Sunday, 3 June 2018

The Production Bodegas

Unlike any other wine region, the Marco de Jerez DO is divided into two distinct zones: the ageing zone and the production zone. The ageing zone or “Sherry Triangle” consists of the three towns of Jerez, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar and only wines aged here can carry the DO seal. The rest of the delimited area is the production zone, which naturally comprises all the vineyards, but the bodegas which age wine here are not allowed to sell wine under the DO seal. Instead much wine and must is sold to the shipping bodegas in the ageing zone which are allowed to sell it on as DO Sherry, simply because it has been aged, or further aged, there. They can’t sell Sherry-style wines under the IGP (Indicación Geográfica Protegida) Vino de la Tierra de Cádiz either, so the only DO open to them is that of Production Zone. It is more about where wine is aged rather than where it is produced.

The production bodegas produce wine which is often every bit as good as that of the shippers, but without the DO label they cannot sell it for the price it merits. Many do bottle wine for sale without the DO seal, and while they do get a “Bodega de Producción Control de Existencias” seal, and are allowed to use the name of the place they come from as well as terms like “Fino” and “Amontillado”, they can’t use the word “Sherry”. Another problem is that the costs of bottling, labelling and distribution add to the price and few customers would want to pay that without the guarantee of the word “Sherry”. This obviously hinders sales, but suits the big shipping bodegas very well as it limits competition. They are a much more powerful lobby at the Consejo and are in no hurry to see any change in the status quo, however unfair it might seem to the production bodegas, who would like to see the production zone merged with the ageing zone and thereby be able to avail themselves of the same rights. There are some moves afoot, however. In May 2018 the Consejo set up a commission to look into all the contentious issues in the area, one of which is whether to abolish the difference between Production and Ageing Bodegas. If that ever happens, it will take a while...

Some of the production bodegas produce outstanding wines which they are able to sell by their sheer merit. Chipiona is famous for Moscatel and César Florido has a fascinating bodega here which not only makes outstanding Moscatel, much of which is supplied to shipping bodegas who sell it under their own name, but also a range of very good “Sherries” called Cruz del Mar and the superb Peña del Águila range. Chiclana has two outstanding bodegas. Primitivo Collantes has been earning an excellent reputation in recent years with Fino Arroyuelo en rama, Amontillado Fino Fossi (both have scored 90 Parker points) and two white table wines, Socaire and Viña Matalian. Then there is Bodegas Sanatorio, better-known as Manuel Aragón, with its well-known Moscatel Gloria and Fino Granero. Here Equipo Navazos selected La Bota de Palo Cortado 62 which scored 98 Parker points and La Bota de Oloroso 63 which scored 99. So there can be no doubt that the production zone can make good wine, and given the chance, do much to enhance the range of wines on offer.

The following are the ten production zone bodegas registered with the Consejo Regulador and all of these bodegas have good quality bottled wines to sell, though they are hard to find in shops, despite their good prices, but they are well worth looking out for. Some also offer good local table wines.

Bodegas César Florido
Bodegas José Mellado Martín
Bodega Coop Católico Agrícola
Bodegas Barberá
Bodegas Miguel Guerra
Bodegas Primitivo Collantes
Bodegas Sanatorio (Manuel Aragón)
Bodega Coop. Viticultores Chiclaneros
Bodegas Vélez
Bodega Coop. Virgen de Palomares

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