A blog and review on all things Sherry. It is about tasting, enjoyment and learning more about the World’s Finest Wine. "Sherry is a thoroughbred" as Javier Hidalgo rightly puts it. Included are the amazing local Brandies and the remarkably good table wines also produced in the province of Cádiz.
Fresh and still with traces of ripe apple fruit and a faint tartaric-almost glacé lemon-note in the background, but also with traces of flor bitterness and a certain hint of almond. It has more depth as it opens out with hints of yeast, straw and olive brine; a classic youngish Fino from coastal vineyards.
Fresh and slightly fuller than expected, it has a lively acidity giving it zip and a gentle chalky texture along with notes of faintly bitter almond, apple, lemon peel, a certain yeastiness and a gentle briny salinity. The finish is long with an appealing dry bitter freshness. Comments
Bodegas Manuel Aragón were founded in 1795 and are also known as "Bodegas Sanatorio". Still a family business, they are located in Chiclana and are thus in the Sherry production zone. This means that while the wine very much is Sherry, it can't be sold as such, but it can be sold to bodegas in the ageing zone and sold on as Sherry. The quality of this bodega's wines is excellent, proved by the fact that two of its old wines, bottled by Equipo Navazos scored 98 and 99 points from Robert Parker.
Innovation is the name of the game in the Marco
de Jerez, more so than almost anywhere else, and Williams & Humbert
oenologist Paola Medina, who is making quite a reputation for herself, has come up with yet another: organic vintage Fino en
rama from a single pago. The wine is from the 2015 vintage, and the organically
grown grapes are from the pago Burujena, northeast of Jerez near Trebujena. After
fermentation the must was fortified to 15.5° with organic fortification spirit,
and filled into butts. Soon a veil of flor appeared and after a little over three
years of static ageing the wine was bottled without filtration but in limited
quantities in March 2018 at a strength of 15°. The great thing about vintage
wines is that they always reflect the character of their particular year, while
solera wines blend away the style of the vintage to produce homogenous wines. The
new wine will be available at the firm’s online shop from 21st May.
Another saca was made in March 2018: the Fino Añada (vintage) 2010 which is
Deep mahogany brown fading to amber at the rim, quite viscous.
Full and ripe with clear notes of sun dried pasas, hints of toffee, salted caramel - there is a faint salinity on the nose - and a trace of cinnamon, and of course notes of raisined grape, tea and orange with a slight maritime air about it.
Rich, sweet and flavourful with that lovely grape pulp texture and just enough acidity to balance. It is lighter and slightly fresher than its intensity would imply and there are notes of brown sugar, toffee and raisin. It has terrific length and leaves that lovely almost chewy texture fading slowly.
Heredad de Hidalgo is the more commercial range from this XVIII century bodega in Sanlúcar which tends to be available in supermarkets and on the export market under more than one label. The range includes Manzanilla, Fino, Cream, Pale Cream, Medium, Amontillado, PX, Oloroso and Moscatel, but is not mentioned on the firm's website probably because it is a bread and butter range and not one which attracts connoisseurs. Nonetheless this Moscatel is quite good, and is bought in from Chipiona to top up the solera.
Amber tinged mahogany fading to amber with copper glints.
Full yet well rounded with a certain mellowness, it has aromas of vanilla, a hint of old oak, toasted almonds and a note of Oloroso which is not too intense, along with some dried fruit notes. All the aromas are nicely integrated and harmonious and there is a gentle hint of sweetness.
It starts well with a little sweetness making it beautifully rounded and keeps improving as its complexity comes through. If there is any aguardiente it is not noticeable, pure holandas, so it is not at all spirity and the flavours of nuts, Oloroso, caramel, vanilla, raisin and a hint of orange peel shine through. There is very little tannin so it is smooth, and very long. Delicious.
Most bodegas traditionally distilled some spirit, though nowadays most have it done for them and Hidalgo are no exception. For a long time the firm has successfully sold its Fabuloso brandy, but with a view to celebrating their bi-centenary in 1992 they bought an ancient brandy solera from a member of the family which had lain locked away and untouched to launch something special. The spirit used to refresh the solera is pure holandas, distilled in pot stills and aged in ex Oloroso butts well over a century old. The result is superb.
Intensely deep, almost black with a tight ruby rim and the faintest hint of orange at the edge. Nose Full yet fresh and open with distinct notes of blackcurrant and hints of other black fruits like blueberry and bramble. There is are noticeable hints of toast and lead pencil giving away the French oak, all in good harmony with a slightly creamy feel and a faint balsamic note. Palate Fairly full bodied with lots of fresh, hard black fruit and that attractive toasty note. It is well structured and quite firm with plenty of decently ripe tannin, and is surprisingly young tasting for a wine of its price which has been in bottle for about six years. It will still improve over up to three years and represents very good value. Comments
After their succes producing Pajarete cheese, the Holgado brothers are also making excellent wines in their vineyard, Dehesa Palomino, which is situated near Villamartin in the beautiful Parque de los Alcornocales on the fringe of the Sierra de Cádiz. Cabernet ripens well under the Andalusian sun. They use artisan methods to grow a range of vines, all cultivated organically and harvested by hand. While the bodega is modern, they also use artisan methods here. This Cabernet was fermented in stainless steel and undewent the malo-lactic in barrel where it was then aged for six months before bottling in spring 2012.
Bright antique polished chestnut fading to amber, old gold highlights, trace of green at the rim.
Very fragrant and open with attractive and creamy notes of butterscotch, garrapiñadas (almonds cooked in caramel), turrón and toffee. There are also hints of walnut and the slightest traces of cinnamon, orange peel and sandalwood. It is slightly unusual with all that butterscotch but delightful with that gentle sweet note, and in the background the more usual, slightly firmer traces of oak.
Starts full and crisp but soon broadens out into an open textured wine which seems fairly light yet has great presence and a gentle tang of volatile acidity. There are notes of caramel, butter, faint hints of warm spices and a firm but not over obvious structure, with unobtrusive tannins. It is clearly an old wine but at its prime and absolutely charming. Comments
This is the newest release from González Byass and is the first of a forthcoming range called Vinos Finitos. This is a play on words as "vino finito" means a fine little wine, or even a Fino, but also a finite one and also that their age is (well reasonably) infinite being very old. Almost forgotten, but not completely. This wine originally came from a solera which for many years refreshed the standard Alfonso solera, but over the years a capataz had separated out 6 particularly good butts and left them up to their own devices. Only one of these has been selected for bottling by the firm’s oenologist Antonio Flores “with his nose and with his heart”. The bodega describes the wine as a “vino de pañuelo” (a wine so aromatic a gentleman would apply a few drops to the handkerchief in his breast pocket instead of using aftershave) and ideal for meditative sipping. It has an average age of over 40 years and the saca consists of 965 x 50cl numbered bottles. Annoyingly hard wax which flies everywhere was used to seal the cork, but still, it is a cracking wine.
Eduardo Bohorques Carrasco was born in Ubrique
(Cádiz) on 29th March 1863. He established himself in Jerez with
vineyards and a bodega at Calle San Juan in 1885 and married Carmen La Cave
from Sanlúcar. Before long he was exporting Sherry as far as the Americas, the
Far East, Japan, India and Australia.
His wines had a good reputation, but his most famous and
commercially successful product was Quina. His Quina Formiatado, was made from a
base of his wines plus a formula of botanicals devised by a leading Doctor, one
Dr. Luque. In those days it was usual – and certainly commercially expedient -
to have the endorsement of a doctor. The quina was also recommended by leading
doctor Francisco M de Terán in 1908 and others in “British” India, not to
mention the Church.
It won the Gran Diploma de Honor (the top award)
at the Great Exhibition at Buenos Aires in 1911. Eduardo also produced Quina
Bohorques and Quina Hércules. The following year he was awarded a Warrant to
supply the Spanish Royal Family, and in 1913 the magazine Nuevo Mundo printed a
feature about him calling him the “King of Aperitifs”. Some of the labels were
designed by the well-known Jerez artist Teodoro Miciano.
In the same year he exported - without charge -
a large quantity of Quina to give a boost to the Spanish troops fighting in the
Rif War in Morocco, a fact which he made sure was well advertised. Like many
successful bodegueros, Eduardo was involved with other lines of business: he
was the Spanish agent for the American Aeromotor company which produced tall
windmills for pumping up water and various other applications, and installed
one at one of his Fincas, La Serrana. This too was well advertised and
attracted the interest of both the Minister of Agriculture and King Alfonso
XIII. He was even the consul for Paraguay.
At about this time Eduardo and Carmen lived in
Calle Caballeros and the firm moved to smaller bodegas at nos. 9-11 Calle Cazón.
These would later be used by Ruiz de Villegas from 1946 and later Gran Mariscal. He died in around 1915 leaving the
running of the business to his wife who carried on till the 1920s when she ceased
to be an exporter and came to an arrangement with Sánchez Romate who, having
presumably bought her out bottled and sold the wines under the Eduardo
Bohorques brand for a while as a sous-marque.
Among other brands the bodega produced Ponche
Bohorques, Coñac Regidor, Brandy Siglo Pasado, Brandy Solera, Amontillado Fino
Bohemio, Fino Macharnudo, La Pica Cocktail Sherry and Dry Solera Los Claveles.