Monday, 30 September 2013

30.7.13 Tio Pepe Sign; Barbadillo Nomination

Remember the famous illuminated Tio Pepe Sign? Well, at last it has a new home! Madrid town council is about to award planning permission for it to be erected at number 11, Puerta del Sol. The sign has been homeless since the owners of number 1 Puerta del Sol (the old Hotel Paris, and soon to be Apple’s Madrid HQ), on which it has been situated since 1936, decided they no longer wanted it there. The new site, on the corner with Calle Preciados is owned by the department store El Corte Ingles. Everyone is now happy that the iconic sign has a secure home.

The sign at its old location

 Bodegas Barbadillo has been nominated for “Best Spanish Bodega” by Guia Peñin for the 2014 edition, for maintaining the highest quality in a large number of brands. Three other bodegas have been nominated: Artadi (Rioja), Descendientes J Palacios (Bierzo) and Sierra Cantabria (Rioja), and we will have to wait until Wednesday 9th October to know the result.  This will be announced at the XIV Salon de los Mejores Vinos de España, promoted by Peñin, Spain’s leading wine guidebook. The Salon, which is the top event in the world of Spanish wine, with over 3,000 Spanish and foreign professionals in attendance, will also see the announcement of El Mejor Vino Revelacion del Año. To date, 140 of the very top bodegas have confirmed their attendance.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Fino 15%, Valdespino

Fairly pale golden straw, a shade darker than some Finos, legs.
Quite full, dry with some Flor bitterness, bread dough, almond and a trace of oxidised apple and a hint of dry scrub in the background. At a guess, about 4-5 years old. The barrel fermentation of the wine can be seen, as there is that hint of oxidation and fullness of character.
Similar to nose, quite full and generous, and nicely rounded, some gentle yellow fruit balances nicely with the dry Flor character, and there is a gentle texture and good length.
A very decent wine. This is Valdespino's entry level Fino, but it is less basic than many. Next up their list is the 10 year old Inocente.
4.50 Euros in Spain, but I haven't seen it in the UK. Importers are Liberty Wines.


Friday, 27 September 2013

27.9.13 Three Jerez Bodegas in World Top 100; Mauricio Gonzalez Gordon Dies

Eight Spanish bodegas are among the world’s one hundred best of 2013 in a ranking by Wine and Spirit Magazine’s tenth “Top 100 Tasting Event”. Prizes will be awarded in San Francisco on the 15th October. Naturally, bodegas from Jerez were included, notably Osborne, Pedro Romero and Valdespino.

The death has been announced of Mauricio Gonzalez Gordon y Diez in Jerez at the age of 89. Born at Hampton Hill, England in 1923, he was president of Gonzalez Byass till he handed over the reins to his son, also Mauricio Gonzalez Gordon.

Mauricio was the son of the legendary Manuel Maria Gonzalez Gordon, who, among other things, wrote the best ever book about Sherry. Milagros Lopez de Carrizosa y Eizaguirre, Mauricio’s wife died just recently. They had two children, Bibiana and Mauricio.

(Imagen Diario Jerez)
Mauricio was a well-educated man, respected in the Sherry trade, and had diverse interests, especially Nature and its conservation. He donated land for the establishment of the Coto Doñana National Park, where he liked to indulge in ornithology.

He was a Hijo Predilecto de Jerez, a member of the Gran Orden de los Caballeros del Vino, and held a gold medal for Oenological Merit, among many other awards.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

26.9.13 European Wine Tourism Day

European Wine Tourism Day will be celebrated in Jerez between the 7th and 10th November. An extensive list of activities has been announced, including “open doors days” at various bodegas, tasting courses, wine and food matching, Tabancora (tabanco route),  tasting of non-Sherry wines from the area etc. It would definitely be a good time to be in Jerez.

25.9.13 Wine Gang Tastings

Three fantastic Christmas wine fairs are to take place in Britain. They are amazing value events run by the Wine Gang, a group of wine journalists/fanatics/experts who are – at the very least - Tom Cannavan (World of Fine Wine Magazine, Decanter Magazine,, Joanna Simon (House & Garden, ex Sunday Times), Anthony Rose (Wine Correspondent for the Independent, Wine Competition Judge-and who was involved in the Gonzalez Byass Palmas range selection), Jane Parkinson (Restaurant and Stylist magazines) and David Williams (The Observer & World of Fine Wine magazine).

The events will take place in November, firstly in Bath at the Guildhall on the 2nd, then in London at Vinopolis on the 9th and then in Edinburgh, at the Assembly Rooms on the 30th. Five members of the Gang will be on hand all day, along with (up to – steady, now!) 600 quality wines to discuss and recommend. There will be Masterclasses too, and wines will be available for purchase at a discount at some great pop-up shops. Tickets cost £20 per person, but followers of this Blog will get tickets at just £12 and get 10% off Masterclass tickets by quoting the code Blog40. For further information look at the following link:  Just in case you’re worried that it will all be table wine, (not that there's anything wrong with that!) Gonzalez Byass will be there, and if I have any influence, there will be even more Sherry! (At least in Edinburgh).

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

24.9.13 More Sherry Educators

23 new Sherry Educators have been appointed after this summer’s course. They come from all sorts of related backgrounds, such as sommeliers, writers and restaurateurs, and are from 13 different countries. They undertook a three day intensive course of total immersion in the Sherry business consisting of theoretical and practical sessions, seminars, tastings, bodega and vineyard visits in the three main Sherry towns, ending with an exam for the title. The Consejo Regulador has been running these courses very successfully since 2004, two every year, one in English and one in Spanish. The idea being to disseminate knowledge of and enthusiasm for Sherry.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Amontillado 51-1a 19% VORS, Osborne

Quite deep mahogany amber fading to a trace of green at the rim, legs. Looks very old.
Full, old and complex.Strongly nutty, particularly toasted hazelnut and almond, along with old wood notes and that classic amontillado apparent marzipan sweetness. It has the faintest whiff of savouriness and astringency which is more than balanced by that sweetness, and merely shows how old the wine is. Lovely.
Full, "punzante" (incisive), dry with a trace of the astringency of age, but mellows on the palate. Immensely tasty - nuts, wood and marzipan again with hints of polished antique furniture - and really quite tangy, which gives it amazing length. Would be lovely with a fine farmhouse cheddar.
From a solera of that name laid down in 1830, probably by Pedro Domecq himself. After the dismantling by Pernod Ricard of the Allied Domecq empire, the VORS soleras were bought by Osborne and moved to El Puerto de Santa Maria, where they now form part of the bodega/museum along with other amazing soleras. Amo 51-1a , while sold as a VORS (guaranteed minimum age of 30 years) is at least twice that age, and probably older. These old wines have been beautifully looked after by oenologist Ignacio Lozano, despite their lack of real profitability. They could never be sold for their real value, but help give prestige to the bodega and its other products. And to Sherry in general. In case of any confusion, there are still some of these wines around in the slightly different Domecq bottles. No problem at all!
About £35.00 at Drinkmonger, Edinburgh and Pitlochry. UK importer: Emporia Brands

23.9.13 Jerez has One Bar for Every 158 Citizens

Jerez is almost bursting with licensed premises. There are 1,340 of them for a population of 211,900. These are mainly bars and tabancos (974) and restaurants, but also hotels and discotheques. In fact there is one for every 158 citizens, a figure much higher than the national average of 1 for 235 citizens. 449 drinks licences have been issued over the last 12 years.

Statistics never tell the full story, however. Some bars are only open occasionally, some are just not really viable, and for some that close, others open. The business has a certain seasonality due to tourism. The problem began in the 1980s, when many bodega workers were made redundant, some of whom decided to open a bar. Like many an expat Brit in the Costas, they discovered that neither was it as easy as they thought, nor was it as profitable. Especially not during the current crisis.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

21.9.13 Matusalem Oloroso served at Masters of Wine Banquet

A grand banquet was held in London on Wedneday night to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Institute of Masters of Wine. Needless to say the wines served (and the food) were of the best, including Champagne, Burgundy, Claret, Port, Austrian wine, and the chosen Sherry was Gonzalez Byass Matusalem Oloroso VORS which accompanied the finest of English cheeses.

21.9.13 Great Sherry Tasting; National Lottery Draw in Jerez

The Great Sherry Tasting 2013 will take place in London on Monday 21st October at the Westbury Hotel, Bond Street, Mayfair between 10.30 and 17.00. Online registration can be done now at: but it is strictly trade only. Sorry.

The Atalaya palace in Jerez is to be the scene of the National Lottery draw on the 9th November, as this is the 750th anniversary of the incorporation of the city under the Crown of Castille. The draw will be televised live, and tickets are on sale from the 23rd September, and the first prize is one million euros. The Atalaya was built in 1873 and once the family mansion of the Vergara family (Palomino & Vergara) then Rumasa headquarters. It is now the home of Jerez’ famous museum of clocks, as well as the exhibition of Sherry and its Mysteries. 

Friday, 20 September 2013

Manzanilla Fina 15%, Herederos de Argueso

Very pale and bright with slightest green tint, legs.
Soft, fresh and light, hints of fruit and quite floral with touches of camomile, young but characterful.
All the above plus a touch of that flor salinity, low acid but the bitterness from the flor compensates. Dry,soft and rounded, gentle tasty and long.
Most attractive wine, a perfect introduction to Manzanilla. This is the firm's youngest wine and comes from a system of 7 criaderas and a solera, giving it an average age of between 3 and 4 years.
3,60 Euros in Spain, but looks hard to get in UK. Try the Wine Society.

20.9.13 Andalucia's Place in Wine World; Harvest; Mundus Vini Awards

Andalucia occupies 8th place in terms of wine production in Spain. Average production of 1.6 million hectolitres only achieves 3.4% of the national total. More than half of the Andaluz vineyard area is in Jerez (30%) and Montilla (24%), then in a smaller way, Huelva, Malaga and Granada. The wine sector, along with other agricultural sectors is really important to Andalucia.

In an official Bulletin of the Junta de Andalucia (BOJA,) published yesterday, requests may be submitted for the approval of plans for the restructuring and reconversion of vineyards for 2013/14 and support will be available. After the recent great grubbing up of vines in Jerez, already it is clear they went too far.

The harvest 2013 is all but over. Only a few small coastal vineyards have yet to pick as their grapes are not yet quite ripe enough. It has been a successful harvest, slightly ahead of predictions, with over 80 million kilos already pressed. Both quality and quantity, what every wine maker dreams of, have been achieved. The average must weight (sugar content of the grapes) is 11.24.      

The XIII Mundus Vini International Wine Awards, a prestigious event held in Neustadt, Germany, was able to count on a masterclass from Beltran Domecq, president of the Consejo Regulador, for 40 wine professionals at the end of last month. Six Sherries were tasted and then matched very successfully with food. The awards, which are organised by German publisher Meininger, are recognised by both the OIV (International Office Of Wine) and the UIOE (International Union of Oenologists).         

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Palo Cortado Anada 1982 20.5%, Gonzalez Byass

Amber with faintest trace of green at rim, legs.
Forthcoming and beautiful. Fragrant, complex, complete and almost perfumed Amontillado, but the fino days have gone leaving little trace but for the elegance. Traces of dried fruits, wood, lots of nuts - toasted almonds and hazelnuts all perfectly oxidised, tight, aromatic and graceful.
A bit more walnut, some wood quite tangy, perhaps leaning more toward Amontillado than Oloroso, quite light and a little less savoury than Oloroso but a hint of it, fragrant and clean with a very long, dry finish. Lovely.
Anada, or vintage, Sherry is pretty rare, and only 6 bodegas, mainly Gonzalez Byass and Williams and Humbert do this. The wine does not enter the solera system, and simply sits there, being classified occasionally, till deemed ready. As opposed to the solera's "dynamic ageing", this wine has undergone "static ageing". It was bottled in November 2010, by hand, from one single butt which yielded about 600 numbered bottles. It was produced from Carrascal and Macharnudo vineyards, and each bottle is presented in a green faux leather box. 97 points Penin 2014.
About £90.00 from Gonzalez Byass UK. (9/2/15 - Now 218 Euros ex GB Jerez and almost gone!)

This is the Oloroso 1982, but it look the same

Saturday, 14 September 2013

14.9.13 Exhibition on History of Sherry at Jerez Library

An exhibition has opened in the Jerez Municipal Central Library documenting the close historical connection the city has with wine.  On show will be publications, posters, photographs and documents tracing this connection through the years. The exhibition is titled “Miradas sobre la Historia del Vino de Jerez, and was opened yesterday by the council’s tourism, culture and fairs delegate, Antonio Real. Some of the exhibits came from the town council, others from the Consejo Regulador. The exhibition runs till the 19th October.

13.9.13 Red Wine Harvest in Jerez; Latest Sherry Harvest Figures; Cartoon

Sherry, as you know, is not the only wine produced in the vineyards of Jerez. This lovely photo shows red Petit Verdot grapes being picked at night by a harvester with a lamp fixed to his head like a miner. In the background are the city lights of Jerez. High quality table wines have become more widespread and more important in the Jerez area as a result of the slide in sales of Sherry. This vineyard belongs to Bodegas Luis Perez, who only produce table wines. This is their second year of night harvesting, which brings in cooler grapes which will be less prone to oxidation and which will allow better control of fermentation. The climate and soils here are ideal for producing other styles of wine, and have been doing so for decades.


The Consejo Regulador has announced that 71.49 million kilos of grapes have now been harvested so far in this year’s campaign, more than originally estimated, and that the total could reach 75 million in the last week of the 2013 campaign. Rainfall in March has proved highly beneficial in providing a crop of quality as well as quantity. Grapes have been pressed in 25 press houses in Jerez, Sanlucar, Rota, Chiclana, Chipiona, Trebujena, Puerto de Santa Maria and Puerto Real, with a current average sugar content of 11.25 degrees Beaume. The 2013 harvest is beginning to draw to a very satisfactory close.

"And what do you want to be when you grow up, laddie?"
"An export Sherry, so I'll be able to see the world"
(Peri, Diario Jerez)

Thursday, 12 September 2013

12.9.13 Parker Points for Bodegas Dios Baco

Bodegas Dios Baco is the latest bodega in Jerez to receive great scores in Robert Parker's Wine Advocate Magazine. The scores are:

Palo Cortado Baco Imperial VORS: 92
Pedro Ximenez Baco Imperial VOS: 92
Oloroso Baco Imperial VORS: 91
Amontillado Baco Imperial VOS: 91

In the Parker scheme of things, acheiving over 90 points puts a wine in the Fine Wine category, with no faults. At last Parker is recognising the sheer quality of Sherry!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

9.9.13 Parker Points for Barbadillo

Bodegas Barbadillo in Sanlucar has also received impressive scores from Luis Gutierrez, Robert Parker's man in Spain. This is the first year that Sherry has achieved the perfect score (also Valdespino's Moscatel Toneles). Few Spanish wines have achieved this so far, and they were all red. At last we have a wine journalist who understands Sherry! That is not to belittle Jose Penin, who has always realised the quality of Sherry and awarded points accordingly.

Reliquia Palo Cortado: 100
Reliquia Amontillado: 98
Palo Cortado VORS: 97
Reliquia Oloroso: 95
Amontillado VORS: 94
Oloroso Seco VORS: 94
Reliquia PX: 93
Oloroso Dulce VORS: 93
Manzanilla Solear en Rama Saca de Primavera: 93
Manzanilla Solear en Rama Saca de Invierno: 92
Amontillado Principe: 91

Monday, 9 September 2013

Palo Cortado Leonor 20%, Gonzalez Byass

Bright yellowy amber, legs.
Clean, fresh, fairly tight and quite amontillado: lots of faintly sweet lightly toasted hazelnuts and almonds, slightly yeasty traces of fino origins and a certain gentle crispness along with tightly controlled oxidation and the slightest hint of oloroso.
On the light side, with an attractive and gentle tang, but still quite amontillado, traces of dried fruit such as apricot, quince and raisin, but no sweetness other than that slight glyceric feel, not at all woody, just fresh and very attractive with good length.
The first bottling of this wine was released as recently as 2010, though it comes from an old solera. Leonor is over 12 years old and is produced from Carrascal and Macharnudo vineyards. It won a gold in the International Wine Challenge 2011. It is named after the Infanta Leonor, born in 2005 to Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia. The alcohol content is high for a Palo Cortado of this age, but is the result of natural evaporation in the bodega's particular microclimate, no further fortification having been done. Leonor forms the base wine for the much older VORS Apostoles: after around 15 years of ageing, the wine joins the 1862 Apostoles solera, laid down in honour of a visit to the bodegas by Queen Isabel II.
£12 - 15 Imported by Gonzalez Byass UK. Reasonable distribution.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Bodegas: La Cigarrera

The history of this interesting old bodega goes back to 1758 when the well-known Barcelona businessman Joseph Colom Darbo  established himself in Sanlucar and rented some buildings in the Callejon del Truco from the Mercedarios Descalzos monks, where he started up in business.  A few years later in 1771, along with his son Francisco de Paula Colom Borrego, he founded Colom y Compañia, under which banner they conducted all their various business. Ten years later they expanded, renting another property, this time from the Convent of Madre de Dios, consisting of a dilapidated house and three contiguous sites at the little square of the convent, converting them into a fairly primitive bodega.

Don Joseph died in 1791 and the two business premises were passed to his five sons who continued expanding the wine business by renting from the Convent of Santo Domingo de Guzman in 1798 another house in the Calle Truco, called, oddly, the “Ammunition Oven”. Then in 1802 they bought some bodegas from D. Jose Helvant, with an entrance in the Calle Torno de Madre de Dios. By 1842 the houses and bodegas were all property of the family firm Colom y Compañia, and soon Rafael Colom y Palma bought out the other inheritors from the wine business. He later died leaving no direct heirs, and his estate was left to different members of the family, although the bodega we see now was bought in 1891 by Manuel Hidalgo Colom, one of those inheritors, and paternal great grandfather of the Hidalgo Garcia de Velasco brothers who run the firm today. It was he who continued expansion of the business and who launched the flagship brand, Manzanilla La Cigarrera.

On the death of D Manuel, his daughter Emilia inherited the bodega in Calle Truco and her brother Manuel Jose, the house, and on his death, his son Rafael Hidalgo Otaolarruchi unified the house and the bodega creating the bodega as it is now, in the Plaza Madre de Dios in the Barrio Bajo (the lower part of the town closer to the river), and dedicating the firm to wine only. In 1990 his widow Maria del Pilar Garcia de Velasco Perez inherited the business, and is the current owner, but it is run by her two sons, who form the ninth generation of this family business.

For many years the firm owned vineyards, but nowadays it buys fermented and racked musts from local growers and cooperatives. They were almacenistas until very recently –1998 - when changes to the Denominacion de Origen regulations allowed the brothers to bottle and market their wines. While 90% of production (or @ 11,000 cases) is Manzanilla La Cigarrera, (named after the girls who once sold cigarettes in the streets) the firm also produces a range of other Sherries. The bodega has three”naves”of butts, Colom, Cabral and Sarnilla which surround a pretty Andalusian style central patio. There is a bar/restaurant within the bodega and which extends into the patio, decorated with Sherry and bullfighting paraphernalia, and a shop where one can buy the wines.

The wines:
Manzanilla Fina La Cigarrera (4-5 years old depending on sales, seven criaderas and a solera)
Manzanilla Pasada La Cigarrera (since 2011, nearly 20 years old, from only 4 butts)
Amontillado La Cigarrera
Amontillado VOS (officially a minimum of 20 years old, but much older, from a single butt owned by the brothers’ great great grandmother)
Oloroso La Cigarrera
Moscatel La Cigarrera (sun-dried grapes)
PX La Cigarrera

Visits?  Yes. Visits in Spanish and English lasting around 25 minutes ending up with a tasting in the XVIII century patio. Visits are every 30 minutes including Saturdays, between 10.00 and 14.30.
Address: Plaza Madre de Dios, S/N, 11540 Sanlucar de Barrameda, Cadiz
Tel: (+34) 956 381 285

8.9.13 Consejo Contributes 50,000 to Vinoble

The Consejo Regulador will support Vinoble 2014 with 50,000 euros and will soon sign a collaboration agreement with co-sponsor the City Council of Jerez for the XIII event scheduled for the 1st -3rd of June. Vinoble, which celebrates the best of the world’s sweet and fortified wines, is now regarded as a very important event for the city, promoting Sherry and boosting tourism and commerce.

The mayoress of Jerez, Maria Jose Garcia Pelayo, pointed out during discussions on next year’s civic calendar, that 2014 will be an important year for wine in Jerez and that the central government and the Junta de Andalucia have also committed their support for the event, though final confirmation is still awaited before promotion can begin. She also said that a national congress of winemakers will take place at the same time.

Fifteen bodegas which form a part of the Ruta de los Vinos y Brandies of the Jerez area will be coordinated by the Consejo, and the eventual winner of this year’s Copa de Jerez (an international competition for restaurants to create dishes to marry with Sherry) will also be involved.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Oloroso 18%, Bodegas La Cigarrera

Old-looking yellowy amber, legs.
Unusual and interesting: quite light, hazelnut, hints of salt, quite punzante (sharply assertive), oloroso but some amontillado there too - almost like a blend of the two yet not Palo Cortado (shows how complex Sherry can be), traces Marmite, slightly overdone toast with a hint of oloroso fat. Very Sanlucar.
Round and dry, fairly light and tangy with a warming follow-through. Surely more amontillado than oloroso yet has certain oloroso characteristics, delicious and long, but unusual.
The tasting notes are explained by the fact that this wine started out under flor, and at some stage it joined the oloroso criaderas. Lovely wine, but a real "Sanluqueno", not at all like Jerez.This bodega works in a strictly artesanal way, having for so long been almacenistas and developed their own way of doing things.
In Spain it sells for about 10 euros, but I can't find any UK importers.

5.9.13 Parker's New Man in Spain; Decanter World Wine Awards; UCA Students to make Wine

Robert Parker’s new man in Spain is Luis Gutierrez, co-founder of El Mundo Vino. He wrote the article on Jerez and Montilla in the latest issue of the Wine Advocate, the first in the magazine’s history. He also tasted and awarded points to many Sherries, including the Grupo Estevez and Gonzalez Byass wines already reported, and he also awarded a perfect 100 point score to Barbadillo's Palo Cortado Reliquia VORS.

Luis Gutierrez with Robert Parker

Decanter Magazine has announced its 2013 World Wine Awards, and those for Sherry are listed below:

Gonzalez Byass Tres Palmas (Dry Fortified over £15)
Gonzalez Byass Tintilla de Rota (Regional Spanish Fortified over £15)
Lustau PX VORS (Regional Sweet Sherry over £15)

Barbadillo Medium VORS
Fernando de Castilla Amontillado Antique

Gonzalez Byass Dos Palmas
Gonzalez Byass Cuatro Palmas
Gonzalez Byass Amontillado del Duque VORS
Gonzalez Byass Matusalem Oloroso VORS
Lustau Abocado 1997
Lustau Almacenista Palo Cortado Manuel Cuevas Jurado
Lustau Oloroso Emeratriz Eugenia 
Lustau Oloroso VORS
Lustau Amontillado VORS
Hidalgo Amontillado Napoleon
Hidalgo Wellington
Hidalgo Wellington VOS
Williams & Humbert As You Like It
Williams & Humbert Collection 12 year old Oloroso:

 Students participating in the 5th oenology course at Cadiz University (UCA) will be able to make their own wines, such as Tintilla de Rota, Moscatel, at the Rancho de la Merced as part of their practical work. The Rancho belongs to the Instituto de Investigacion y Formacion Agraria y Pesquera (IFAPA) which has an agreement with the University to allow oenology students to use its facilities. This year the wines will be bottled and used as institutional gifts at the University.

4.9.13 Parker Points for Gonzalez Byass

At the press Sherry tastings held recently at the Consejo Regulador, at which Estevez did so well, Gonzalez Byass also received some very high scores from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate tasters as follows:

Cuatro Palmas: 97
Tres Palmas: 95
Dos Palmas: 91
Una Palma: 90
Amontillado del Duque: 94
Matusalem Oloroso Dulce: 93
Palo Cortado Apostoles: 92
PX Noe: 91
Tio Pepe en Rama: 92

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


Any aficionado of Sherry is drinking a wine from Andalucia, the home of Flamenco. This ancient, exciting and moving music is, perhaps slightly alien to non Spanish people, but its sheer depth and passion will leave nobody unimpressed. Jerez itself is the home of the Buleria style. I am a massive flamenco fan, and urge you to watch a recently broadcast BBC programme about it. You can find it on BBC i Player by searching for "Flamenco: Gypsy Soul". Pour a glass of Sherry and watch!

La Paquera de Jerez (imagen tristeyazul)

3.9.13 Sponsor a Vine; Ruiz Mateos Brothers Jailed; Wine Reduces Depression?; Estevez Parker Points

A company called AireArte has unveiled a project to help recuperate the Sherry vineyards which have seen drastic reductions in recent years due to declining sales. The idea is for people to sponsor a vine in the Finca Constancia, with the intention of teaching people about Sherry culture from a vineyard perspective, and the importance of preserving it.

AireArte offer a choice of sponsorship “packs”, from Basic up to Gold. With Basic one pays 20 euros for a vine, is able to visit the vineyard and get a historical and technical explanation, visit a family bodega, pick your own grapes and take them home or receive a bottle of grape juice, a picture of the vine and its ID card. With Gold, the sponsor gets all of the above, plus quarterly photos of the vine to see how it is getting on; 5 bottles of personalised Fino made from grapes harvested by the sponsor, who can visit any time with up to 10 friends and get a tutored tasting; enjoy a Salmorejo (thick cold soup like gazpacho) workshop, all for 135 euros.

Alvaro and Javier Ruiz Mateos, sons of the founder of Nueva Rumasa, Jose Maria Ruiz Mateos have received jail sentences from a court in Granada of 2.9 years - 1.6 for offences against Hacienda (the Spanish Inland Revenue) and 1.3 years for giving false values to assets. They were also fined 1,8 million euros for non-payment of VAT on the sale of a hotel, the proceeds of which were whisked off to a Swiss bank. This is unlikely to be their last court appearance.

A recent study in Spain published in BMC Medicine magazine, has shown that drinking moderate quantities of wine is associated with a reduced risk of up to 32% in becoming depressed. The study observed more than 5,500 men and women aged between 55 and 80, and was immediately seized upon by American doctors, whose studies had shown the opposite. Let’s just enjoy our Sherry to the full while the “experts” try to decide whether it’s good for us or not!

The results of the June tasting at the Consejo by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate tasters have been published.  High marks were also recently awarded by Wine Spectator and Wine & Spirit magazines (in brackets).This is fantastic news, not only for Grupo Estevez, but for Sherry as a whole, as the Wine Advocate also published an article on Sherry, which can only help sales. Some of the scores were:

Valdespino Moscatel Toneles: 100/100                    
Amontillado VORS Coliseo: 99
Palo Cortado VORS Cardenal: 99
PX Niños: 98
Oloroso Viejo VORS Don Gonzalo: 95
Fino Inocente: 94 (Wine Spectator: 92, Wine & Spirit: 94)
Palo Cortado Viejo CP: 93
Oloroso VORS Solera de su Majestad: 93
Manzanilla Deliciosa en Rama: 92
Amontillado Tio Diego: 92 (Wine Spectator: 92, Wine & Spirit: 92)
Moscatel Promesa: 91
PX El Candado: 90 (Wine Spectator: 93)
Manzanilla La Guita: 90
Real Tesoro Amo. Del Principe: 93
Real Tesor Oloroso Almirante: 89
Fino Tio Mateo: 91