Dropped into Viavélez Friday night for dinner for the first time in a long time and kicked off what was a terrific dinner with a glass of this classic, high class fino. It is a fino that has up until now been underrated and little talked about, a circumstance which is likel to change since Camborio has recently been acquired by none other than Peter Sisseck of Pingus fame (but a considerably broader portfolio).
I for one think it is good news. To say that Mr Sisseck is a saviour in the style of Berlanga’s Mr Marshall (as some excited editorials and bloggers have) is maybe a bit overblown, and is certainly unfair on the pretty long list of existing saviours who have for years been working hard to bring the sector back into the winemaking mainstream in terms of quality, terroir and vintages. But it is undoubtedly good news for the image of the region: there is no doubt that Peter Sisseck brings a bit of international name recognition and star quality. It is also good news from the point of view of distribution, because his is the kind of operation that can take this wine overseas. It is also good news from the point of view of the message that it sends concerning winemaking: a guy made famous by a wine from a tiny plot of old vines in Ribera del Duero clearly sees value in a patch or two of albariza in Jerez.
I wish him well and I can tell you he has done a good bit of business picking up Camborio, certainly on this evidence. In fact maybe the biggest difficulty he has will be in improving on this offering of a great wine. The colour is a lively straw color, it has saline and straw nose with toasted almonds and a super elegant profile, starting and underpinned by sharp salinity, then intense savoury almond flavours, tailing off again to a long, spicey and mouth watering finish. Really class: maybe has lost an ounce of that explosive character it had when first released, but as good a fino as you will find anywhere with very few exceptions.
Never mind the label, feel the quality (and now might be a good time to buy).