Saturday, 15 October 2016

The Table Wines of Cádiz

As if Sherry weren’t interesting enough, it is by no means the only great wine produced in the province of Cádiz. There is a plethora of very interesting wines; some are related to Sherry by grape variety or crianza biológica and others are completely different, but all are good. There is no Denominación de Origen Protegida (DOP) for the wines, so they mostly have the geographical indication Vino de la Tierra de Cádiz which was recognised by the Junta de Andalucía in 2005 but only came into force in 2011. Many are not available in large quantities unfortunately, and so most are not available outside Cádiz, but it would be seriously well worth the journey to check them out. Quite a few have scored well with the critics like Peñín and Robert Parker. Below is a list in no particular order of the producers, many of which also make Sherry. There are individual and more detailed posts on the bigger table wine bodegas in the Bodegas section.

Own 120 hectares of albariza vineyard in Santa Lucía and Gibalbín where they produce various table wines and are working on organic production: Beta Brut is bottle fermented sparkling wine made from Palomino and Chardonnay ; Castillo de San Diego is Spain’s best-selling white, made from 100% Palomino with no oak and its semi-sweet partner Maestrante with 25g/l sugars. Another white, Blanco de Blancos is made from Sauvignon, Verdejo and Moscatel. They also produce Fly 6.5, a partially fermented (therefore only 6.5ᴼ) still Moscatel and Vi, a semi sparkling Moscatel at 6ᴼ. The latest white is Mirabrás, a much more serious wine made from lightly sunned Palomino fermented and aged in butts and tanks under flor for about 21 months.

Then there are the reds: Gibalbín, a young red produced from Tempranillo, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tintilla, and Gibalbín Crianza, a Tempranillo, Merlot, Petit Verdot blend aged 8 months in used French & American oak. Cobijado is the result of a colaboration between Barbadillo oenologist, Montse Molina, and wine expert Jaime Carvajal. It is made from the same grapes as Gibalbin plus Petit Verdot and aged 1 year in French and American oak. Recently launched is the delicious Nude, “insultingly young red” made from Tintilla grapes fermented carbonically and sold in a bottle with only a neck label. Also new is Quadis made from Tempranillo, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Tintilla and 11 months in oak.

This association of 7 organic grape growers in Trebujena collectively owns some 20 hectares, mostly Palomino but also some rare local varieties, releases small amounts of wine under the names of their producers. Best known are Pepe Cabral (see below) with his Entusiastico and Pepe Fernández Aguilar with his RiacheroMostolé also supply grapes to Williams & Humbert for their forthcoming organic vintage Sherries.

Pepe Cabral 
Pepe is a vine grower and great promotor of organic wines in the Sanlúcar area and is known for collaborating with Delgado Zuleta to produce Entusiastica, the only organic Manzanilla. He is also making wines from virtually lost grape varieties such as Castellano and Mantuo de Pilas, He is working with various bodegas as well as the viticultural research station, Rancho de la Merced, the Consejo Regulador and the University of Cádiz. His releases so far are usually so small that they are consumed locally.

Equipo Navazos
For at least a decade Jesús Barquín and Eduardo Ojeda have been setting the world on fire with stunning small batch releases of rare and interesting Sherry, but have also been experimenting with Montilla, Cava, spirits and table wine. They worked with Dirk Niepoort, a Port producer with an equally enquiring mind, on Navazos-Niepoort, a barrel-fermented unfortified Palomino wine aged about a year under flor which has been released annually since 2008. They have another version, the outstanding La Bota de Florpower which is effectively unfortified Manzanilla aged in tanks and butts under flor for 32 months, and capable of further bottle ageing.

Bodegas Ibargüen
On the road between El Bosque and Arcos is the Finca Las Posadas where they farm 5 hectares of Syrah, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, They make three reds: a Ibargüen Syrah Seleccion, a Ibargüen Roble and a Ibargüen Joven, ageing all but the latter in French and American oak.

González Byass
While they are present in various other DO areas, GB own Finca Moncloa, a 45 hectare vineyard with albariza soils near Arcos, where (along with Tintilla de Rota) they produce 2 excellent reds: Finca Moncloa from Cabernet, Petit Verdot, Tintilla and Merlot and the Finca Moncloa Colección Barricas from Syrah, Cabernet and Tintilla aged in French and American oak.

Gabriel Raya
Gabriel makes a really interesting Lacum Listán Dulce, a dulce natural (fermentation stopped by adding a little alcohol) made from Palomino at Sanlúcar and aged for 8 months in seasoned butts. Only 800 bottles are produced annually.

Bodega Peter Maurer & Sons
This is a small 2 hectare organic vineyard near Lebrija planted with Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah. De Raiz is aged 1 year + in new French oak and there is a fine Pinot Noir.

Etú Vinos
A small organic family vineyard near Vejer run by Ute Mergner, growing Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Tintilla, Syrah and Cabernet. Imaginatively the white is called El Blanco, the rosé is called El Rosado and the reds Son and Sonrisa, both aged in French oak.

Sancha Pérez
This is an organic family estate producing olives and wine between Conil and Vejer. They grow Petit Verdot, Tintilla, Tempranillo, Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Albariño. There is a young Petit Vedot and Tempranillo red and the other 2 reds are aged in French oak while there is also a Sauvignon Blanc. All the wines go under the name Sancha Pérez.

Compañía de Vinos del Atlántico
Established in 2002, this is a go-ahead firm making wine all over Spain. The winemaker in Cádiz is Alberto Orté. His Vara y Pulgar is made from Tintilla grapes grown organically in albariza near Cádiz and aged in a mix of concrete tank and French oak barriques, while Atlántida is similar but from grapes grown in the Pago Bilbaina in Jerez and aged in French oak for a total of 28 months. There is also a white, Atlantida Blanco made from the all but lost grape variety Vijiriega.

Bodegas Vinifícate
Established in San Fernando in 2011, winemaker brothers Miguel and José Gómez Lucas make Mahara organic tintilla from Balbaina, aged in tinaja and barrel. They also make a white Amorro from Palomino and are working on sparkling wine. All production processes are entirely natural and decisions are taken according to what each wine requires. They are now also using anforae.

Taberner (Huerta de Albalá)
Vicente Taberner bought El Caballo vineyard in Balbaina from Osborne, which now forms part of his 170 ha of Palomino, Chardonnay, Syrah, Tintilla, Melot and Cabernet Sauvignon. His wines are Barbazul red, white and rosé, Barbazul Seleccion, Taberner Syrah, Taberner No. 1 Syrah. Vicente once worked with Jan Pettersen of Fernando de Castilla when they both worked at Osborne.

Grupo Estévez
Although winemaker Eduardo Ojeda has been making table wine for Equipo Navazos for some time, Estévez themselves have only recently launched a table wine. Called Ojo de Gallo, it is made from Palomino grapes grown in the pago Macharnudo Alto where they own 256 hectares. This excellent wine spends 6 months ageing on fine lees before bottling and really shows the vineyard flavour. In 2018 they launched Albariza, a Palomino from other vineyards as the more commercial little sister of Ojo de Gallo.

González Palacios
Established in Lebrija in 1960, this firm makes excellent table wines like the crianza biológica Sólo Palomino with 2 years under flor, Viento en la Cara (Sauvignon/Palomino) and Overo Tinto (50/50 Tempranillo and Syrah). The bodega is actually in the province of Sevilla, not Cádiz, but worth including here as they make such good Palomino, and also wines in the Manzanilla style.

Luis Pérez
One of the best winemakers in the area, Luis Pérez and his winemaker son Willy Pérez produce Garum, from Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot aged for a year in oak, Garum Submarino, from Tintilla with 2 years in French oak then bottled, each bottle going inside an amphora and aged for a further year under the sea. Tintilla aged 16 months in French oak, Petit Verdot aged 1 year in new French oak. They also make Samaruco, which is a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon. The latest additions to the range are the Tintilla El Triangulo, the Palomino El Muelle de Olaso and the Tintilla rosé Marismilla. Willy has his own projects too: he is making unfortified vintage Sherry, Fino, Oloroso and Raya Barajuela in their El Corregidor vineyard in the Pago Carrascal.

Ramiro Ibáñez Cota 45
Ramiro is a brilliant winemaker and seems to be making wine everywhere. He acts as a consultant for various bodegas as well as making his own highly individual wines. Ube is made from old varieties of Palomino and aged without flor to show the vine and soil characteristics, Pandorga is a dulce natural made from sunned PX grapes grown in Carrascal and is allowed to ferment naturally in butts without fortification, then aged for a year in those butts. Pitijopos is a range of 6 Palomino wines all made the same way but from different vineyards to show their differences. Ramiro also makes a young vintage Palo Cortado, Encrucijado, which though unfortified is more of a Sherry.

Viña Callejuela
Callejuela is a bodega surrounded by its vineyards just outside Sanlúcar and run by the Blanco brothers. Apart from excellent Sherry and Manzanilla they produce a classic  Blanco de Hornillos made from Palomino from their vineyards in Hornillos, Anina and Macharnudo without crianza, but delicious anyway as it really demonstrates the flavour of the terruño and has a tantalising trace of flor. They recently launched individual wines from each of these vineyards; La Choza, las Mercedes and Hacienda de Dona Francisca, and they are excellent. Their oenologist is Ramiro Ibáñez.

Hacienda la Parrilla Alta
Located in San José del Valle this charming estate is owned by brothers Ricardo and Miguel Rebuelta. Their top wine is Arroyo Alquitón a Tintilla with 12 months in French oak, while the Hacienda La Parrilla Alta range consists of a Petit Verdot with 10% Syrah aged for 4 months in French and American oak, and a dry white from 50/50 Palomino/PX. There is also a sweet red made from Syrah at 12 ᴼ and with 3 months in oak.  Their oenologist is Ramiro Ibáñez.

Cortijo de Jara
This is a beautiful old cortijo between Jerez and Gibalbín which produces various crops including olive oil and chick peas as well as wine. They grow Tempranillo, Merlot and Syrah, and for the whites Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürztraminer. The wines are CJ Joven, a fresh young Tempranillo, CJ Roble made from Tempranillo, Merlot and Syrah with 6 months crianza, CJ Doce Meses, Tempranillo, Merlot and Syrah with 12 months in oak and CJ Blanco, a fragrant Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay blend and a Gewürztraminer with a hint of Sauvignon Blanc.

Finca las Mesetas
Owned by the Camacho family, this finca is near Setenil de las Bodegas, a town famous for houses built into the overhanging rock. Much wine was produced here till Phylloxera, hence the name. The finca’s vineyards extend to only 1.3 hectares of Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from which their oenologist, Santi Jordi, makes  Xaldenil, a fine red with 4 months in French oak and which will improve over the next few years. They also produce a red called 7 Mil Pasos made with the same grapes but aged longer, both in barrel and bottle.

Regantío Viejo  
Between Villamartín and Arcos the Compañía General de Vinos de Cádiz owns the charming finca Regantío Viejo, probably the oldest producers of red wine in the region. It is an organic estate of 100ha of which 30 are planted with vines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Syrah. Miguel Gómez is the consultant winemaker. The Regantío Viejo range has a young red made from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha and Merlot, and a white made from Zalema. Acanto is a Syrah, Merlot, Tempranillo blend age 5 months in oak, while Expresión is a fruity Syrah, Tempranillo, Merlot blend. The estate has country houses to let for wine tourism and a restaurant and makes olive oil.

Santiago Jordi
This young oenologist from Jerez is mostly involved in winemaking projects in the north of Spain, but makes an excellent Margarito y Amapolo in albariza soils near Jerez. It is a small batch 50/50 Petit Verdot and Tintilla aged for 6 months in French oak and is superb. In 2018 he launched two new wines: Cara Cepa, a blend of Syrah, Petit Verdot and Tintilla,  and Atuna, a Chardonnay.

Páez Morilla
Based in Jerez this firm is the leading Sherry Vinegar producer but is also involved with wine production. Apart from owning Dios Baco, they make table wines like Risa which is a semi sweet vino de aguja (semi-sparkling wine) made from Moscatel, Tierra Blanca dry Palomino and a sweeter version with Palomino, Moscatel and Riesling. There is a new Late harvest Cabernet Sauvignon which is quite sweet and called Arrullo de Estrellas, and also new is the Dios Baco Buleria Sauvignon Blanc. 

Hermanos Holgado
Based in Villamartín, the Holgado brothers were very successful with their Queso Pajarete cheese and are now producing organic wine in a vineyard in the Parque de los Alcornocales south of Jerez.  The wines are Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon, all with 6 months crianza, Tinto Joven (Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Syrah) and Tinto Roble, which is Tinto Joven with a few weeks in barrel.

Cuatro Ojos Wines
Three girls newly qualified in viticulture at Instituto Santo Domingo in El Puerto have made a lovely dry organic Moscatel Contratiempo from grapes sourced in Chipiona. 2015 was their first vintage, and things augur well. There are two other whites: Molinero and Desvelado and also a carbonic maceration red called A Pulso.

Delgado Zuleta
This very old firm in Sanlúcar produces a good table wine called Viña Galvana. It is made from Palomino with a little Moscatel and fermented in tank. There is no flor or ageing involved and it is sold young and refreshing with plenty of albariza flavour.

Alba Viticultores
Fernando Angulo and his winemaker wife, Carmen Caballero, Alejandro Muchada and Miguel Gómez (of Vinifícate), known as “the four musketeers”, work in Sanlúcar and are passionate about the land, the vineyard and the Palomino.  They visited Jura, and Champagne, which has similar soils, and talked with similarly minded producers there, and were inspired to make organic sparkling wine in the Pago Miraflores in Sanlúcar, Alba Ancestral, made from Listán, an old clone of Palomino, and Alba Confitero has 8-9 months bottle fermentation, and there is a still version. Alba Mosto is a white Palomino table wine, and Alba Sobretablas is too. There is also a sparkling Rosado made from Palomino and Tintilla. These guys make great – totally natural and really interesting - wine, but in painfully small quantities.

Bodega Forlong
Oenologists Alejandro Narváez and Rocío Áspera own the small Finca El Olivar de Forlón near El Puerto de   María which once belonged to Sherry shippers Matthiesen Furlong in the XVIII-XIX centuries. Here they grow organic Palomino, Pedro Ximénez and Tintilla, while in another vineyard near Jerez they grow more Tintilla, Cabernet sauvignon and Merlot. Their bodega is unusual being underground. The wines are: Forlong Blanco (85% Palomino, 15% PX), Forlong Rosado (100% Cabernet), Forlong Assemblage (Syrah, Merlot and Tintilla fermented in tinaja and aged 1 year in oak), Petit Forlong (a younger version of Assemblage), Forlong Tintilla (100% Tintilla) and La Fleur (Palomino with 2 years under flor).

Bodegas Miguel Domecq
Miguel Domecq, a member of the famous Sherry family established a bodega in 2003 at his 32 hectare Cortijo de Torrecera. He grows Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon in albariza soils. The consultant winemaker is Joaquín Gómez. There are 2 ranges of wines: Entrechuelos Chardonnay, Entrechuelos Rosé, Entrechuelos Premium (all the red grapes and 36 months crianza), Entrechuelos Roble (similar but with 1 year crianza, Entrechuelos Tercer Año (similar but 2 years crianza). Then there is the Alhocen Chardonnay (fermented and lees aged in French oak), Alhocen Selección Personal (all the red grapes plus 14 months French oak and 30 in bottle) and Alhocen Syrah-Merlot (60% Merlot, 40% Syrah, 14 months new French oak and 22 months in bottle). Recently introduced is a sparkling wine called Talayon, made from Chardonnay by the traditional bottle fermentation process.

Williams & Humbert
Like some others, this great Sherry bodega makes wines in other regions of Spain, but makes 2 table wines in Cádiz: Estero Blanco (100% Palomino from Balbaina cold fermented and bottled immediately after stabilisation) and Medina Selección (very similar to Estero).

Bodega Vina Santa Maria de Los Reyes
The 2.2 hectare vineyard is at the Finca Canchal Alto near Algodonales and was planted in 2003 by Roberto Salas Pinto. He produces two red wines: Petita made from 100% Petit Verdot aged 14 months, Galestro from Syrah, Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon oak aged in oak for 10 months and Vino 3, a blend of all the grape varieties.

Mayetería Sanluqueña
This is a group of three growers in the Sanlúcar area, who refer to themselves as "Titanes de la Albariza" and are now making wine from their grapes rather than just selling them. They hope to number five soon and eventually ten, when they hope to be able to acquire their own bodega. The project is backed by oenologist Ramiro Ibáñez. Their first release was 2016 vintage under the common brand name Corta y Raspa (a form of fine pruning related to the traditional Vara y Pulgar system) but with each grower's details also on the label. The wines are totally natural 100% Palomino and fermented in butt. One to watch out for, especially as these are not the only wines they make...

Compañía de Vinos Entre Dos Aguas
Francisco Coro and Miguel Flores use traditional artisan methods in the best soils and offer four wines, Los Cuatro Pagos, which only differ in one respect: the soil. They also make a sparkling Gewurztraminer Aminea and a late harvest Tempranillo.

Lagar de Ambrosio
Established in 1982 by their father Antonio, José Antonio Bocanegra and his sister Ana run this tiny bodega in Olvera, in the Sierra de Cádiz, close to the border with Málaga. Their very interesting wine, Lagar de Ambrosio is made from organic late ripening Perruno grapes which are very rare these days as many found them difficult to work with. The harvest is in late September.

Viñedos de Taramilla
Based at Prado del Rey in vineyards once famous for Paxarete, they make Taramilla Cosecha from Tempranillo, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon and Taramilla Roble from the same grapes but aged for a few months in American and French oak barrels.

Bodegas Primitivo Collantes
Established in the XIX century in Chiclana and still a family business, Collantes make some extremely good wine. Their 55 hectares of vineyard are within the Sherry production zone but they also make the delicious single vineyard Viña Matalian (Palomino with no crianza – there is a sweeter version too) and Socaire, made with Ramiro Ibáñez  from Palomino grapes grown on albariza and fermented and aged in butts for 2 years.

Compañía General de Vinos de Cádiz
Based at Finca las Covatillas near Zahara de la Sierra this firm produces an excellent red from Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Syrah called Fine Tempo. Unusually, the oak ageing of the wine takes place in prehistoric caves. They also make a young red from Syrah and Petit Verdot called Ego Te Absolvo.

This small outfit benefited from the work of the oenologist Ramiro Ibáñez to produce a white wine called Parpatana, made from 80% Palomino and 20% Moscatel. It is released without ageing and its producers' idea was that it would be the perfect match for tuna and various local fish. They also do some contract bottling for small local producers.

Bodegas José Tejero Moreno
Established in 1937 this firm owns 29 hectares of albariza and makes Sherry style wines but is better known for their sparkling ones. The Vino de Aguja (petillant), the Espumoso and the still Vino Blanco are made from Palomino, while the red Vino Tinto is made from Tempranillo, Syrah and Tintilla.

Viña Granujales
Is a small producer of fine Moscatel in the Sierra de Cádiz near Prado del Rey. Granujales is a family finca run by Antonio Abad which till 2002 was an estate with pigs, cork oaks and olives, though vines grew there two centuries ago. He planted a hectare of Moscatel de Alejandria between 2003 and 2004 and produced wine for the family. In 2015 he decided to sell it, and it has been well accepted. Future plans include using cork from his own trees to seal the bottles, building a small bodega and planting the red grape Mollar Cano, a variety which has all but disappeared. The wine is dry and fruity and is currently bottled for them by neighbour Bodegas Rivero.

Bodegas Manuel Aragon (Bodega Sanatorio)
This famous bodega in Chiclana make an organic Tinto Roble from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot fermented separately, blended together and aged for 4 months in French and American oak. They also make a Tinto Dulce Natural (naturally sweet red) from late harvested Tempranillo and Syrah at 15%. They also grow Sauvignon Blanc and make a vermouth.

Bodega Muchada-Leclapart
Founded in January 2017 this small bodega in Sanlúcar is run by Alejandro Muchada and  his partner, Champagne producer Daniel Leclapart who work from 3 hectares of bio-dynamic Palomino vineyard in Miraflores and Moscatel in Chipiona. They produce 6 wines - one, Elixir, is a bland of Palomino and Moscatel and the rest, including the sparkling Fugaz, are Palomino vinified in different ways: Etoile, Univers, Lumiere and Vibrations.

Bodegas Rivero
Founded in 1864, this family bodega at Prado del Rey is the last producer of Pajarete and also makes fine quality table wines, the dry Fabio Montano and sweet Viña Tardía from Moscatel and the reds Fabio Montano and Rivero from Tempranillo, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Oleum Viride
While principally a producer of excellent organic olive oil in the Sierra de Cádiz, OV also produce organic wine from a small vineyard at Zahara de la Sierra using Syrah and Petit Verdot with an annual production of 2-3,000 bottles of Fine Tempo.

Ángel Luis Gutiérrez Nieto
Based in his small viña Blas vineyard in the Los Terrazgos area of the Sierra de Grazalema, probably the highest vineyard in Cádiz at 850 metres, Ángel is making small quantities of white wine from the local Beba, Rey and Perruno grapes. He has slowly been buying neighbouring plots which also have these old vines. Alejandro Cobos is the consultant winemaker and the wine, Terrajo, is totally natural, unfiltered and has no added sulphites. The first commercial vintage was only 700 bottles but this is likely to grow.

Guardi Wines
Javier Guardiola, whose family has a long history of winemaking, is producing the first wines in the province with Demeter biodynamic certification at his Finca El Higueral near Arcos. Here he has been growing Pinot Noir and Merlot since 2011 and produces two excellent wines: Vino Amor (100% Pinot) and Barón Gracia Real (Pinot-Merlot blend).

Bodega Tesalia
Owned by Englishman Richard Golding, this beautiful estate is near Arcos. The 11 hectares of vines produce two red wines Tesalia and Arx from 11 hectares planted to Petit Verdot, Tintilla, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah in 10 distinct vineyard blocks. His plan is to make  "Grand Cru" wine in a beautiful place. The wines were first released in 2018 and all augurs very well.

In a separate post (Vinos de la Tierra de Cádiz) the rules and regulations for the wines can be found.

1 comment:

  1. What a truly amazing piece of work! This is the only concise yet fully comprehensive round-up of Cádiz table wines I have ever seen in print. Congratulations!