Not quite in order, first you have to admire Equipo Navazos – they find and make some serious wines (this Amontillado is a real gem). The guys behind it are real enthusiasts and among the greatest experts around – one day I will post up some of their writings. More than that almost, with their marketing master strokes such as the magic numbers (my favourite is number 34) they seem to have dragged the whole DO out of the shade and blinking into the bright lights of international critics and collectors.
You also have to admire both the chutzpah and the ideals of Tradicion – a bodega that is younger than some of the wines it sells and is dedicated to the most ancient wines but wonderfully modern in every other way. Dated, numbered bottles that look so traditional you know they are bang up to the minute and on the bottom line, yet more seriously nice wines. The VORS amontillado is one of my very favourites and they too are doing as much as anyone on the marketing side – a great bodega to visit and a great presence at every major event. My hat off to them.
That just leaves Emilio Hidalgo. It was at a Hidalgo tasting that my sherry spark was kindled into something bigger and a later trip to the bodega sealed the deal. I honestly think that La Panesa and the 1874 are world heritage wines (the Privilegio Palo Cortado and the Santa Ana are utterly ethereal), Villapanes is awesome and even el Tresillo, Gobernador and the Fino are at the top end of their categories. It is sherry as it ought to be.