Monday, 16 January 2017

16.1.17 The Resurgence of Cayetano del Pino

This small and well respected bodega established in 1886 has a long and rather varied history. It was founded by Cayetano del Pino Vázquez and before too long grew to be one of the greats of Jerez, but a bad partner and bad advice following the premature death of the founder’s son cut short the success of this family business, and its founder’s dream, nearly finishing it off. After many decades in the shadows as an almacenista, getting by on infrequent sales of old wines and the occasional solera to other bodegas –albeit at a decent price – and what little can be earned from bulk sales, the del Pino family is back on the scene with renewed hopes and its own brands.


The bodega is owned in equal parts by the four grandchildren of the founder, though it is their children, Gerardo, Enrique, Santiago and María Teresa del Pino and JoséLuis Otte, the fourth generation of the family, who are running it – though they have other jobs. Cayetano del Pino does not produce Finos or Olorosos. In the bodega in Plaza Silos, which was bought from Pedro Domecq over thirty years ago, there is only room for the ageing of Amontillados and Palos Cortados. They are distributed roughly 50/50 among just over 1,000 butts including ten exceptional butts of Palo Cortado which have been kept separately for over twenty years for consumption by the family which has now decided they should be shared.

The “Palo Cortado 1/10”, which has only been topped up as necessary to replace evaporation over the last fifteen years - the time needed by the family to balance its stocks - will soon be put on the market. Sales have been put exclusively in the hands of Jaime Carvajal, a wine professional with many years of experience, who works with bodegas in the area to produce and launch new wines. For Carvajal, this agreement is a “gift from the Gods”; the aperitif for what he hopes will be a long and prosperous relationship, and which will help to re-launch a bodega whose prestigious wine is sold to Lustau for their Almacenista range under its own name.


Gerardo del Pino who runs the bodega, explains that the new wine will be available in limited quantities from a single annual saca which will produce 2,000 half litre bottles, a new format which the bodega is adopting for all its wines including another exceptional Palo Cortado, the 1/5, bottled at upwards of 35 years old. The selection for the 1/5 was done from butts in the old bodega Santa Ana on the Arcos road, where the wine was fermented in butt, the old fashioned way. The 1/10, on the other hand, was selected in the bodega at Plaza Silos and is ready to get cracking in the marketplace.

The presentation of the new wine, which will retail at around 40 euros, harks back to the firm’s old labels, of which there have been some 600 over the years, surely the highest number in Jerez, and some of the most beautiful. The large new label represents a harvest girl with a basket of newly-picked grapes on her shoulder, and the cork and capsule are of the highest quality. The founder’s great grandchildren believe that the renewed interest in Sherry is not a passing phase. They believe it has come to stay and this interest lies in the top end wines which are exactly what they provide.

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