Saturday, 10 May 2014

Goodbye Gaditano

This is an article by Francisco Jose Becerra Marin published in his blog La Sacristia Caminante. It is a lament for a wine no longer made by Gonzalez Byass, Fino Gaditano.

“Fino Gaditano. The back label states: “Fino wine of pale strawy-yellow colour made from Palomino grapes. Fino, aged in soleras.” There are few who remember you now.

Time was when people used to drink a less expensive wine known as “vino de medio tapon” in the tabancos. It was a Fino of good quality but younger, having gone through fewer criaderas, an easy wine to drink, and at the same time light, though it had the same strength as the more expensive brands.

(Foto Sacristia Caminante)
Medio tapon meant that as the bottles had no capsules they were only “half sealed”. There were famous brands such as those of MacKenzie, Hidalgo’s Tesoro, and the very well-known Mantecoso of Bodegas Rivero. El Puerto de Santa Maria also had its own versions: the well –known Fino Pavon of Bodegas Luis Caballero (which is now a proper brand), and the famous Fino C from Bodegas Cuvillo.

Just a sip of this elixir, well chilled, somewhere just off the Plaza de Abastos (the market square of Jerez) like the Bar Pampero, with some fried hake was a total luxury. Many a Saturday we would go in the early afternoon to try this precious Sherry. A Fino to be drunk from a proper Sherry glass, slowly, little by little like life itself… elegant and timeless as a close friend. It was a wine to accompany conversation, to get to the bottom of. A wine of memories, the same wine and flavour my grandfather appreciated, one of my father’s favourites, one which he taught me to enjoy at gatherings of family or friends.

So I say goodbye to you, Gaditano. I will only be able to see you now in the form of your bottle, the silence of time covering you with dust and fading your white and green label. I will not be able any more to sample your contents, which many now cannot even remember –and even less your name. So I pay homage to you in my memories, a special, natural wine, a “medio tapon” of whom a whole generation – mine – has barely even heard.”

I have to agree with every word of this article. It was my father’s favourite Sherry too, and I have tasted and enjoyed it many times. I can’t imagine why GB ceased production of such a popular wine, but I suppose they can’t have a marketing budget for every wine they make. It came from a 1947 solera. A Gaditano, by the way, is one who comes from Cadiz (from the Latin Gades), like my father.

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