Grupo Estévez feels sure that the future of Sherry lies with the crianza biológica wines, the Finos and Manzanillas which represent over half of total Sherry sales, not to mention Amontillados which bring an added extra. In future the wines should focus on quality, value and better use of the production of the vineyards, which would require “radical change”.
At the Valdespino bodega yesterday the company’s president, José Ramón Estévez, vice president José Antonio del Cuvillo, and technical director Eduardo Ojeda, presented the first 100% Jerez Finos, Manzanillas and Amontillados, wines fortified with spirit made from 100% Jerez grapes. Estévez firmly believe that the future of the Sherry business lies in a Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOC) where all raw materials must come from within the demarcated area.
The wines presented were Manzanillas La Bailaora and La Guita – normal and en rama – Finos Tio Mateo, Real Tesoro and Inocente, and Amontillado Tio Diego in all of which the fortification spirit came from 100% local Palomino, as did the spirit for the añada wines which are still ageing. Currently most spirit comes from Airén grapes in La Mancha.
|The presentation in Jerez yesterday (foto:diariojerez)|
According to the Estévez calculations 14,000 butts of mosto would need to be distilled to fortify just the Finos and Manzanillas, and that amount would use barely half of the excess mosto from the last harvest which closed with 124,000 butts of which 94,000 qualified for DO Sherry. It would be better to use that and have 100% local production than bring in spirit from elsewhere. Estévez has been encouraging the cooperatives to incorporate a distillery as they have the space and also the overproduction, and he is prepared to invest. The idea was presented to the Junta for possible inclusion in the sharing out of ITI funds.
He quite understands that the bodegas are reluctant to pay a higher price for local spirit when they can buy it cheaper elsewhere. However alcohol prices in La Mancha have fluctuated dramatically – many brands of brandy converted to spirit drinks when the price shot up due to the withdrawal of EU subsidies, and it was much cheaper to use spirit distilled from beetroot. Nonetheless he feels that the use of local spirit would give more confidence to consumers through better traceability and better returns to producers. Estévez wishes other bodegas would join his campaign and take a longer view as this is a long term project to guarantee the future and deserves a chance.