Sherry has for long been used not only to improve spirits like Whisky, Brandy and Rum, but also other wines. The following is an abridged translation of an article on the subject by Amaya Cervera of the excellent website spanishwinelover.com
The famous Rioja bodega CVNE’s white wine Monopole, first introduced in 1915, used to have a small addition of Manzanilla supplied by Hidalgo La Gitana to give it more body. This practice, which was tacitly permitted by the Rioja Consejo, lasted till the 1980s when everything went into stainless steel. Now CVNE are producing it again under the name Monopole Clásico. The wine is fermented in stainless and racked along with the lees into various used barrels including Manzanilla butts, where it remains for eight months.
Frenchman Olivier Rivière, a member of the young dynamic group of winemakers Rioja’n’Roll, is another example. He makes a wine called Mirando al Sur which is fermented and aged for six months in French oak then aged a further year in two butts: one ex-Manzanilla, the other ex- Amontillado, before blending the wine, which has enormous complexity. Gregory Pérez, a winemaker in El Bierzo, has produced a wine on similar lines but from the local grape Godello, named Mengoba Las Botas.
|Comando G demijohns (foto:spanishwinelover)|
José Luis Mateo of Quinta da Muradella in DO Monterrei has produced something even more spectacular, a wine called Quinta da Muradella Crianza Oxidativa. First he allowed the must from Doña Blanca grapes to oxidise, fermented it in stainless, allowed the malolactic fermentation, then filled it into barrels leaving space for flor to develop. He has also produced a similar wine but from Treixadura grapes. Flor and oxidation make for seriously interesting wine.
Bodegas Comando G in Gredos have produced a wine named El Tamboril Crianza Biológica made from Garnacha Blanca and Garnacha Gris and aged in glass demijohns under flor. In Alicante, Bodegas Gutiérrez de la Vega are making a Moscatel, Tio Raimundo, aged for 18 months in barrels under flor, while in Rueda, Beatriz Herranz is producing Bruto, an old vine Palomino aged under flor. Palomino used to grow fairly widely in Rueda. It is wonderful to see how so many leading winemakers are so enamoured with and inspired by Sherry.