Friday 13 October 2017

Bodegas: Hermanos Bernaldo de Quirós

Manuel Bernaldo de Quirós y Portilla (1788-1855) was a well-respected and wealthy man who was mayor of Cóbreces, Cantabria, no fewer than three times among many other local distinctions.  He owned a bodega with a chapel and vineyards in Jerez as well as other properties, both in Jerez and in Cantabria. He married Antonia Pomar y González in 1818 and they had nine children, all of whom died young except Antonio (1825-1901), his older brother Manuel (1818-1893) and a younger brother, Valentín (b 1833).

Manuel (L) and Antonio Bernaldo Quiros

Manuel and Antonio left Ruiloba and went off to Jerez when they inherited their father’s properties there in the 1850s and proceeded to make a great deal of money by selling top quality Sherries. Antonio was the more committed of the two to the bodegas and effectively ran them. The family was devoutly religious and Carlist and gave generously to various religious institutions, even founding a new monastery in Cantabria as well as an agricultural institute which still exists. Manuel died unmarried in 1893, having returned to the north, and Antonio died, also unmarried, in 1901 in Jerez having sold their vineyard El Corregidor and the bodega’s best soleras, amounting to 800 butts, to Sandeman in 1894. These very old soleras produce Sandeman’s top wines: Royal Esmeralda, Royal Corregidor and Royal Ambrosante. The vineyard turned out to be a bit of a poisoned chalice however, as Phylloxera arrived that very year.

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