Wednesday, 23 August 2017

23.8.17 Williams & Humbert to Launch Organic Sherry

Sometime next year W&H will launch a three year old organic Fino from the 2015 vintage while an organic Oloroso is still ageing as it needs more time. These will be the first organic Sherries from Jerez. A couple of years ago Delgado Zuleta successfully launched an organic Manzanilla called “Entusiastico” and behind both projects is Pepe Cabral, a passionate advocate of organic viticulture and leader of Mostolé, a group of like-minded growers who supply the grapes for the organic Sherries. Having approached a few bodegas with the idea without success, the Medina family who own W&H immediately saw the opportunity and signed a contract with them in 2015.

Since the 11 members of Mostolé only own just over 20 hectares of vineyard between them, quantities cannot be large, but the quality is excellent, and W&H bought nearly all the grapes. The firm’s oenologist, Paola Medina, is delighted with the wines’ evolution so far and says that “the idea sounded good from the start since the increase in interest in Sherry coincides with increasing interest in organic wines”. While the Spanish market hasn’t yet shown much interest in organic wines, the northern European one has great possibilities. Nonetheless, the fledgling project has attracted considerable interest from the trade.

38 butts of 2015 organic Fino at Williams & Humbert (foto:AGonzalezdiariodejerez)

For the moment W&H are keeping the wines as añada but are not ruling out the possibility of starting soleras; it depends on how the wines develop. And of course some may develop into Amontillados, Palo Cortados… When the grapes were pressed the must was allowed to ferment spontaneously without any yeast inoculation. To gain organic certification, the fortifying alcohol also needs to be organic and the Comité Andaluz de Agricultura Ecológica (CAAE) must verify the traceability of the complete product from vineyard to bottle.

So far the firm has not come up with a name for the wine. One possibility is to use an existing brand name like Fino Pando Ecológico and the other, obviously, is to create a new one. Certainly a new name would avoid any risk of confusion, but would need time for design and registration.

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