18 euros per 50 cl, De Albariza
Tuesday, 30 April 2019
Chestnut tinged deep amber with old gold highlights fading to amber.
Lightish, crisp, nutty and fairly tight with toasted almond, hazelnut and a note of dried autumn leaves. There is a very gentle background sweetness balanced by traces of oak and walnut, and the faintest hint of bitter flor from the biological ageing giving the wine an interesting edge and notable charm.
Fresh, crisp, light and elegant thanks to those attractive hints of biological ageing, yet it is definitely an Amontillado with traces of caramel, lots of nuts, a suspicion of dried fruit and that impression of a hint of sweetness which gives Amontillado its charm. It is clean, dry and long with considerable character.
This very fine wine is made from 100% Macharnudo grapes from the firm´s own vineyards and aged in a solera dating from 1928. It is probably between about 12 and 15 years old and is at that lovely stage between mature Fino and young Amontillado - though closer to the latter. While it is a very good wine and the bottle is quite smart, it is not over-practical as its slim shape means it is easily knocked over, but I am sure you take good care of your Sherry!Price
18 euros per 50 cl, De Albariza
Monday, 29 April 2019
This firm started with León de Argüeso (1801-1880) who came from the small town of Arija (Burgos) and arrived in Sanlúcar in about 1820. Here he started with a shop selling goods imported from the Americas (ultramarinos) and gradually established a bodega. Thanks to his purchase of old soleras and hard and diligent work the firm prospered and so did he. Being a lifelong bachelor he left it to his two nephews, Juan and Manuel and one niece, Francisca who renamed the firm Herederos (heirs) de Argüeso (see separate article) and took it on to even greater success. It still bears that name today, though since 2016 is has been owned by Francisco Yuste.
One of the herederos was Manuel de Lucio y Argüeso (1822-1893), son of Don León´s sister Maria. Having worked extensively in his uncle´s bodega, he had the necessary experience to run the firm on behalf of the others. After his death, in 1894 the remaining heirs continued with Herederos de Don León Argüeso and Manuel´s nephew, Manuel de Argüeso y Lucio, set up his own bodega, registering it under the name of Manuel de Argüeso with a bodega in Calle Banda Playa in 1905. At its peak it contained 1,885 butts of wine and also produced spirits and liqueurs. The trademark featured a lion (león) rampant holding the Spanish arms surrounded by medals and the business thrived principally as an almacenista. In 1942 his nephew, Manuel de Argüeso y Ríos, who was now running the firm, (Manuel never married - a bit of a trait in the Argüeso family) bought the firm of Gutiérrez Hermanos which had bought the firm of Juan Carrasco Hermanos in 1916 and whose operations were based at the Carrasco bodegas in Calle Cartuja, just by the railway station in Jerez. Manuel changed the name of the combined firm to Manuel de Argüeso SA.
One of his major clients, particularly for Manzanilla, was Valdespino who eventually bought out the firm in 1972. They still offer a couple of the Argüeso brands, namely PX El Candado and Manzanilla Señorita, now no longer Olorosa but Fina. Valdespino was of course itself bought out by Estévez in 1999, but these brands are still available.
Some of the firm´s wines were: Manzanillas La Señorita and Santa Ana (named after Don León´s first bodega), Fino Colombo, Amontillados Colombo, Torre Verde, Medallas, 1790, El Presidente and Don Pelayo, Jerez Oro, Pedro Ximénez Soleras Antiguas, PX El Candado, Dulce de Damas, Ponche Oriental, Jerez Quina, Gran Coñac Español, Anis del León, Ron Viejo Extra, Ginebra Tres Uno
Sunday, 28 April 2019
“Tío Manolo”, as he was known to his many friends, or “The Pope of Sherry” to others, was born in Jerez on 19th August 1886, one of the 13 children of Pedro Nolasco González, Marqués de Torresoto, son of the founder of González Byass, and María Nicolasa Gordon de Wardhouse y Moreno. At only four months old he fell very ill and the doctors gave him only a week to live. As his parents discussed their worries with the doctors, his father called for a bottle of Sherry and his mother gave him a spoonful of it, which he liked, and after a few weeks of regular doses he made a full recovery and went on to live for 93 years, dying on the 2nd of April 1980.
|Manolo (centre) with his father and son Mauricio|
Well educated, speaking various languages, the perfect gentleman and so diplomatic his nickname was “Vaselina”, Manuel María had time for everyone, and he was noted for taking good care of the workforce which the firm then provided with education and health facilities, in fact he often visited workers who were sick. He was adventurous and revelled in packing as much into his life as possible. He qualified as an industrial engineer in Germany and worked for a while at a shipyard on the Clyde before setting off for Chile and the construction of the Longitudinal Railway, during which time he twice crossed the Andes on horseback.
|Manolo (4th from R) with Sherry Shippers celebrating Sherry Case victory|
On his return to Spain he spent a couple of years selling the firm´s Sherry and brandy in Madrid before moving back to Jerez in 1924 where he worked full-time in the bodegas eventually becoming president. He married Emilia Díez Gutiérrez “Mimi” and they had four children, of whom Mauricio González Gordon Díez would go on to head the firm, followed by his son, Mauricio González Gordon López de Carrizosa is the current president of the firm.
|Cover of the 1970 edition|
Over the years he was a prime mover in the establishment of the Consejo Regulador and was a witness in the “Sherry Case” which did away with fake Sherry. Among other good works were the establishment of a hospital and the restoration of the Cartuja and the parish church of Santiago. He won various medals for merit and held the title of IV Marqués de Bonanza, and was even a KBE (Knight of the British Empire). He was the first Capataz de Honor at the bodega San Ginés, honorary guardian of the Coto Doñana and Hijo Predilecto of Jerez. His achievements were many but perhaps his greatest was the publication of the first comprehensive book about Sherry in 1935. “Jerez-Xerez-Sherish” is a very scholarly but readable work covering every conceivable aspect of the subject and has been translated into English as “Sherry: The Noble Wine” and even Japanese. It is often referred to as the “Sherry Bible”and is a must-read for any Sherry aficionado. There have been a number of editions.
Saturday, 27 April 2019
Very deep intense blacky mahogany fading through amber to a faint trace of green at the rim.
Classic old Oloroso, fairly concentrated and quite crisp and tight with distinct notes of walnut and old oak along with hints of old antique furniture and exotic woods and even faint balsamic nuances and a suspicion of incense.
Full bodied, well structured and fairly tight with real personality. Tannins, which are not aggressive, are balanced by glycerine and there are faint suggestions of spices like licorice and cinnamon. This is a big, serious wine and has great length.
This wine comes from a 15 butt solera which came about as the result of an agreement in 1981 between the then owner of the Tabanco San Pablo, Anastasio Muñoz "El Nene" and Valdespino to set up a small solera. The butts were filled with a sobretabla fortified to 18% which originated in the Corregidor Viejo vineyard and they have only been topped up since to replace the merma (evaporation loss), hence the hefty style of the wine. The tabanco was originally a bodega until the 1930s, so it is fitting that it has its own wine.
Not bottled but well worth 3.50 a glass.
Friday, 26 April 2019
Bright limpid antique chestnut or pale mahogany fading to amber with old gold highlights.
Full and rich yet fairly crisp, fresh and characterful with lots of aromas of fine Oloroso and the wood in which it was aged. The quality of the spirit shines through with all sorts of nuances such as a faint trace of buttery rancio, cinnamon, marmalade, a trace of dried fruits notably dates, caramel, a slightly oily nuttiness and a hint of juicy pipe tobacco.
Fresh with distinct Sherry undertones and a hint of brown sugar/caramel sweetness melded with the flavours of raisin and date. There is just enough tannin to give a little grip and it is beautifully balanced by the fruity sweetness of the spirit. This is a lovely lively characterful brandy which despite the up-front sweetness has a dry finish with terrific length.
Despite the excellent quality of the Sherries and vinegar, Rey Fernando de Castilla has always specialised in brandy with the intention of producing the very finest and don´t like to mess about with anything less than holandas. Among their products is an excellent single cask range, all one-off unique brandies, which are aged statically rather than in solera and selected by owner Jan Pettersen and hand bottled when they reach perfection at whatever age that might be. This one is made from 100% Airén grapes and aged in an old American oak Oloroso butt of 500 litres which yielded 680 x 50 cl bottles (or 340 litres), which shows how much "merma" (evaporation loss) there is in Jerez (about 5-7% per annum). It was bottled on 2nd October 2014 with an age of around 5 years.
Thursday, 25 April 2019
Light brassy lemony gold with golden highlights.
Super fresh and bursting with sourdough and yeastiness and noticeable briny salinity along with traces of straw and very slight hints of bitter almond. Antonio likes using the word "salvaje" (wild, raw), and it is: the flor has reached the fullness of its spring activity after the cold of the winter and you can just feel it running riot. There is a certain fullness too, no doubt from the inland vineyards.
Generous, effusive, complex and very yeasty with a real dryness enhanced by that attractive dry chalky albariza texture. Classic Fino. Acidity is fairly low, though there is a gentle tang and it feels very clean and is dangerously moreish. I really look forward to trying it again after a year in bottle.
This is the tenth annual saca of Tio Pepe en rama, bottled on the 11th April after oenologist Antonio Flores has spent months selecting the best butts from the GB Fino solera accounts for some 21,000 butts and he must taste his way through nearly a quarter of them to find those with the character he is looking for, especially as he sets himself the challenge of making a better wine each year(and he has). This year he was helped by his daughter Silvia who is now a member of the GB wine-making team and together they selected wines from about 67 butts for this saca which was of course bottled without filtration. The grapes came from the pagos Macharnudo and Carrascal and the wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks and after a spell in sobretablas it joined the last scale of the criaderas. A total of 18,000 bottles are available these days - the first release was only 1,200.
Price14.65 euros, El Corte Inglés
Wednesday, 24 April 2019
Bright golden lemon yellow with golden highlights.
Fresh and fairly full and zesty with attractive aromas of apple, strewed apple, apricot and hints of pear and candy along with faint notes of salinity from the yeast. It has the generosity, ripeness and roundness one would expect from Añina which is nearer Jerez than Sanlúcar, but is very fresh.
Very similar to the above really; just shy of crisp and well balanced with the classic dry chalky albariza texture and also that of appleskin, with some roundness and generosity coming through. It is very clean, dry and fresh with plenty of character despite minimal flor and has some potential for ageing and improving for 2 or 3 years.
Produced from 100% Palomino grapes grown in the family´s own vineyard Las Cuarenta (40) in the pago Añina, from vines of over 30 years of age, fermented and aged with minimum flor in a single butt. Rafael is a third generation "mayeto", the sanluqueño word for grower-producer and the soil of Las 40 consists of the tosca cerrada type of albariza. Being the produce of a single butt, only 600 bottles were filled.
Price9.50 euros, Er Guerrita
Tuesday, 23 April 2019
Beautiful bright limpid polished mahogany with copper glints, fading through amber to a hint of green at the rim.
Exquisite, intense, forthcoming and highly aromatic, a real bouquet, something which can only come from age. It is extremely elegant with beautifully integrated notes of walnut, and toasted almond and bread, traces of orange peel, dried fruits, the faintest hint of cinnamon and subtle hints of oak along with the exotic woods one might encounter in a carpenter´s workshop or an antique furniture shop.
Intensely flavoured, finely honed and very fresh, the sweeter elements are balanced by volatile acidity and remarkably restrained oak tannin for such an old wine. It has a lovely synthesis of nuts and dried fruit with a faint caramel sweetness giving it padding and rounding it off yet the finish is dry and almost interminable. An unforgettable wine.
This rare and fabulous old wine proves once again that there are still treasures to be found in Jerez but certainly not in large quantity - there are only 600 numbered half bottles of this saca, bottled in December 2018. It comes from three butts purchased from the private bodega of a prominent Jerez family and the wine, which had probably been ageing statically for many years, is somewhere close to 100 years old. The family had only used it for the occasional family celebrations until they decided to sell it in 2015 as they were re-modelling their house. The wine is a classic "vino de pañuelo", a wine so aromatic a gentleman would put some on the handkerchief in his top pocket in place of some other fragrance. Of course it is not cheap, but where else than Jerez could you find a 100 year old wine in such exceptional condition?
Price175.45 per ½ bott. La Tienda del Jerez