Thursday, 14 June 2018

The Botellero of González Byass

“El Aljibe” (or well) is a cellar beneath one of the bodegas where 5,000 bottles of old wine dating from the mid XIX century onwards have been lovingly stored. Both temperature and humidity are controlled and the location is quiet so the wines can sleep in peace. Every year some of the best wine is bottled and kept here as a reference or for the personal consumption of the family, and over many years a kind of liquid archive of incalculable value has been built up. This reflects the style and quality of the firm’s wines, helping with continuity and innovation through looking at the past.

Many of these wines are añadas and many are pre-phylloxera. There are also examples here from the firm’s oldest soleras like Matúsalem, Apóstoles, Viña AB and Tio Pepe as well as pre-phylloxera Moscatels, single vineyard wines like La Racha (Macharnudo Alto) 1930 and unique wines made specially to commemorate family events and the appointments of popes or kings. The Gran Perico wines are here too, wines specially bottled every year for Pedro Nolasco González, son of the founder, Manuel María González Ángel.

Over the last two years the cellar has been undergoing refurbishment and the wines, quite a few of which still bear their original labels, have been re-corked where necessary and catalogued. The firm has extensive inventories and records held by the González Byass Foundation which helped identify some. In charge of this laborious operation have been the firm’s president, Mauricio González Gordon, oenologist Antonio Flores and his daughter Silvia, the third generation of the Flores family to work at GB and a sommelier and oenology student. After cataloguing, the wines have now been placed in an enormous new floor to ceiling wine rack in which to display these most precious treasures. Unfortunately, but probably wisely, the botellero is not open to the public and is only open for special visitors and experts.

Last Monday an inaugural tasting was held here for special guests. The wines tasted were: Oloroso 1963, Viña Amorosa 1911, Matúsalem from the 1930s and Moscatel Pio X which is over 120 years old. Follow this link to an excellent 10 minute film about the botellero:

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