefully and watching its evolution. It used to be done solely with the nose, a venencia and a glass.

You started from the bottom.
I started working my first vintages with González Byass. You need to do it that way, from the bottom.  Even just hosing the bodega has to be well done. Things were done traditionally then and you even had to know which wind was blowing so you could close the windows against the Levante and open them at night to let in the Poniente or the moisture, which would blow away the heat of the day.

And then you entered a bodega?
When I finished my studies I started in the laboratory at Fernando A deTerry. I worked there for 22 years. I began as an analyst of wine, brandy and vinegar. I started in 1983. Those were the years of merging of bodegas and companies after the collapse and expropriation of Rumasa. Terry went to Harveys where I continued in bodega production.

Are you one of those who think these prizes have less value here than in other countries?
I move around the world a lot and they have different values in different countries. In fact the oenologist goes out on the streets a lot to help the salesmen. That wasn’t done before, but it is now. He does tastings, food matching… Have you ever seen so many chefs on television? Before, we didn’t even know them, but it has worked, now people drink less but know more about wine.

But these things are not easy to achieve.
Absolutely. Five thousand fortified wines might enter the competition and be analysed and tasted by a jury of specialists who award marks. We can bring some 50 blends, usually not well known around here but certainly internationally. Since Lustau exports over 90% these things sell a lot of it. And if you go around doing tastings, explaining how the wine is made, you meet the customer who is going to drink it. This is added value which didn’t exist before.

I have read that you are optimistic for Sherry.
I love Sherry. It should be remembered that it was once the biggest selling wine in the world. It will come back. It has certainly gone through some bad times and the multinationals have done it no favours, but most bodegas are now back in family hands. I am optimistic, I see the bottle half full. I used to be worried about the average age of Sherry drinkers, but I am now seeing young people drinking it in tabancos with interest. A lot has changed and quickly.



But the majority of young people still drink long drinks.
That’s certainly true; I think we are lacking something here which is the culture of Sherry.

That has been a great mistake, to allow the loss of Sherry culture.
There are actually schools which visit bodegas who give them a glass of grape juice after they have seen what a butt is and the different types of Sherry. They are told that this is what once supported the economy of Jerez along with lots of related businesses like label printers, bottle makers and bottle cap makers, an enormous industry related to Sherry, but it has all gone.

We are hearing about new formulas to re-launch the wine. What do you think of 100% Jerez?
I think it is meaningless. The key to Sherry is the solera system and there the alcohol is mixed in over many years until a homogeneous wine of whatever type comes out. It can't be 100% Jerez. Maybe this idea comes from people who have more grapes than they need. And it is good marketing. The fortifying spirit is rectified to 96%/vol and about 18-20 litres of it goes into a butt containing about 500 litres to bring the wine up to 15%/vol, but it gives no noticeable organoleptic character whether the grapes were Airén or Palomino.

Another matter is Bag-in-Box (BIB)…
BIB is the same as wines sold in tetrabrik with lower quality and price, while wines with a bottle and cork are better quality at a higher price, they are not the same. And another thing: like it or not, the Cionsejo has its rules and we have to respect them. If you want to sell BIB then leave the Consejo. And it is not a substitute for the garrafa as the mayor of Sanlúcar says.

So the usual problems look like dragging on forever?
Sherry’s trajectory is still to be resolved. It sells for less than it is worth, it has a great capital value some of which evaporates because it must be in the solera for a minimum of 2 years. Also nobody knows how to sell it nor even lay the foundations to keep building. What wine with crianza bialogica can cost €5 in a supermarket? What do the label and bottle cost?

Or what does the time cost?
Nobody pays for that… but we need to know how to sell it. We have lost time messing about and not investing more so that Sherry is not seen as a wine past its sell-by date, a wine for old people. And why are we not investing more time and money in educating people about Sherry? People in shops don’t know the difference between a Palo Cortado and an Amontillado.

What is your favourite Sherry?
That depends on the circumstances and the moment, how it is served, what temperature and how well it has been looked after.

Excuse me, we’re suffering from the heat. Can you give us a full bodied wine - cold?
That’s not the usual way to serve it. Best to drink an Oloroso or Amontillado at the bodega temperature, 14-15 degrees.

Never cold despite the temperature?
When taken cold it concentrates the aromas but the colder it gets the less the aromas expand.

Something to eat alongside it? A tapa or something perhaps?
Here in Jerez it is neither the custom nor the tradition to serve a tapa with a drink, but if so, it is probably the bar trying to promote the tapas. However the glass should be appropriate-those new, more open ones which don’t concentrate the aromas but open them.








Saturday, 25 July 2015

Sherry in New York in 1786

Jerez academic José Luís Jiménez has come up with a really interesting document showing the importation of Sherry to New York in 1786. Although Sherry was already imported during British rule, it increased after independence in 1776. The first president, George Washington, drank it in his punch and Thomas Jefferson had his Sherry sent to him by the US consul in Cádiz, Joseph Iznardi.

Little or nothing is known about the role played in the flow of wine to the East coast of this new country by the European merchants Dominick Lynch (Galway 1754-New York 1825) and Thomas Stoughton (1748-1826). Moving from Bruges to New York before his partner in 1783, Stoughton built new and pioneering networks of trade with Spain and Spanish America, keeping a ledger which survives of his costs and profits.



He imported Madeira, Sherry, Málaga and Tenerife wines as well as brandy, lemons and raisins from Spain and southeast Europe. He imported sugar, coffee, silver and “Nicarauan wood” from Cuba and central America. At the same time he exported flour and wood to Dublin, Amsterdam, Cádiz and the Spanish and French islands of the Caribbean. He was even the Spanish consul in New York from 1794 till 1812, and his relatives maintained business and family relations with Spain.

There are one or two really interesting things in this page from the ledger. Firstly that these accounts are in British pounds, shillings and pence, coming from a time just before the Dollar was in use - yet the raisins are priced in Dollars and Sterling. Secondly the types of wine are not specified. You can't argue with the prices though!

Friday, 24 July 2015

24.7.15 Grape Prices; Culture in El Puerto; Racing & Flamenco in Sanlúcar

Sherry grapes are the cheapest in Spain
A very interesting article in today’s Diario de Jerez by Á Espejo

The wine business in Jerez is going back to its old ways. The first soundings between growers and bodegas to establish supply and price agreements for the forthcoming harvest show a decrease in price for the Palomino, by far the most cultivated grape. After the truce in recent harvests which ended with rising grape prices, the first DO in Spain, now 80 years old, appears condemned to be at the bottom of price tables and earn the title of the cheapest grapes in Spain.

The bodegas are holding surplus stocks to avoid shortages over future years and the increase in value of Sherry in recent times has not compensated for falling sales, a trend for many years now which shows no signs of changing in the short term. The demand for grapes therefore is low and is concentrated in a few bodegas who are pressurising growers to reduce prices which are already barely profitable and moreover insisting on quality in the fight to recover Sherry’s lost prestige.

Sherry harvest (foto:Vanesa Lobo/diariodejerez)

The big bodegas own sufficient vineyard to cover their requirements with Estévez doubling their holdings over recent years and González Byass reactivating planting rights with a view to the restructuring of some of their vineyards which, after some years of rest are in production again. Furthermore, many small and medium sized bodegas have been left in a very difficult position as a result of both the economic crisis and the sales crisis to the point where in order to survive they have been selling finished wine to bodegas in a better position and thus occupying the place of defunct almacenistas.

In this context the growers have very few choices except Barbadillo, the biggest buyer of grapes – although a lot goes for the production of the table wine Castillo San Diego – who have let it be known that they will pay one céntimo less per kilo this year which equates to a price drop of 2.7%. Last year the growers suffered a drop in price of 7.7% making the price over 10% less than 3 years ago.

Worse still, the growers have to face paying the levy on grape production reintroduced this year by the Consejo after the increase in the levy on bodegas for Sherry sold. By this means the Consejo was able to increase its budget by 50% for generic promotion. The levy producers have to pay was re-introduced after the recuperation of prices in previous years: from €0.24 in 2011/12 to €0.39 in 2013/14. Nevertheless the situation began to change last year with the first drop in prices and this is threatening to repeat itself.

Fernando Cordoba, Manuel Lozano and Angel Leon at the bodega

The Castillo de San Marcos in El Puerto was the scene of the announcement of this year’s Ciclo Cultural, an up-market gastronomic event organised by Luis Caballero. There will be three events, on the 6th, the 13th and the 20th of August. The first two will be led by Manuel Lozano, chief oenologist at Lustau and recent winner for the 7th time of the best fortified winemaker award at the International Wine Challenge. The third will be led by two of Andalucía’s most outstanding chefs: Fernando Córdoba of Restaurante El Faro who specialises in food from the land, and Ángel León of Restaurante Aponiente who specialises in food from the sea. Both restaurants are in El Puerto. There will be plenty of Sherry expertly matched with outstanding food. Places are limited and tickets can be bought at www.ticketea.com


This year’s horse racing on the Piletas beach at Sanlúcar will take place on the following dates: 12, 13 and 14 August then 26,27 and 28 August. A total of 85 horses are registered in this, the 170th year of these historic and wonderful races.

Horses on Piletas beach (foto:VictorLopez/lavozdigital)

This year’s Noches de Bajo de Guia flamenco festival will take place in the gardens of the Palacio Municipal on the evenings of the 21 and 22 August. Pride of place will be given to local artists and this year it will not be a competition as before. The Palace was built by the Duc de Monpensier whose descendants established the bodega Infantes de Orleans Borbón and now belongs to the city council.

A new festival is being prepared for Sanlúcar. The I Feria del Langostino will celebrate the local seafood and in particular the famous local langostino. A date has yet to be fixed.


Thursday, 23 July 2015

23.7.15 Wine & Brandy Routes of Jerez Doing Well

ACEVIN (Asociación Española de Ciudades del Vino) has published visitor figures for bodegas in the Jerez area for 2014, which put them in second position in Spain after Penedés in Cataluña. The Jerez routes received 444,427 visitors, only about 5,000 behind Penedés. Last year the Jerez routes saw an increase of about 13,000 people.



According to ACEVIN, Jerez and Penedés benefit from their proximity to tourist centres such as the Costas and large cities like Barcelona and Sevilla while having some of the most visited bodegas in Spain. Last year the total number of visitors to bodegas and wine museums in Spain as a whole rose to 2,124,229 and they spent over €42.5 million.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

22.7.15 80th Anniversary Conference at Consejo

El Vino de Jerez Durante 80 Años de la Denominación de Origen 1935-2015 is the title of a scientific conference to be held in Jerez as part of the 80th anniversary celebrations of Spain’s first DO. The conference, organised by the Consejo and the University of Cádiz, will analyse in a scientific manner eight decades of Sherry’s intense and complex history. The event will take place at the Consejo on Thurs. 26th, Fri. 27th and the morning of Sat.28th November. 


This important conference will have six central themes:

* The Consejo Regulador and other representative Sherry institutions during the 20th century
* Modernisation of winemaking and technical innovation in the production of Sherry over the last 80    years
* Urban development, renovation of architecture and patrimony of the Sherry bodegas
* Communication and image of Sherry in the last 80 years
* The traditional Sherry markets and their evolution in the last 80 years
* The business structure of the bodegas from 1935 till the present

There will be nine key lectures focusing on and developing these fundamental themes. The event will finish up with two round tables which will be attended by representatives of different aspects of the Sherry business. In parallel with the aforementioned events, there will be various others, such as visits to bodegas and vineyards and tastings which will be included in the programme.

Tickets will go on sale in September at a price of €40 with a 50% discount for students, the retired or unemployed. There will only be places for 100 people. One can participate either as a speaker or as a registered member of the audience. For further information see www.sherry.org/2.0


22.7.15 Chipiona Festival del Moscatel; Sherry in Top 20 World Wineries

For the 35th year the Moscatel Festival will take place in Chipiona between the 13th and 16th of August. It will begin with the pregón (opening speech) accompanied by a tasting of Moscatel served by venencia from the Cooperative Católico Agrícola at the Plaza Andalucía.

Next evening bodegas José Mellado Martín will be serving Moscatel by venencia at the plaza for the Carnival evening. The well-known group Ecos del Rocío will perform the following evening at the Colegio Príbcipe Felipe and there will be a tasting of Moscatel from César Florido, also served by venencia. The festival will end with an equestrian festival of the association of disabled children.

It is also announced that the Chipiona’s Semana Cultural Rocío Jurado will take place 24th-28th of August, and the singer Isabel Fayos will be taking part. Rocío was a great singer born in Chipiona, where most of the Moscatel found in the Sherry area comes from.

Last year's pregon (foto:lavozdigital.es)

 The International Association of Wine & Spirit Writers and Journalists have chosen this year’s list of the 100 best wineries in the world, and six Spanish bodegas feature in the top 20. As far as Sherry is concerned, Emilio Lustau are in 7th place and González Byass are in 11th place. The wineries were chosen based on the number of medals won in international competitions in 2014.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

21.7.15 Junta Inspects BIB Bodegas; Manuel Lozano Does it Again;

The Food Quality Service of the Junta has made the first inspections at bodegas in Sanlúcar and Jerez which had been denounced by the Consejo and Fedejerez for selling wine in the illegal Bag-in-Box (BIB) format. Technical staff have taken samples of the wine in question and will analyse it at their laboratory to determine whether to proceed with administrative sanctions.

Apart from this possible infraction, the regulations state that it is illegal to fortify a wine from outside a Denominación de Origen (DO)which permits it, such as Jerez. The technical people have been checking the labelling of these products, which are forbidden to use terms protected by the DO such as Jerez, Sanlúcar, Fino, Manzanilla etc. and allusive terms such as Fina, en Rama etc. They are also checking whether the contents are stated on the packaging.

The inspections come barely a month after the Junta received complaints from the Consejo and Fedejerez about the proliferation of BIB. For their part the BIB producers have enlisted the support of the mayor of Sanlúcar and maintain that this format offers advantages of hygiene and transportability. Nonetheless, the Consejo has repeatedly refused to authorise it and it will remain illegal until they do.

Meanwhile the Junta’s Consumer Goods inspectors have launched a campaign to stop the use of BIB to refill empty Manzanilla bottles. This is also illegal but not uncommon in bars and restaurants.

Chief oenologist at Lustau, Manuel Lozano has been awarded the International Wine Challenge (IWC) title of Best Fortified Winemaker in the World for the seventh consecutive year. This has never happened before in the long history of the prestigious international competition. The grandeur of this honour contrasts with Manuel’s modesty as he considers it a “personal and professional satisfaction.”

In a press release Lustau underlined that his passion, dedication and lifetime’s experience dedicated to the wines of Jerez are reflected in the character and personality of some unique wines which won 45 medals, 10 of them Golds. The firm notes that the IWC is like the “Oscars” of the world of wine.


Monday, 20 July 2015

An Interview with José Ramón Estévez

This is an interview by Jesús A Cañas in La Voz Digital with the president of Grupo Estévez.

These are new times for the bodegas of Jerez. While the production of spirits is nothing new, what is new is your commitment to this line of business demonstrated by the launch of new products. Since 1998 Estévez has been producing 50 brands for the supermarket Mercadona and understands the bodegas’ situation perfectly.

How would you describe the adaptability of Jerez?
Very positive. Historically Sherry has had a great capacity to adapt itself to changes in fashion and requirements of the market. From the production of a large range of wines which satisfy different tastes to the production of brandy, liqueurs and Ponche. This diversification allows us to invest in quality: research and development, equipment and human resources which benefit everything.

Would you say that the future of Jerez rests on the exploration of new avenues?
The future rests on changing the status quo and doing things differently. I believe that the most important thing is to put quality at the very centre of things. We need to start with the raw material, the land, the grapes, we must follow a sustainable agro-alimentary chain in which all those involved can make money, invest and improve quality and processes. That would position us in the marketplace as a quality product. We need a change of philosophy along with innovation, diversification and proper promotion of our products.

Jose Ramon in one of the firm's well-known bodegas (foto:lavozdigital)

Where does the Sherry business find itself now?
In a historic moment. I believe the crisis has bottomed out, that qualified grapes will soon fetch 100 pesetas the kilo. Here we still use the old peseta when referring to grape prices! We must change our image and invest our resources wisely, positioning ourselves with a business model based on quality, image and profitability. This would mean defending the Denominación de Origen (DO) and fighting seriously against abuses and appropriation of our image which we have put up with up till now, and the institutions and administrations should take action in these matters which do so much damage to Sherry. I would like to see a Denominación de Origen Calificada (higher than DO) which would presuppose that all our raw materials would be from Palomino, be they concentrated must or alcohol. That would mean added value for bodegas and distributors, create jobs and increase sales. It would be good for everybody.

Do you think that wine tourism could be another possible avenue for economic diversification?
The commitment to wine tourism has already been successful in other wine regions of the world and it something which would no doubt help Sherry. It is an experience which helps people to understand at first hand a great deal about wine culture, something fundamental in our case. At Estévez we are developing a wine tourism programme with visits and activities in the vineyard. We have completely renovated the vineyard house at Viña Bristol and have adapted it so that visitors can enjoy a full experience at our vineyards. They can wander about and get a feel for the albariza soil, and even do a few jobs like aserpiado (creating a depression at the foot of the vine to catch rainwater), pruning or grafting.

The quality of the wines of Jerez is well enough known but not that of the other alcoholic drinks. What would you say about that?
In many cases there is the risk of mistaking a product at an offer or special price for a low quality product, but it is not like that. Our products beat other brands of recognised prestige every time we do a blind tasting, so little by little they are gaining recognition.

Recently people have been talking about a general improvement as a result of the crisis coming to an end. Can it really be seen in the bodegas?

It has been a very hard crisis and the demand for alcoholic drinks has been as badly affected as other products. Wines and spirits form part of our culture but are not necessities. Nevertheless, every crisis brings experience and opportunity. For us they have been years of analysis, improvement of processes, reduction of excess costs, innovation and reinventing ourselves every day. In fact, after years of imbalance between supply and demand stability has come as has a new interest in Sherry. This is a great opportunity to change things. It is time to elevate our products to a position of quality and it is thus necessary to invest the necessary resources into marketing and promotion. You need to do things well right from the start, right from the land to finish up with a unique, genuine and profitable product.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

19.7.15 High Temperatures Make for Early Harvest

The high temperatures of recent weeks and particularly in the first fortnight of July, which saw one heatwave after the other following that which engulfed the whole country at the end of June do not seem to have adversely affected the vineyards. The only noticeable effect in the inland vineyards is the advanced state of maturity since the nights have been warm too and the grapes fatten, while in the cooler coastal vineyards things are much the same as normal.

The growers nevertheless are hoping for a bit more Levante wind between now and harvest which would bring dryness and balance the development of the grapes. Without this, the growers expect the harvest to be a week earlier than last year. According to growers’ president, Francisco Guerrero, the harvest could be generally under way in the middle of August. Last year it was underway in the first fortnight, but traditionally most of it takes place in September.

Harvesting in 2014 (foto:diariodejerez)

The Consejo still lacks enough information to announce a possible start date but they expect to begin surveying the vineyards shortly to gather information to be presented at the next meeting scheduled for the end of this month. The Consejo director, César Saldaña noted that the accelerated maturation of the grapes has been balanced by dewfall during the nights.

The growers and the Consejo are still forecasting a very similar harvest to that of last year which brought in 65 million kilos giving an average yield of 10,000 kilos per hectare. Last year was 20% short of the exceptional 2013, but 2014 and the predicted harvest for 2015 are within the norm. Although it will be a fairly small harvest, the Consejo is happy that there will be enough mosto to replace stocks. Curiously, this year the budding of the vines was a little late due to lower than usual rainfall, but it caught up again and the harvest will be early. Such dry periods can lead to insect problems, but the grapes are healthy thanks to effective treatment against the green mosquito and the bunch moth.


Friday, 17 July 2015

17.7.15 Fedejerez Attacks Sanlúcar Mayor; Vodka Made from Sherry

After Victor Mora, the Mayor of Sanlúcar’s wholehearted support for “Manzanilla” in bag-in-box, (BIB) Fedejerez president Evaristo Babé has criticised his support for an illegal container saying that he might have been manipulated by a minority of producers. He publicly expressed his worry that the support, however well – intentioned, was given to producers who can only represent some 10% of all the Manzanilla produced, or 3% of all Sherry, rather than supporting the great majority which sustain employment, the raising of taxes and generation of wealth.

Babé said that BIB is manifestly illegal and should be prosecuted, and that he was worried that a public administration would support it. He also criticised the laxity of the Junta saying that neither the Consejo nor Fedejerez were aware of any prosecutions or sanctions despite numerous complaints by both organisations. He considers it “incomprehensible and unacceptable” that this lack of diligence has led to enormous judicial insecurity benefiting those who break the rules and hurting those who do not. The law is there to be obeyed and public administration has the obligation and responsibility to make sure it is obeyed.

Evaristo Babe (R) with Beltran Domecq

He further lamented the politicisation of the matter, saying that it is strictly a business matter and should be resolved by business. In no case should the council the Junta or the state be involved, “what kind of businessman acts like that? It would be inconceivable in Britain, Germany, Holland. With a mentality like that you can understand certain things…”

Williams & Humbert have launched a unique new vodka called “Abyssal”. Unlike most vodkas which are distilled from potatoes or cereals, this one is distilled from wine- Oloroso Sherry. It has taken three years of research to perfect it and it is distilled three times in the same traditional alembiques (copper pot stills) used to produce Brandy Solera Gran Reserva Gran Duque de Alba. The final spirit is 74%/vol and is incredibly pure.



Sold at 40%/vol, Abyssal recalls the Nordic legend of the Unicorn’s transformation into the Narwhal in the abyssal depths of the sea, and it is presented in a spherical black glass bottle resembling a black pearl. The silver plated label shows an image of the narwhal. The vodka is best consumed chilled but without ice or in cocktails. It is silky smooth with a trace of spice and makes a fantastic Bloody Mary.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

16.7.15 Sherry Tastings in London

Jose Fine Wines is organising a series of Sherry tastings in conjunction with the tapas chain La Tasca in London. If you are in London, it would be unforgivable to miss the chance to try some really good Sherry, especially as Manchego cheese and jamon serrano will be available too.

The details are:

Tuesday 21 - La Tasca Broadgate
Wednesday 22nd  -La Tasca James Street
Thursday 23rd - La Tasca Victoria

Tuesday 28th La Tasca - Covent Garden
Wednesday 29th La Tasca - Leadenhall Market
Thursday 30th La Tasca - Canary Wharf

Tickets are £20 and the times are 6.00 - 7.30. Bookings to La Tasca or enquiries@fiestanights.co.uk


Bodegas: Matthiesen Furlong & Co.

This was once an important firm, consisting of a partnership between Henry Matthiesen, and Charles Harman Furlong established in 1834. They had offices at 36 Great Tower Street in London and they acquired an old Jesuit Monastery, abandoned after the order’s expulsion by the state in 1835, which served as their rather unusual bodega.

According to Vizetelly in 1876 the nave, aisles, choir and cloisters were all crowded with butts of Sherry 3 tiers high. In the former refectory were large vats used for maturing and fining, and the largest was used for blending. There were all sorts of modern appliances such as an apparatus for steaming new butts. The firm also owned vineyard in the Pago Cuartillos NE of Jerez which produced about 200 butts. A relative, Peter Furlong owned a finca with olives and vines between Jerez and Rota near El Puerto which today is known as the Finca El Olivar de Forlón (the Spanish spelling of Furlong). A young couple is now producing creditable table wines here under the name Bodegas Forlong.

CH Furlong (foto:jerezdecine)
Charles Furlong was the British Vice Consul in Jerez between 1861 and 1868, succeeding Charles Peter Gordon who was sacked for allowing his almost fanatical Catholicism to interfere with his work and who took every opportunity to attack his successor, who was a Protestant.

By 1870 the London office had become aware that Furlong was using illegal winemaking practices and that the quality of the wines had slipped. Walter John Buck was sent out ostensibly to learn the business, but was soon able to confirm that indeed that was the case. Before long, Furlong was “retired” back to England and Buck duly replaced him at the bodega.

Walter J Buck (foto:entornoajerez)
Buck was a keen naturalist, writing “Wild Spain” and “Unexplored Spain” along with Abel Chapman, and was an accomplished musician and popular man. The Matthiesen Furlong partnership dissolved 1876 and Buck joined Sandeman, the firm changing its title to Sandeman, Buck y Cia In 1879. In the same year Sandeman took over the bankrupt firm of Pemartin.



Buck’s place was taken at Matthiesen Furlong by the Catalán Enrique Coll, who before very long decided to join the Church. In 1884 the Jesuits returned and the bodega had to be disbanded. The stocks and equipment went to José María Fernández y González, who had started a bodega business in Jerez established in 1888 and owned the Viña San Agustín.  It later passed to his successors, Fernández Gao Hermanos. It duly went to their successors, Hijos de Fernando Fernández Gao y González, before being bought out by McKenzie (established 1852), who in turn were bought out by Harveys.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

15.7.15 Seminar in Valladolid; "Uncorking Old Sherry"

Jerez academic José Luís Jiménez has been invited to participate in a seminar at the bodega Heredad de Urueña in Valladolid, home to the great wines of Ribera del Duero. The seminar, which has been held for a few years now, is organised by the Fundación Juan Díaz of the Junta and covers the culture of wine. It will be held in September.


This edition of the seminar will look into education and publicity in the bodega and the vineyard in Spain in the XIX century and there will be a complementary exhibition of early advertising. José Luís will be one of seven experts and his theme will be “A look at Sherry Over the Years.” Entrance is free, so if you can possibly be in Valladolid – and I can think of many good reasons to be there – this will be an excellent event.

José Luís has also sent me this wonderful 1805 caricature "Uncorking Old Sherry" by James Gillray, one of the great satirical artists in London of the late XVIII and early XIX centuries. It depicts the Prime Minister William Pitt in the House of Commons facing the Opposition who are represented as bottles. He is uncorking the bottle which contains the head of the liberal politician Sheridan, and froth flies in all directions expressing the latter’s excessive oratory.




Tuesday, 14 July 2015

14.7.15 Decanter Sherry Selection; Cooperatives to Join Forces

Decanter Magazine’s associate editor Tina Gellie has been picking 12 Top Value Fortified Wines, and her Sherry choices were:

Manzanilla La Gitana en Rama, Hidalgo La Gitana (£13.00 per 75cl)
Fino Tio Pepe en Rama, González Byass (£16.00 per 75cl)
Manzanilla en Rama Goya XL, Delgado Zuleta (£24.00 per 50cl)
Manzanilla en Rama Deliciosa, Valdespino (£10.00 per half)

Following the bankruptcy of the growers’ cooperative Aecovi, the seven remaining cooperatives are looking at joining forces, and looking for help from the Junta de Andalucía. It is almost ten years since the coops were last unified but that unity broke up when the Palomares and Albarizas co-ops broke away along with the Sanlúcar bodega of Aecovi amid discrepancies in grape prices to bodegas.

The seven co-ops, Angustias, Covisan, Virgen de la Caridad, Palomares, Albarizas, Católico Agricola and Unión de Viticultores Chiclaneros, want to re-group with a minimal structure but with a strong enough voice to negotiate with other bodies in the trade. To that end they have consulted FAECA, an organisation which defends the interests of coops in Andalucía, but it remains to be decided what sort of legal framework will be adopted.

Yesterday the presidents of the co-ops held a meeting with Federico Fernández, the Junta’s provincial delegate to discuss their worries and thrash out the best way to face the incertitude of the new situation. They want to make the most of their resources to increase profitability, and are thinking of introducing central buying of grapes.

The Junta supports the growers in their quest and will cooperate fully with their re-integration, and will refer the matter to other departments specialising in employment and cooperative associations. The growers must, however work together, think less individualistically and think of the longer term if they want to reinvent themselves and avoid the mistakes of the past.

In one matter there is unanimity, and that is the conversion of the area from “zona de producción” to “zona de crianza”, meaning that particularly in Trebujena and Chiclana wines could legally be aged there. This has been debated already at the Consejo, but so far without resolution. The growers’ presidents asked about the delay in the elections to the Consejo, and Fernández replied that they had been postponed to avoid coinciding with political elections.



Monday, 13 July 2015

13.7.15 Jerez has new Gastronomic Ambassador

José Ferrer Morató has been appointed by the Consejo to ensure that the wines of Jerez are present in the wine lists and cellars of the top Spanish restaurants. He will particularly target Michelin starred restaurants and those with a Repsol sun as well as those which pay special attention to their wine list, have good cellars or organise food and wine events.

This is an entirely new job to the Sherry trade and José points out that he is neither an oenologist nor a sommelier, just a communicator and passionate Sherry lover. He is a journalist to trade, who writes frequently for the newspaper El Mundo.

Jose Ferrer (foto:elmundovino)

Sherry has raised its profile dramatically in recent times with festivals all over the world, but still does not appear enough on restaurant wine lists, where consumers can come into contact with it. “They are not easy wines to understand, neither red nor normal white, they work in a different way, but match perfectly the gastronomy of Spain. Sherry doesn’t just accompany food, it interacts with it, offering different sensations. It is not merely an aperitif or dessert wine. You can start the dish with one wine finish with another and the experience will be different, and it also has the advantage of keeping longer once opened.


José is no purist, however, and just wants people to drink Sherry, be it at a gourmet meal or as a “rebujito” (Fino with 7 Up) or Cream with ice and a slice of orange. Among his missions is to work personally with chefs, head waiters and sommeliers as well as anyone involved with wine lists with the aim of improving their knowledge and releasing the potential of Sherry. He will help with wine lists and improve communication between the restaurant and the bodega.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

12.7.15 Sanlúcar Mayor Pro BIB; Latest on Harvest

The Town Council of Sanlúcar has made a stand in favour of Manzanilla producers who are flouting the wine rules in general and those of the Denominación de Origen (DO) in particular by selling declassified wines in bag-in-box (BIB), a container which is not authorised by the Consejo.
On Friday they sought explicit support from the Mayor of Sanlúcar, Victor Mora, in a ratcheting-up of the love-hate tension between Sanlúcar and Jerez, where there is also the issue of Sanluqueños being allowed to produce Fino for commercial expediency while Jerezanos cannot produce Manzanilla. Both issues remain unsolved.

BIB was the main topic of the meeting at the Council, which came out in spirited support of it, saying that the BIB is taking over from the traditional “garrafa”, the only vessel allowed by the Consejo for bulk wine, as the trade is modernising by taking advantage of this container’s superior qualities of hygiene and environmental impact. Wine is protected from the light and the air, and is more easily poured and transported.

Victor Mora meeting with Manzanilleros (foto:diariojerez)

The Consejo for its part says that BIB’s are marketed in a way which confuses the consumer, as they carry the name of the producer, Manzanilla imagery, and use terms such as “en rama” and “fina” leading people to think they are genuine Manzanilla.

Despite repeated heatwaves the harvest is looking fine so far. The worst enemy is the Levante wind which can reduce the crop, but not much has been seen of it. The predicted start date for the harvest is the 20th of August and a crop of between 67 and 70 million kilos is expected, much the same as last year, which was sufficient to restock the soleras. The grapes are healthy, and growers are crossing their fingers that it stays that way.


Saturday, 11 July 2015

Oloroso 18% Bodegas Dios Baco

Appearance
Deepish old mahogany with reddy tints fading through yellow to a trace of green at the rim, legs.
Nose
Full and deep, rich and fragrant, American oak, walnut, traces raisin, orange marmalade peel and a hint of that bodega smell of old barrels full of Sherry. Harmonious, forthcoming and nicely balanced.
Palate
Full and textured. It is dry with those up front slightly austere oak and walnut notes balanced by a glyceric feel which rounds it off, then the complexity comes through with savoury nutty notes balanced by that hint of dried fruit. This is a very good Oloroso with terrific length.
Comments
This fine Oloroso has spent 18 years ageing through a solera bought by José Páez Morilla from Palomino and Vergara in 1992, It is remarkably old and remarkably good considering this is the firm's basic Oloroso. It would be a superb accompaniment to game or old cheeses.The lovely old bodega, built in 1848, is well worth a visit and is right in the centre of Jerez.
Price
£20.45 from Spanish online deli delicioso.co.uk. This is twice the price in Spain, but the wine is probably worth it.




Friday, 10 July 2015

10.7.15 Q & A with Beltran Domecq; More on 100% Jerez

After yesterday’s Desayuno Informativo with Consejo president Beltrán Domecq in Jerez there was the chance to ask him questions. The majority of them focused on the recent announcement from Grupo Estévez that they intended to distil Palomino for fortification spirit thus making their Tio Mateo brand 100% Jerez. The president declared that he disagreed with this and that “all wine certified and supported by the Denominación de Origen (DO) is 100% Jerez.”

The wine producers were well represented and asked various questions on the current position, about such matters as supply and demand, grape prices, the possibility of promoting Sherry from DO to DOC, the proliferation of bag-in-box, all matters in some way related to the Estévez announcement which seems to be generating an element of unease. For Beltrán Domecq the debate on 100% Jerez is closed since everything in a bottle of Sherry is produced locally except a tiny proportion of fortification alcohol which has been used historically to stabilise wine for export.

He feels that if a producer wants to distil excess Palomino grapes into fortification spirit that’s fine, but it makes little sense from the technical point of view since the alcohol currently used has a strength of 95-96%/vol which is the maximum obtainable from distillation and is extremely pure – unlike in the case of Port, where the spirit is only 77%/vol. In other words the Sherry bodegas have always bought alcohol from the distilleries in La Mancha which is clean, pure and neutral and does not alter the characteristics of the wine – fundamentally its flavour.

Sr. Domecq went on to say that a wine such as that proposed by Estévez can’t be made overnight.  It will take years from fortification to final bottling due to the solera system. He also pointed out it would be difficult to certify, and that the debate was unnecessary given the more important challenges facing Sherry.

On the matter of a DOC, the president said that the Consejo had considered it and shelved it. The door is not closed, but there is a problem and that is that the bodegas would have to be dedicated to the production of Sherry only, meaning that brandy, table wine or vinegar would need to be moved to other bodegas, and this would be very costly, especially in the current situation.

Another question was about the fact that Fino can be produced in Sanlúcar, but Manzanilla cannot be produced in Jerez. This matter has been fully debated at the Consejo but due to a lack of agreement it was archived. The president’s view is that “It is obvious that the wine of Sanlúcar is Manzanilla, so there can’t be Fino of Sanlúcar, so the regulations would need to be adjusted.” On the subject of containers he said that bulk Sherry can only be sold in containers of one arroba (@ 16 litres) therefore bag-in-box is illegal and is not supported by the DO.

Many non-trade people asked questions too, and a local councillor who wondered why a Sherry label does not carry a bottling date. Beltrán Domecq did not reject the idea saying that some bodegas already print a “use by” date and always to drink Fino and Manzanilla well chilled.

He expressed his admiration for the growth of the tabancos who bring Sherry culture to young people, but lamented the mistreatment of Sherry on wine lists – even in Jerez – something he is working on. He wound up with a recommendation, one which not a few took on board, fried eggs with ham and a glass of Amontillado “which is what I feel like right now!” (at eleven in the morning).


10.7.15 Informative Breakfast with Beltrán Domecq

“People need to be made to understand that Sherry is a wine and not a spirit.”

Beltrán Domecq, an oenologist who is considered to be one of the great Sherry men, was speaking yesterday at the Hotel Jerez on the present and future of Sherry at the Desayunos Informativos (informative breakfasts) organised by the publisher Grupo Joly and sponsored by Banco Santander.

The Consejo is celebrating its 80th anniversary. It has been a long journey in which much has changed, but the purpose for which it was established has not: its fundamental dedication to the certification, protection and promotion of Sherry. 80 years on, it is facing new challenges in a much more competitive global marketplace. The institution’s president, Beltrán Domecq, is appealing for a strategy to be put in place for what he considers the “best wine in the world to continue to be a source of wealth for many years to come.”

Contrary to what might be thought, the Consejo president’s powers are limited and he has no magic wand to solve the problems of the sector, but he highlighted the intensive promotional work of recent years, saying “I firmly believe that the future of Sherry will be played out in the marketplace and not in offices.”

Beltran in full flow (foto:diariojerez - published by Grupo Joly)
After offering a few facts on the internal workings of the Consejo and some trade statistics, he went on to analyse the actual situation and the tools available to the sector to consolidate recent advances, sketching out a better future for Sherry. The president has a “feeling” that the trend has been changing over the last couple of years, and improved prices for Sherry have led to increased turnover despite reduced sales volume.

Furthermore, the president pointed out that the wine trade encompasses other associated activities which also generate wealth, for example the distribution of other drinks and food products or wine tourism, which attracts about half a million visitors to the area. Then there are the more intangible things among which he mentioned the wine as a sign of cultural identity and the principal means of international recognition of the area.

The evolution of sales of Sherry and its consumers demonstrate some of the main challenges and opportunities the sector faces, and they are not without dangers. Sr. Domecq explained that although Spain is the principal market, nearly half of the rest goes to the traditional European markets which prefer the sweeter styles like Cream, Medium and Pale Cream, but think of it more as a liqueur than a wine. On this point he considered that the sector must promote Sherry more and more as a wine. “We must link our product to the grape, to the vineyard, to gastronomy and everything to do with wine. While this might appear obvious to many, the positioning Sherry as a wine in the eyes of consumers and professionals still needs work.”

There are three types of Sherry consumer. The” traditionals”, among whom there are many women over 55 years of age who see Sherry as an aperitif but also drink it at other times of day, however their numbers are declining. The “Occasionals” consist of both sexes who drink it at fairs, celebrations or in cocktails. Then there are the “experts” who also consist of both sexes but are younger and drink it more often and more like any other white wine, but preferably with food.  Sr. Domecq encouraged the targeting of promotion towards this group which has a better grasp of the versatility and variety of Sherry, a wine which can sit with you at the table and be drunk from a more suitable glass than a copita or tasting glass.

Now that Sherry has set out again on the path of growth in value and in the hope of increased sales, the president defended “the need to define a strategy based on the criteria of identity, quality and profitability,” to consolidate recent progress and allow Sherry to continue to generate wealth for years to come. Among the proposals which could contribute to positive change, Sr. Domecq backed the incorporation of profound changes to the regulations, paying special attention to the need to make the traditional premium wines compatible with the development of other products aimed at the volume sector. The idea is to segment the range of styles taking advantage of the value of the brand “Sherry” and its implicit quality.

The president encouraged the trade to concentrate its efforts in defining what the Sherry which conquers the future should be like, its categories, types and requirements, always in accord with consumer opinion. At the same time he underscored the importance of the leading role played by the premium Sherries with their thoroughbred Jerez values of the vineyard, the ageing period etc.
He also pointed out the importance of exploring increased communication: “how to communicate with consumers, where to apply collective effort and with what message”, aspects with which the Consejo and other trade organisations are already working.


“Personally, I must say that I have loved Sherry since I was born, and that as an oenologist I am convinced that our wine is the best in the world,” declared Beltrán Domecq, who is optimistic for the future with the conviction that “ if we work together, the wines of Jerez will achieve the success they deserve.”

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Bodegas: Rafael O’Neale

Not a great deal of information is available about O’Neale, which is surprising if not totally unusual since this very old firm only disappeared in 1983. It was almost certainly the first foreign-owned bodega, but information is sketchy. It was never one of the bigger firms, but had a good reputation and survived for some 260 years.

After eleven years of war with Oliver Cromwells’ Protestant armies, there was famine in Ireland and even an outbreak of the bubonic plague. In 1652 a “settlement” was made whereby Irish Catholics were free to leave and serve with foreign armies as long as they were not at war with England but they, like the O’Neale family, would be relieved of their lands. In 1690 the battle of the Boyne led them to leave Ireland altogether in 1691 and seek their fortune where they could freely practise their Catholic faith. Such expatriates were known as the “Wild Geese”. Often there were many members of a family which complicates research.

Henry O’Neale Knoulis or Knowles was born in 1676 at Roscrea (County Tipperary) and went as a mercenary to Spain where in 1711 he married Ana María Fernández Oliveros (born 1676) in La Coruña, where the O’Neales had fled. A year later, their son Patrick was born in El Puerto de Santa María, a port which attracted many with the allure of the business with the Americas. The family prospered in general commerce including wine and had a grand “casa palacio” house in Calle Santo Domingo near the Guadalete riverside. In 1723 Henry was elected as a councillor to El Puerto Council.

Palacio O'Neale, El Puerto de Santa Maria
Timothy O’Neale (born 1672), son of James O’Neale of Ballyneale near Carrick (Co. Donegal) and Anna Knowles, was probably a nephew of Henry, and he had married well into a local family. He began as a trader sending goods to the Americas before establishing a bodega in 1724 in El Puerto de Santa María. In 1776 Patricio O’Neale Fernández de Oliveros, son of Henry and Ana María was ennobled by King Carlos III.

(foto:todocoleccion)
Rafael O’Neale Giles, descendant of Timothy was already established in El Puerto de Santa María in 1869. At some point the firm moved to Jerez, and this bodega was situated at the ancient Moorish city wall where there was a watchtower which contained an aviary, and which is now a national monument. O’Neale owned the El Cuadrado vineyard in the Pago Miraflores. The bodega was first mentioned in the export lists of Jerez in 1905 in the Calle Circo, 5. In 1909 it moved to Calle Lechuga, 10, and in 1923 to the Calle Cid, 4 until the end in 1983, still in family hands.


Enrique O’Neale Orbaneja married Casilda de la Quintana, a member of the González (Byass) family, in July 1949, and when he died, she ran the bodega under the title Viuda de Rafael O’Neale for a while before returning to live with her sisters at El Altillo, the house built by Manuel María González Ángel, founder of González Byass.  O’Neale bottled a Vino de Pasto Sherry named “Wild Geese” in respect of the expatriate Irish community.

In 1992 a quantity of old (1923) soleras of vinegar were found in the old O’Neale family bodega Mendoza, a classic old fashioned bodega in Jerez. It contains the oldest 1,100 butts of Reserva vinegar and was purchased by Vinagres de Yema SA, now sold as one of the very best Jerez vinegars in 50 cl bottles, and only a thousand a year: Vinagres de Yema Gran Reserva. Another firm, Páez Morilla (vinegar specialists and owners of Dios Baco) also bought vinegar soleras from O’Neale.

Some brands were: Finísimo Viña El Cuadrado; Fino Palma; Fino Arruza; Añada 1840, Oloroso Solera Selecta 1821, Spanish Arch, also vinegar.





Wednesday, 8 July 2015

8.7.15 Consejo Anniversary Celebrations; Tradicion CZ

On Friday the Consejo Regulador will begin its 80th anniversary celebrations with a tasting of fine Sherries at the Alcázar in Jerez. The wines, selected from samples submitted by the bodegas, have been bottled with a special label designed for the occasion. It consists of the logo of the 80th anniversary and shows the chalk markings on the butt which identify the style of wine it contains.


The Consejo also plans to present the selection of wines in Cáceres which is the Spanish Capital of Gastronomy 2015, as well as Madrid and Barcelona two of the principal domestic markets for Sherry.



The programme of events marking the 80th anniversary will continue till the end of November and among the more important of them will be an exhibition which will examine the achievements of the Consejo in its 8 decades of history. It will be inaugurated on the 4th of September at the Claustros de Santo Domingo, which will also be the scene of the 80th anniversary gala. These two events will coincide with the Fiestas de la Vendimia.


Bodegas Tradición has announced that it is changing its trading name to Tradición CZ. The initials CZ stand for Cabeza de Aranda y Zarco, the name of the antecedents of the Rivero family who founded the oldest bodega in 1650 and which was sold in 1991.



Helena Rivero, president of Tradición CZ explains “As a result of the sell-off of the bodega, we decided in 1998 to create Bodegas Tradición. We had two objectives: the continuation of family business in the Sherry trade and the recuperation of traditional methods in the making of the wines and brandies of Jerez. Now we are proud to have added this sign of family identity.”