A blog and review on all things Sherry. It is about tasting, enjoyment and learning more about the World’s Finest Wine. "Sherry is a thoroughbred" as Javier Hidalgo rightly puts it. Included are the amazing local Brandies and the remarkably good table wines also produced in the province of Cádiz.
It was Don Francisco Páez
who founded a small Sherry firm in Jerez in 1911. His best known brands were Amontillado
Don Luis, Fino Blasón, Fino El 90, Oloroso 1/54 and his vinegar was well
regarded. His son Antonio Páez Lobato was born in 1923 and worked from
an early age in the bodega´s despacho de vinos, more of a tabanco really. At
the age of 23 this astute entrepreneurial young man not only got married but
also set up a cooperage business, Tonelería Antonio Páez
Lobato, which gradually grew to be very successful. Nowadays they also season
butts with Sherry for the whisky industry and bottle the wines and vinegars they produce at their plant in the outskirts of Jerez. Here one of the huge bodega walls has been painted with a mural of trees and sky.
Antonio Paez Lobato
Antonio also did
something no-one else had thought of and that was to commercialise Sherry
vinegar which, despite its well-known quality was only used by its producers or
local restaurants. He selected and bought vinegar soleras from various firms
like Williams & Humbert, Sandeman, O´Neale, González Byass, Lacave Ruiz Tagle
and Osborne and before long he earned the nickname “the vinegar king”. It was
he who put Jerez Vinegar on the map and it eventually got its own Denominación
de Origen. Now the firm markets a large range of solera vinegars up to over 10
years old and a range of balsamic sauces called Doña Pepa.
Hacienda La Vicaria
Backed by this success he decided
to produce table wines and in the early 1970s bought a large vineyard with
albariza soils, Hacienda La Vicaría near Arcos de la Frontera. This
vineyard dates back to the XVIII century. The first wine, Viña Lucía, was a
red made from Syrah, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in oak for a year
and launched in 1977 being the first bottled crianza red wine from Cádiz. This
was followed in 1981 by Tierra Blanca, a blend of Palomino Fino and Riesling
and later by a semiseco version. Both of these are cold fermented in stainless steel
tanks and are not aged in wood.
Vineyard at Hacienda La Vicaria
Recently four other wines have been
released: Risa is a sweet semi-sparkling low strength Moscatel with a rosado version.
Faluka Chardonnay is cold fermented and not oak aged, and Arrullo de Estrellas
is a sweet red made from Cabernet Sauvignon. They have even recently branched
out into the production of a unique liqueur based on Brandy de Jerez called
Licor de Tocino de Cielo. This is a local dessert made with caramelised egg
yolk and sugar first produced at the Convent of the Holy Spirit in 1324.
In 1992 one of Antonio´s sons, José Páez Morilla, bought three of the 12 old bodegas which had previously belonged to Palomino & Vergara from the sell-off after the expropriation of Rumasa. Here he established a new Sherry firm, Bodegas Dios Baco, named after the largest of the three bodegas, and produces top quality Sherry, Brandy etc. Interestingly this much smaller firm exports 85% of its products while Páez Morilla exports very little, mainly the vinegar products.
Address: Avenida de Medina Sidonia, 20, Jerez de la