Behold the magnificent cover of the Vila Viniteca catalogue for 2017 – fantastic stuff.
The contents are even more heartening for devotees of the traditional wines of Andalucia – 200 top end wines from Jerez and Sanlucar and another 55 from Montilla Moriles. It is a superb and growing selection (in 2015 I count a total of 183) and there are some unique and expensive wines there (and here I refer to the three pages of sherries, not the rest of the tome).
Kudos to Vila Viniteca, which although based in Barcelona has a fantastic tasting room here in Madrid and has played a nice little role in the sherry “revolution”. Their blog has been a forum for some really top class posts (this one by Armando Guerra and this one by Alvaro Giron stand out), they have organized some first class tastings down the years and sherry also gets a look in at their Cata por parejas and La Musica del Vi – two of the standout events on the Spanish wine-tasting scene. Most importantly they have this cracking selection of wines – some interesting stuff and, as I mentioned, a really strong selection at the top end.
Great to see and I look forward to going through this catalogue in detail.
Viva Sherry Week. What an outstanding tasting this was. Bottle ageing, seasonality of sacas, wine making, static and dynamic effects. Tasting a line up of brilliantly made finos, with a clear family thread but fascinating individual personalities, and with the information to make sense of some of it. And the Tradicion Amontillado to finish – absolutely epic.
I will write this all up – 8 1/2 pages of notes – as soon as I make sense of it all. For now, just sincere thanks to Reserva y Cata and Bodegas Tradicion for a really top class event.
This coming week, November 7-13 is International Sherry Week, a fantastic week-long, worldwide celebration of the top class wines of Jerez, Sanlucar and el Puerto promoted by the Consejo Regulador and the team at sherry.wine. They have an absolutely brilliant search tool to help you find local events, of which there appear to be no fewer than 71 planned in Madrid.
I am feeling a little bit sheepish about the whole thing since my other commitments have limited my availability a lot lately and I am not sure of being able to take part in many of the events over the next week. In fact doubly sheepish, since all the events are probably sold out and this post is thus probably too late to be of practical use for many people. Even so, I wanted to celebrate some of the outstanding events that are lined up (and you never know there may be the odd place available).
Monday, November 7 –
Tuesday, November 8 –
Wednesday, November 9 is a holiday in Madrid and there isn’t as much going on
Thursday, November 10 –
- Taberna Palo Cortado has arranged a pairing menu matching the wines of Bodegas Tradicion and the salazones and conservas of Herpac
- Although not on the official Sherryweek program – and sold out long ago – Taberna Verdejo will be hosting Paola Medina of Williams & Humbert and Juancho Asenjo for another tasting/paired menu based around the excellent Colección Añadas
Friday, November 11 –
But this list is really only scraping the surface – you can take a look at the 71 official events in Madrid, the 889 in Spain or the many hundreds or even thousands around the world on the official website.
And neither should we forget the other places where every week is Sherry Week. At Enoteca Barolo they will be hosting the 11th sessions (two groups) of their awesome course on the traditional wines of Andalucia and at Surtopia, Angelita, la Fisna, Territorio ERA and elsewhere it will be sherry business as usual. I am looking forward to another great week and to getting my sherry on. Don’t be surprised if your twitter timelines take on a radically pro-sherry flavour in the coming days!
Happy news for fans of the wines of Jerez in the UK – as of today you can get the wines of Bodegas Urium and Cruz Vieja from sherryboutique.com
It is the project of Helen Highley, aka Criadera, a certified sherry educator and one of the friendliest, most enthusiastic members of the worldwide sherry blogging fraternity. There is no doubt whatsoever about her passion for and knowledge of these wines and the wines and the bodegas involved, both relatively small, family run and high quality,are a testament to that.
Bodegas Urium is run by the Ruiz family, Alonso and his daughter Rocio, who fulfilled a lifelong dream by acquiring an old bodega with some old, old wines, where they produce a cracking, well priced range with everything from Fino En Rama and Manzanilla Pasada to an extra special 100 year old Palo Cortado. I had the chance to try the wines and meet Rocio back in June and it was a great night – these are fun wines and I can recommend them without exception.
Bodegas Faustino Gonzalez was founded in 1971, when a local doctor bought soleras dating back to 1758 and moved them to his wife’s bodega in the part of Jerez known as Cruz Vieja – the old cross, but have only been on the market since 2014. The wines are en rama and very small production – runs of 1000 bottles each year – but they have already achieved quite a following. The wines I have tried are full of character and the owner seems a good bloke too – he runs la Casa del Jerez, a brilliant store in Jerez itself, and really knows his stuff.
So there you go. No need to worry further about Black Friday, Christmas shopping or whatever, just get on sherryboutique.com and get clicking.
Absolutely top spot here in the greater Detroit area with a range of over 20 sherries that covers every necessary base and even has some stuff I haven’t tried. In fact a brilliant range of Spanish wine in general, and champagnes, and frankly of just about any wine you feel like. And that is only one corner of this sprawling store full of tasty stuff. Really top class.
Was literally driving past Jerez today and thought I would swing by this little institution of a store – La Casa del Jerez.
It is small and perfectly formed – dedicated exclusively to sherries and brandies with a small space for catas and even a row of botas to drink from (no photo – just forgot, sorry). That wine is from Bodegas Faustino Gonzalez, of Cruz Vieja fame and owned by the same family, but there certainly doesn’t seem to be any conflict of interest – just about every bodega you could name was represented on the shelves and I picked up three interesting bottles in a flying visit.
I would strongly recommend a visit to anyone visiting Jerez itself – can often be surprisingly tricky to pick up wines there curiously – and am delighted to update my list of stores accordingly.
Had a chance to try something a bit different last week in Reserva y Cata – a viura from Rioja that had had some time under “flor” (not clear whether we are talking about the genuine saccharomyces though – when I first tasted it I thought it was closer to a rancio).
Really interesting – in particular tasting it next to a viura with no biological ageing from the same producer. There was a clear difference in profile and volume. (The caramel and vanilla of the straight viura came across as candy floss or a spongecake in the Vibaveflor.) There was also a big difference in appearance – while the straight viura was clean and golden this was slightly cloudy like a cider and had a touch of orange.
In sherry terms it lacked muscle and minerals, but very nice nonetheless. In general it is curious the way that biologically aged wines appear to be popping up around Spain – none that I have tried have seemed a serious threat to the boys down in Jerez and Sanlucar but it is great to be able to observe the effect of biological ageing on different kinds of wines.
As you can see, this is very much an experimental wine and I do not think it is commercially available. I didn’t even make a note of the maker’s name – let’s hope I get another chance some day.
Post script – More recently I had a 2011 Montbourgeau that seemed a better, and fairer, comparison – would be good to try the Vibaveflor side by side with one (if I ever see it again).