Sunday, 22 June 2014

Bodegas: Gaspar Florido

The Florido family has a long and proud history in the Sherry trade. They are first heard of in Rota in the XVI century, moving to Chipiona at the end of the XVII. They seem to have established themselves as producers in 1800 when Jose Maria Florido y Calderon de la Barca set up in business.

In 1880 the company was known as Florido Hermanos and grew to become one of the top ten exporters in the district, but was bought by Domecq.  Gaspar Florido’s father re-established the firm as almacenistas in 1942, supplying wines in bulk to the bodegas as well as to bars and restaurants. In 1997, conscious of the quality of their wines, they decided to create their own brands and sell them in bottle on the marketplace.

A view of the bodegas (foto:busKalia)
The firm owns 33 hectares of prime vineyard, Viña El Armijo, in the Pago Miraflores in which there is a beautiful XVI century vineyard house. There were various bodegas housing a total of 7,000 butts. They were diehard traditionalists, eschewing “modern bad habits” and while they did export a little to Germany, they preferred to deal with the home market. They described their work as “absolute artisanship” but nevertheless realised the importance of the internet.

Eventually they decided to centralise their operation on the Carretera de Trebujena, as they had bodegas all over Sanlucar, and then In 2007 the firm and its brands was bought by Pedro Romero SA for 6.5 million Euros, since the family had no children who were interested in carrying on the business and Gaspar was getting on a bit. This purchase made Pedro Romero the second largest bodega in Sanlucar after Barbadillo.

Most of their wines came from their own vineyard and some carry the name Viña Armijo, but they did also buy in must and wine to meet their requirements. Their best known brands are Manzanilla Pleamar and the GF range of GF AB Cream, GF Oloroso Muy Viejo, GF Manzanilla. The most outstanding wine is Palo Cortado 25 GF, originally a Rodriguez Lacave solera, which Gaspar never labelled as Palo Cortado but just “Jerez Viejisimo”, feeling that the lines are slightly blurred between styles with wines of this age. Pedro Romero continued to sell the Florido wines, thank goodness, and all the really old wines were in their sacristia until Romero went bust.

There is also a 30 GF, an outstanding Palo Cortado in very limited quantities, some of which was bottled by Equipo Navazos as La Bota de Palo Cortado No.41 Bota “No”. They bought the wine just a few months before Florido was bought out, and it is still available. After the bankruptcy of Pedro Romero, the old GF wines were bought by the Asencio brothers for their Bodegas Alonso which is located in one of the old Pedro Romero bodegas. They have relabelled the wines. Meanwhile the Florido family continue to sell tiny quantities of wine from Viña El Armijo.

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