A blog and review on all things Sherry. It is about tasting, enjoyment and learning more about the World’s Finest Wine. "Sherry is a thoroughbred" as Javier Hidalgo rightly puts it. Included are the amazing local Brandies and the remarkably good table wines also produced in the province of Cádiz.
Bright, clean pale gold with silvery gold highlights. Nose
Very fresh and aromatic with top notes of Moscatel and the appley Palomino behind making it very grapey with traces of mandarin and kiwi adding to the wine´s fruity character which is emphasised by not using wood for maturation. There are faint, delicate notes of petals and fresh herbs too.
Light, fruity, dry and elegant. The balance of Moscatel and Palomino is perfect and the wine is very subtle with all the fruit notes already mentioned plus some of that Sanlúcar salinity and beautifully judged acidity. It is gently tangy and very tasty and has a slightly chalky texture.
This lovely and well-priced wine was made by José Antonio Palacios Caparro, once the oenologist at Pedro Romero and now at Bodegas Alonso in Sanlúcar. He makes one or two wines on his own account: Alucinante, Fernando Poo and this classic Vino Blanco de Sanlúcar named in honour of his grandfather who taught him about viticulture. This is the first release of Riparia and it is made the artisan way using Palomino (sourced from the pago Mahina) and Moscatel (from Chipiona) and is basically an extension of the very successful Alucinante in which by dropping the temperature the fermentation stops at 9.5% leaving the wine with some residual grape sugars, but with Riparia he lets the wine ferment out leaving it dry. It is not aged in wood.
Medium to full depth blacky cherry red with some pink at the rim, garnet highlights. Nose
Fresh and fruity with aromas of very ripe cherry and redcurrants and perhaps a background trace of rosehip. There are also some of those notes you only get from sunned grapes and traces of raisin and a faint spicy almost cardamom hint. Fruity, interesting and attractive.
Definitely sweet but not as sweet as the usual Tintilla. It is lighter and less viscous and tastes more like the grape itself unfettered by arrope and still with some primary flavours of the very gently tangy cherry fruit coming through. Raisin flavours are at a minimum and it tastes more or less like a normal red wine but sweeter. It is smooth with no aggressive tannin, and of course it doesn´t cloy.
This interesting and tasty wine is the product of the vineyard of one of the Mayetos Sanluqueños, the talented Antonio Bernal. It is a sweet wine made from 100% Tintilla de Rota grapes, but not by the usual method which involves the addition of arrope and which tends to have a brownish colour. He simply uses super ripe grapes with very brief sunning and adds a little alcohol to the fermentation which stops it at only 9.5% leaving a wine which is sweet, but not nearly as sweet as the standard version, with an attractive red colour and many fewer oxidative notes, much less alcohol and much more fruit. Only a very small amount was made (which would make it less of a pain to handwrite the info on each bottle!) and so it is only available in Sanlúcar.
Bright deepish mahogany fading to amber with copper highlights. Nose
Distinct aromas of cacao up front but not so much that the fragrance of the base wine is obscured and in fact these two very different aromas seem to work beautifully in harmony. It smells interesting and appealing rather than odd, and there are faint background traces of wood and orange as well, and the base wine would appear to be of fine quality.
The Sherry is a bit more prominent now giving a certain ripe fruitiness and structure which balances nicely with the cacao as the proportions are perfect and well harmonised by ageing. Naturally there is a bit of sweetness in the wine but again this has been judged perfectly - medium sweet perhaps - so it is not at all cloying. It is reasonably light, clean, fresh and tasty with a good long finish. Comments
Unfortunately named (at least to English speakers) and a bit unusual though it might be, this wine is really nice, though it is probably best after dinner and only very slightly chilled. Its creator is José Antonio Palacios who was once the oenologist at the great bodegas of Pedro Romero in Sanlúcar and now at Bodegas Alonso, which is of course one of the old Pedro Romero bodegas. It consists of Oloroso aged in a butt for a considerable time with cacao essence - the end product is 15 years old - which gives it those chocolatey aromas. Production is tiny with only 250 x 50cl bottles released. The wine was the brainchild of a capataz back in the 1950s but it was forgotten about until José Antonio resuscitated and adjusted the formula. Fernando Poo, also known as Bioko, is in fact an island belonging to Equatorial Guinea off the coast of Cameroon which is a noted producer of cacao. It was discovered by the Portuguese explorer Fernão da Pó in the XV century and later colonised by Spain. It even had its own postage stamps.
As things stand, the recent prohibition
of the Bag in Box by the Superior Court of Justice of Andalucía
only affects Sherry and Manzanilla, but not wines from the Production Zone. For
example Fino from Chiclana has long been widely sold – legally - in BIB, mainly
to local tabancos, but to the extent that the Unión de Viticultores Chiclaneros
once threatened to leave the DO if it were banned.
With the echoes of the BIB court
case still ringing, and its supporters, like the Association of Artisan Bodegas
left with one last legal resort (or forlorn hope) of winning their case in the
Supreme Court, the cooperative Virgen de los Palomares in Trebujena, which is
in the Production Zone, is preparing to launch a Fino in BIB under the name of
a well-known Manzanilla brand sold only in bulk with the name assigned to the
coop by its owner, a member of the Artisan Bodegas Association.
The brand is the popular “Manzanilla
La E” from Bodegas Herederos de Argüeso owned by Francisco Yuste and the
wine will be the coop´s own Fino, not the Manzanilla which is a separate DO, sold
as “Fino La E” for which DO guarantee seals have already been applied for at
the Consejo Regulador.
This move marks a contrast to the
aspirations of the coops of the area of merging the Production Zone with the
Ageing Zone, one of the matters currently under review by the commission set up
by the Consejo with a view to reforming the regulations covering the wines of
the DO. The Consejo finds the move “hardly serious and incomprehensible” since
when the two zones are merged, as is likely this coming year, the BIB will be
prohibited, so there seems little point in it.
On the other hand, the president
of Los Palomares, Juan Manuel Sánchez, sustains that the changes to
the regulations will take ages – it had been hoped they could have come into force
this year, but they didn´t - and it is not clear what the terms of the final
agreement of the new regulations will be. “In any case we can always reverse
the decision” he says.
In fact he says that the coop had
been leaving the BIB to one side to fight for the merging of the zones and had even
postponed an application for EU funds to increase production, though they will apply
at the next round once the regulations have been resolved and they know if they
need a new normal bottling line or one which fills BIBs.
“Things are taking ages and let us
hope they can be sorted at the next Consejo plenary in January, but we are not
holding our breath, but the coop has to look for profitability” he says. And
this is why they accepted Yuste´s offer of the brand name so they could change
it to Fino and sell it in BIB. Palomares, the largest of the two coops in
Trebujena has only previously used the BIB format for mosto but according to
Dcoop, to which Palomares belongs, there is growing demand for wines in this
format in countries where BIB is popular.
Sánchez believes that the
current regulations have given rise to incongruencies which are the result of the
duality of the Production and Ageing Zones and the existence of wines of two
categories: Sherry and Manzanilla which can only be aged in the Ageing Zone for
the DO and the other wines from the Production Zone, places like Trebujena,
Chipiona, Chiclana, Rota… which can use terminology like Oloroso, Fino etc
which must be accompanied by the name of the place of production. He feels that
the regulations need to be more realistic and logical so as not to give rise to
Deep amber, light old mahogany with bright orange glints and a trace of green at the rim. Nose
Beautiful fragrant old Oloroso starting with traces of oak and more exotic woods like cedar used in cigar boxes, a leather tobacco pouch, and faint traces of cinnamon and marmalade. While fine Oloroso predominates, in the background there is a gentle hint of PX as if only the bare minimum was used to make the wine just about medium so it didn´t spoil the quality of the Oloroso.
Rich and fairly full bodied with a trace of caramel. The PX is slightly more apparent now and gives the wine a gentle raisiny fruitiness but it is definitely more medium-dry than medium, and the lovely Oloroso flavour, beautifully honed by bottle age, dominates with the finish being fairly dry - and very long. It has a very attractive warm open texture and for all the aromas of wood there is no tannin, in fact it is very smooth.Delicious.
At Christmas time back in the
1960s my grandfather in Spain used to send us a present of two wooden wine
boxes, one containing all sorts of Spanish delicacies like tins of partridge in
Rioja wine sauce and various seasonal sweetmeats like turrón,
polvorones and pasteles de gloria. The other box contained 12 bottles of Garvey
Long Life Sherry. You can imagine the pleasure in receiving a bit of Spain at
Christmas, and how thrilled I was to find this bottle which took me straight
back to those happy days. Armando reckons this bottle dates from the 1980s, but
it could be from the 1970s, in which case it just could be pre-Rumasa which bought
Garvey in 1978. The bottle contains 70 cl. which is fairly typical for the pre - EU
1970s - 1980s and on its base appears the number 81 which might be the date. It
also has nicks in the upper label edge which would accurately date it if one only had
the card. Anyway it is a Sherry of real quality, produced mainly for the export market, but not for many years now unfortunately.
Wishing you an extremely happy
Christmas with a glass of good Sherry and an exciting New Year in which you could visit the Sherry region and
see for yourself just how interesting and welcoming it is with its millennia of
history, wonderful people, wines and cuisine. There is so much to do, see and
enjoy and the chance to learn more about the most interesting wine in the
world. You owe it to yourself!