Tuesday, 23 August 2016

23.8.16 Death of Antonio Páez Lobato; Harvest in Sanlúcar; Verema’s Best Sherries

The man who put Sherry vinegar on the map has passed away at the age of 93. From an early age he worked in his father’s despacho de vinos and later set up a cooperage, which is still working today, and from which he became involved in the wine and vinegar businesses. Bodegas Páez Morilla which he established in 1945 was to be a huge success, and it was the first time Sherry Vinegar became a commercial proposition. He began with his own solera “Los Palitos” and bought others, some of which were very old, from Williams & Humbert, Sandeman, Rafael O’Neale, González Byass and Alfonso Lacave Ruiz Tagle. No wonder he was known fondly as the “Vinegar King”; he virtually invented what is now a very important product for Jerez with its own DO. In the 1970s he bought vineyards and began producing table wines, the white Tierra Blanca and the red Viña Lucía crianza. Antonio’s son José bought what is now Bodegas Dios Baco in 1992. The Vinegar King had a roundabout named after him recently by Jerez City Council.

Antonio with vinegar in his own butts (foto:diariodejerez)

While the harvest is under way in the Jerez vineyards, those round Sanlúcar are still not ready. The two local cooperatives, Virgen de la Caridad and Covisan, reckon that picking will start at the end of August. The grapes are generally green and still contain high levels of acidity, and it is not yet time to take samples for the pies de cuba. The Levante wind, a feature of the 2016 vintage, has reduced the liquid content of the grapes, but despite widespread mildew in the coastal areas the surviving grapes are of excellent quality. The result will be a smaller crop.

Verema, the largest Spanish online wine community has chosen the best wines for the first half of 2016. Famous for its forums, this community numbers 47,000 enthusiasts and experts, so any wine chosen needs to be good. Their chosen Sherries in order of preference are as follows:

Manzanilla La Kika, Bodegas Yuste
Palo Cortado Wellington VOS, odegas Hidalgo la Gitana
Oloroso Añada 2003, Bodegas Williams & Humbert
La Bota de Manzanilla 55, Equipo Navazos
Fino Añada 2009, Bodegas Williams & Humbert

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