Another great night yesterday in Taberna Palo Cortado, this time to taste the wines of Bodegas Urium, a small, family run bodega that is one of the newest faces in Jerez but to judge from last night one of the most passionate.
The bodega has been around for “centuries”, formerly, as an almacenista (one of the “faceless” winemakers of Jerez, as one of the guys put it last night) and is located on Calle Muro, aka “Wall Street”. The bodega is run by Alonso and Rocio Ruiz, a father and daughter team from a family from the town of Moguer, in Huelva (known to the Romans as “Mons Urium”, from whence the name). Alonso fulfilled a lifelong dream – learnt in turn from his own father – when they acquired the bodega in 2009, acquiring not only a historic bodega but, more importantly, its contents. In total around 500 botas of wines, many of them very old and, to judge by last night, very fine.
Last night we had five wines: a very nice fino en rama – fruitful, yeasty and juicy – with around eight years under flor, and four VORS wines with an average age of 45 years – the amontillado, oloroso and palo cortado, pictured above, and a very youthful tasting 45 year old Pedro Ximenez. Five excellent wines – I particularly liked the fino and the punchy, saline oloroso, but the amontillado was elegant and smokey and the palo cortado had a bit of spirit to it.
More importantly, we also had the chance to meet Rocio and one got a clear impression of a project that was moving in the right direction. Having trained with none other than Luis Perez she has a very uncluttered, balanced approach to winemaking that was as free from blarney as it was from unnecessary formalism: wine making with wine at its center, with the goal of making wine that people can drink. It was fascinating to hear her talk about the gradual progress in tasting, assessing and classifying mostos and wines, and the efforts to imprint their own style on the old “jewels” they had inherited. It all sounded like hard work, but despite that there was a lot of laughter and enthusiasm that was captivating.
All in all, another terrific evening in Taberna Palo Cortado and a real pleasure to meet one of the young winemakers pushing the region forward.