Wednesday, 4 April 2018

4/4/18 Consejo Opens Debate on Supporting New Wines of the Area

The last few years have seen a wave of new wines being produced in the Marco de Jerez which is attracting much attention by revitalising traditions, recuperating old native grape varieties, reviving old artisan winemaking practices and focusing on the terroir. It has attracted the interest of both producers and institutions and these characterful wines, which so beautifully express their origins and traditions, will be the subject of debate in a new commission set up by the Consejo Regulador to look into their possible incorporation into the regulations. The idea is to study the viability of including what is already happening in the area, both with the big bodegas and the dynamic young winemakers, to find a way to legalise their production to open the door to commercialising the wines with a DO seal, which many undoubtedly merit.

This parallel reality encompasses traditional winemaking methods such as unfortified Sherries made from extra ripe grapes, perhaps sunned and with little or no crianza, wines made from almost lost local grape varieties which have been resuscitated like Mantua and Perruno as well as other older clones of Palomino.  It also encompasses other types of wine like mosto and sobretablas used to make Sherry, and those made by cooperatives and bodegas located in the production zone, which can only be sold with the name of the type of wine and its town of origin but without the DO seal.

The plan is to study, avoiding where possible any conflict, the new winemaking realities which are taking off in the area in terms of what Sherry used to be before the DO regulations restricted the possibilities with fortification and ageing requirements. While the commission was formally constituted on Monday, there is no set calendar for meetings so far, but at a preliminary meeting the various topics for debate were put on the table with a view to trying to achieve consensus through debate before submitting them to a full Consejo meeting for approbation. Attending the meeting were officials from the Consejo, Fedejerez, Asevi-Asaja and the cooperatives, that is to say all interested parties – except the Manzanilleros of Sanlúcar, who are not happy with the inclusion of the contentious issue of Fino from Sanlúcar, which Fedejerez wants to veto.

On the agenda are certain other conflictive issues which have been festering such as the extension of the ageing zone to include the production zone, but the focus has been switched to look at other formulas to commercialise the wines of those communities which are not in the ageing zone and thus unable to use the DO seal. Another issue is the definition of grape quality parameters to more accurately assess prices. The Consejo director, César Saldaña, says the agenda is not closed, and any issue which is reasonable and would need a modification of the regulations can be added. He also expressed the desire of the Consejo that the Manzanilleros reconsider their position so that the commission can count on the participation of everybody.

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