Saturday, 28 February 2015

28.2.15 Beltrán Domecq – “Sherry Vineyards Need More Focus”; ¡Feliz Día de Andalucía!

In a recent interview with Decanter Magazine Consejo President, Beltrán Domecq, said that producers need to explain more about the vineyards from which their wines come. Consumers know something of the bodegas and solera systems, but need to know more about the work in the vineyards. He believes that there is untapped interest in the vineyards and their specific geological characteristics which could be printed on more labels.

“50% of the quality of a wine comes from the vineyard, and distinctions are very important. We have the solera system, but why not say if the majority of this particular Fino is from Añina, Carrascal or Macharnudo vineyards? It would help a lot. Some bodegas are already doing this, particularly in Sanlúcar. The Consejo is seeking to help producers by creating a central vineyard map as a reference guide. We are writing to everyone who has a vineyard asking which area they think they belong to.

Over the past thirty years the land under vine in Jerez has declined from about 22,000 hectares to just 7,000, reflecting falling demand for Sherry, but at least supply and demand are now back in balance. According to Beltrán Domecq the growers who remain are better able to invest in vineyard management, and are now receiving three or four times what they were before.

He also spoke of his respect for the “en rama” wines as well as the Consejo plan to promote Sherry and food pairings – as long as the proper glasses are used. “No schooners, please, Sherry is a wine!” he declared.

Beltran Domecq at work in London (foto:+jerez)

Sr. Domecq is in London for the XXVI Wines of Spain Trade fair and he conducted a special tasting on Wednesday for wine journalists. The Spanish specialist Master of Wine, Sarah Jane Evans was there too. The ideas was to capitalise on media interest in Sherry and hopefully thereby to transmit that to younger consumers. A further special tasting took place at the wine fair in the form of a Sherry and Food Matching Seminar with Beltrán Domecq and famous chef José Pizarro.

Happy Andalucia Day!

The 28th February is Andalucía Day, so be sure to raise a glass of Sherry to toast the finest place in the world! The coat of arms on the flag represents the Pillars of Hercules, and on the arch appear the words “Dominator Hércules Fundator”. The colours represent the countryside, the villages, the purity and hope of Andalucía.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

26.2.15 Gonzalez Byass 2014 Results; Harold Lloyd in Jerez

2014 has been a good year for Gonzalez Byass with volume growth of 5% reaching a turnover of €246.9m, the net figure being €207.7m. Net profit has increased to €15.9m, 63% up on last year. Export sales were 66% of turnover against 53% a couple of years ago.

One of the company’s best achievements in recent years has been the consolidation of worldwide distribution – to no fewer than 105 countries. In fact the firm has its own sales networks in Spain, Britain, México and the US, and has organized sales support teams to assist local distributors in China, Germany, Brazil and Canada.

The World Association of Wine Writers and Journalists ranked the bodega in 6th position in the “100 Best Wineries 2014” and 1st in Spain. A strategic alliance with the Philippines-based company Emperador Distillers has seen the establishment of Finca Daramezas near Toledo with 250 hectares of vineyard specifically suited to state of the art brandy production. GB also launched a new blended whisky “Nomad” created by Whyte & McKay in Scotland and aged in sherry butts in Spain among many other projects. The firm will invest €2.5m in environmental protection measures.

Oliver Hardy was not the only early movie comedian to visit Jerez. José Luís Jiménez has found a few more. In 1929 the great Harold Lloyd visited Jerez and signed a butt, as did Buster Keaton. Apparently Charlie Chaplin had intended to come, but was unable to in the end.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

24.2.15 Another Award for Gonzalez Byass; Oliver Hardy in Jerez; Interesting Figures

González Byass Palo Cortado Añada 1982 has been chosen as the best Spanish Fortified Wine 2014 by Premios Verema. It was the readers of the Verema website, the most widely read Spanish site on wine matters, who chose this unique Palo Cortado for its quality. It comes from a much reduced number of butts and forms a part of the bodega’s Private Collection range.

Fifty years have now passed since the death of Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel’s comedy partner.  Two years before they won an Oscar, Oliver Hardy paid a solo visit to Jerez where he signed a butt at González Byass, a butt still conserved to this day. Amazingly it seems that the press never found out, however Jerez’ own expert and cine sleuth, José Luís Jiménez did!

Here are some interesting figures: comparative total sales of the biggest-selling DO’s from January-November 2014. Let’s all work together to get Sherry a higher place in the table!
1. Cava: €672m
2. Rioja: €423m
3. Ribera del Duero: €262m
4. Rueda: €150m
5. La Mancha: €131m
6. Sherry: €115m (inc. €30.4m in Spain)
7. Valdepeñas: €107m
8. Rias Baixas: €91m

Monday, 23 February 2015

22.2.15 Amazing New Restaurant in Jerez

Jerez is to benefit from a fabulous new restaurant which will be run by the famous chef, Ángel Zapata, who learned his craft from the late and legendary Santi Santamaría. Latterly, Ángel had been working at the super-luxury Ossiano restaurant in Dubai.

Angel looking round the house (foto:diario jerez)
The new projest (by the Fundación Universo Accesible and sponsored by Seguros DKV)is to rehabilitate the beautiful old finca El Altillo which was built on an elevated site of 150,000 square metres at the Calle Ursulinas and Avenida Andalucía by Manuel María González Ángel, founder of González Byass in about 1860. He planted hundreds of trees and created beautiful gardens, and the house, known as El Recreo was a family home where many sisters lived (las niñas del Altillo) until Blanca, the last of them died a couple of years ago, and the finca became the property of the Jerez Town Council.

Part of the house now hemmed in by modern housing (foto:gentedejerez)
Ángel is examining the property in order to decide what work should be done, always with respect for the ambience of the building. Some ideas so far are a museum to house the Gonzalez family goods and chattles, an area for the enjoyment of cigars and brandy and an area for tapeo (eating tapas). The general idea is to create a top level centre of gastronomy with the accent on local produce and the cooking of Santi Santamaría. The project could be ready in as little as 5 months.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Consejo Enotourism Centre

Work on the ground floor of the Consejo’s office building in Avenida Alvaro Domecq to convert it into an enotourism centre is about to start, and it is hoped that it will be ready in time for Semana Santa. Innumerable activities are planned, including wine tasting and the arranging of visits to bodegas and vineyards. Outside, part of the street is known as the Paseo de la Fama, where some of the greatest motorcycle racers have stars in the form of a motorcycle wheel in the pavement. This alludes to Jerez being World capital of Motorcycling 2015. Anyway, the pictures below show what the new “Casa del Vino” (Consejo Office) will look like, the new enotourism centre on the left and the exterior on the right.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Palo Cortado Antique 20%, Fernando de Castilla

Old-looking light burnished walnut through to a hint of green at the rim, legs.
Full, serious and attractive with a savoury hint, toasted nuts, toasted bread, old barrels, traces of pipe tobacco, old polished furniture, candied orange peel, cinnamon, walnut turrón, dried fruits such as raisin and apricot, clean with a glyceric feel. Not a desperately Amontillado nose - more Oloroso, but lightish and very complex.
Full and slightly drier-feeling than expected from the nose with a hint of tannic grip yet a certain glyceric note along with that cinnamon and some walnut. Quite tangy, very old and laden with character and with a terrifically long clean finish.
An excellent wine - as are all the Antique wines. This is around 30 years old and bottled unfiltered during the winter months (so filtration is not necessary) in lots of 3,000 50cl bottles. It is one of the old Bustamante wines bought by Jan Petterson. These wines can have a hint of sediment, but just ignore it - it is a natural part of a wine which has been treated totally naturally with minimal interference and in no way harms the aroma nor the flavour. Sherry as it should be! 93 Parker Points if you're interested in that sort of thing.
Around £25.00 - 26.00 UK agent Boutinot.

Aroma, Flavour and Colour of Finos Can Be Improved in the Laboratory

This is a “boring but important” Europa Press article published today in the Diario de Jerez and this research could have far-reaching implications.

“Vitenol”, the oenological and viticultural group of the University of Córdoba (UCO) has developed a method of identifying “for the first time” the proteins found in flor yeasts which have such a profound influence in the Finos of Jerez, Sanlúcar and Montilla.

In a press release the Fundación Descubre explains that this study gives scientists a tool to analyse and later modify the genes of the micro-organisms which are so closely involved in fermentation and ageing of Finos and improve their properties of aroma, flavour and colour.

Until now, studies of yeast proteins had been centred on those involved in fermentation, mainly in the world of bread and beer. Now, with the identification of the flor yeast proteins, their biochemical reactions can be unravelled, that is to say their metabolism, and thus how these fungi work their magic on Finos.

In the rivetingly titled article “Proteins involved in flor yeast carbon metabolism under biofilm formation conditions” published in the magazine “Food Microbiology” the researchers tackled the first analysis which will allow them to find out, for example, which proteins are associated with the process of developing alcohol or which are involved in the formation of metabolites – substances derived from fermentation which improve wine.

“When we discover a protein with a significant property or function in the maturation of wine, we will be able to alter the gene which produces this protein and improve it so that the final product can be enriched” says Juan Carlos García Mauricio, chief researcher of the Fundación Descubre.

While the study has closely-linked applications to the wine trade, the researchers believe that the results could be useful in other fields, such as medicine.  “Being able to analyse yeast proteins could be really helpful in the detection and treatment of disease. The important thing is to open avenues for the advancement of knowledge.”

This study forms a part of the equally rivetingly titled research project “Improvement in the formation of yeast biocapsules for the production of Cava involving yeast proteins and their metabolism” and is financed at government and European level.

(Yeast capsules for bottle-fermented sparkling wine have been on the research agenda for years and are beginning to come good).

18.2.15 Consejo Awarded Medalla de la Provincia

An award ceremony will be held in Cádiz on 19th March, the Día de la Provincia (Province Day), when meritorious people and institutions will receive medals. Those chosen this year are The Cruz Roja (Red Cross), La ONCE (National Organisation for the Blind), Acerinox (an important steel company), the Oncology Service, Centre for the Recuperation of the Disabled,  then the dancers Hernán Cortés and Sara Baras, and the Consejo Regulador of  Jerez.

Sara Baras is prettier than the Consejo so here's a photo of her (

Monday, 16 February 2015

16.2.15 Flamenco, Tapas, Sherry in Edinburgh

On Friday the Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival is showing the new film "Paco de Lucía: La Búsqueda" (the search) at the department of languages of Edinburgh University, 50 George Square.The film won a Goya recently for Best Documentary and follows the career of the man who is arguably the best flamenco guitarist of all time, a man who also found time to play jazz and classical. The title is also that of his last recording, he died last February.

The screening will be followed by a tasting of Sherries from Bodegas Delgado Zuleta led by me and accompanied by tapas from the outstanding local deli Goya 23. This promises to be a great event, and if you are in Edinburgh, don't hesitate to come. Tickets are £22. Below is the "Menú Maridaje" for the evening. Tempting, isn't it?

Sunday, 15 February 2015

14.2.15 Bar Juanito; Flamenco & Sherry Experience

Faustino Rodriguez, owner of the famous Bar Juanito in Jerez has been made a Hijo Predilecto (Honoured Son) of the city. He was presented with the honour by the mayor today at a special council meeting at the Claustros de San Domingo, attended by many local business people. Faustino has another business, the catering company Alta Cazuela, also known for quality and reliability.

Famous for his sense of humour and his alcachofas (artichokes), he started out washing glasses with his father, working in various family businesses such as a bakery and a tobacconist, and ended up founding in 1983 the current bar/restaurant which seems to occupy virtually a whole street (Pescadería Vieja just off the Plaza Arenal). A marvellous place for local cuisine and atmosphere.

Faustino Rodriguez, smiling as ever (foto:reporterosjerez)

The Flamenco and Sherry Experience will take place this year at the bodegas of González Byass on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th February at 13.00. This is a brilliantly conceived event where each style of Sherry is compared to each style of Flamenco and it is now an integral part of the Festival de Jerez.

Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso, Palo Cortado and Cream will be tasted and explained along with the Buleria, Soleá, Siguiriya and Fandango. To the senses of sight, smell and taste will be added the sense of sound via an audiovisual experience which pays homage to the Flamenco greats.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

13.2.15 Ruiz Mateos; Misterio del Palo Cortado

José María Ruíz Mateos is in the news again. He and his son Francisco Javier have been ordered by a court in Madrid to pay out €92 million to reimburse creditors for shares in Nueva Rumasa made worthless by the company’s collapse.

The patriarch and his son, in trouble again (foto:reporterosjerez)

At the same hearing, the businessman Ángel de Cabo and his right hand man Iván Losada, who had bought Nueva Rumasa, were absolved since the removal of funds had happened before they bought the firm. A nephew of Ruíz Mateos was also absolved as he was not involved in any wrongdoing, but just worked for the company.

The film “El Misterio del Palo Cortado” premiered in Berlin last night. More than 200 people managed to get tickets before the “sold out” signs went up on the first day of sale. A curious mix of cinephiles and oenophiles watched the film as well as professionals from the world of sommeliers and gastronomy who had been invited by the bodegas and the Consejo. The Spanish Ambassador was also present.

Proudly produced by Antonio Saura and directed by José Luís López Linares, the film is the result of a few years’ research and hectic months of filming in such diverse places as Jerez, the Basque Country, Barcelona and Madrid. It is an important documentary which includes personal and professional contributions from those involved in bodegas, vineyards, cooperages and haute cuisine which combine to form a kaleidoscope of the experience of those involved in this most unique and singular wine universe.

The Spanish team toast the film in Berlin (foto: reporterosjerez)

At the end of the screening, the audience were able to enjoy some Sherry with food specially matched to the wines by the award-winning five Michelin Starred Spanish chef, Paco Pérez. He carefully chose the food to “make the Sherry shine”. “Making a film is an art, but so is making Sherry, and the menu demonstrates this.” Varied and sophisticated creations, made from crab and grouper fish as well as ice cream, were accompanied by emblematic Sherry brands such as Valdespino, Tradición, González Byass, Equipo Navazos and La Guita. Palo Cortado was, of course the main protagonist, but people were also able to try Manzanilla, Fino, Moscatel and Pedro Ximénez.

César Saldaña, director of the Consejo, was delighted with the attendance at the film and pointed out that it showed how important Sherry is in our culture and it engenders fascination in people of very diverse ways of life. He said that the film is a powerful tool to show Sherry to new generations of consumers through the lens of optimum quality.

Filming in Jerez
Antonio Saura said that the film arose from a crazy idea but that we are convinced that it will help spread the word about Sherry throughout the world. Many film festivals are interested now which shows the quality of the work, but above all the wine. There is no better example than Sherry of a product which needs time to reach fullness.  Being in Berlin signifies the removal of many barriers, in the ten years of its culinary cinema section this is the first film not to be inspired by a restaurant or a chef. It is the first about wine to be shown in Berlin.

The film’s director, José Luís López Linares, said that the film had 89 minutes in which to make the public fall in love with these unique wines, the starting point for a beautiful relationship of love and pleasure for the senses. The film team is a living example of how captivating is the world of Sherry. In fact they went from “No thanks, I don’t drink Sherry” to “Why isn’t there more Sherry on the table?”

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Palo Cortado Solera PΔP VORS 22%, Osborne

Deep blacky walnutty amber with a trace of mahogany fading through amber to a trace of green at the rim, legs.
Impressive, full and multi-faceted. Lots of vanilla and a hint of spice from the American oak, then hints of caramel, cinnamon, nuts - mainly toasted almonds - dried fruits and Oxford marmalade. Quite sweet, beautifully integrated and incredibly refined, a most attractive and complex nose.
Medium-sweet, super-smooth and textured with hints of marmalade, cinnamon, nuts and oak all perfectly balanced. The age of the wine gives it a certain acidity and tannic grip, but the PX content irons that out and makes it really delicious. It is amazingly easy to drink despite all its age and complexity, and an absolute pleasure
From a tiny solera laid down in 1911 and stored in the bodega La Honda, this wine is well over 30 years old. Wines which have spent so long in wood can often have astringent qualities from oak extraction, and need a little gentle "improvement". This one - like many others - has had some PX added (8%) to balance out that astringency, but which was blended in from the start. Some wines have very little, only enough to hide the wood, but others, such as this one make a feature of it. The result is a medium to medium- sweet Palo Cortado which is a bit of a rarity. This solera was established from six butts destined for England which were forgotten. P is for Palo Cortado, Delta represents the Sherry triangle, and the second P represents El Puerto de Santa Maria. Releases are very limited, and this was bottle number 28 of 223 drawn in 2013.
Available (occasionally) in 50 cl bottles. Around £140 for a 50 cl. Not available in UK.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Sherry Wine Week

After posting the Events Calendar for Jerez 2015 there has been a change. Sherry Wine Week will now be taking place between the 2nd and 8th of November. There's still loads of time to organise an event!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Jerez Calendar of Events 2015

If you are planning a trip to Jerez this year, and you really should be, this is the official Calendar of main Events for 2015:

1-4 February: Official testing Formula 1 (We've missed Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton...)
7-14 February: Carnival (fancy dress parades, humorous parades, competitions etc. etc.)
12-15 February: Pasarela Flamenca (Fab flamenco fashion shows at Bodegas Gonzalez Byass)
20 Feb - 7 March: Festival de Jerez (Flamenco and dance, various venues)
29 March: World Championship Superbikes (See brutes hurtle round La Parra)
29 March - 5 April: Semana Santa (Spectacular Easter parades)
11-12 April: International GT Open (Sports and GT car racing)
27 April-3 May: Motorcycle Grand Prix Week (Seriously exciting)
9-10 May: World Enduro Championship (Off-road bike racing)
10-17 May: Feria del Caballo (The main Feria of Jerez, food, drink, music, horses, fun and lots more)
23 May: Freestyle World Championship (Motorcycle acrobatics at the bullring)
19-21 June: World GP Bike Legend (Bike heroes from the past racing, music at night)
July & August: Noches de Verano (Dance, theatre, music concerts of all kinds...)
August: Viernes Flamencos (Lots of Flamenco on Fridays)
5 September: Fiesta de la Buleria (A great Buleria concert in the Plaza Mamelon)
8-13 September: Fiestas de la Vendimia (The grape harvest festival)
12-13 September: World Trials Championships (Motorcycle racing over assault courses)
13 September: Dia Europeo del Caballo (All sorts of horse events)
20 September: World Superbikes (Yes, more motorcycles. Wonderful!)
3-9 October: Festividad de San Dionisio & Noche Azul y Blanca (Celebrating Jerez, music, stalls...)
17-18 October: World Series by Renault (All sorts of car racing as long as they are Renaults)
31 Oct - 1 Nov: Internacional CEV Fim Repsol (Motorcycle racing)
6-8 November: Dia Internacional de Enoturismo (Wine Tourism Day, open doors at bodegas...)
2-8 November: Sherry Wine Week (Worldwide celebration of Sherry)
16-22 November: IV Semana del Dia Internacional del Flamenco (Wow! Flamenco everywhere!)
27 Nov- 6 January: Nochebuena en Jerez (Christmas Eve festivities)
12 December: Dia de la Zambomba de Jerez (The unforgettable sound of carols and Zambombas)

Any one of these events is brilliant. For more information:  

La Casa de las Cadenas

A beautiful old mansion in El Puerto de Santa María is to be at least partly re-built. The Casa Vizarrón, known locally as the “Casa de las Cadenas”, was built by Juan de Vizarrón Araníbar, a Knight of the Order of Alcántara in the late XVII century. He was a merchant supplying goods which naturally included Sherry to the new empire in South America, and used the house both as a home and base for his business activities with warehousing at the back.

 Such merchants were known as Cargadores de Indias” and their houses were splendidly appointed demonstrating the fortunes they were earning. Between 1723 and 1733, at the time when King Felipe V and Isabel Farnesio held court in Sevilla, they stayed at this house when in El Puerto, and in gratitude appointed Juan Antonio Vizarrón Eguiarreta Archbishop of México and later Viceroy of Nueva España. That the King stayed here is commemorated by iron chains (cadenas) in the patio which demonstrate a link to royalty, hence the nickname of the house.

The (once) impressive balconied entrance on Plaza del Polvorista (foto:lavozdigital)

The imposing façade of Las Cadenas is on the Plaza del Polvorista while the side is on Calle Cadenas which leads to the waterfront. There is lovely internal patio with a balcony supported by white marble columns between which are suspended the famous chains.

Unfortunately, and like many such “casas palacios”, it fell into disuse and then disrepair. Despite a protection order prohibiting the building’s modification issued by the Junta de Andalucía, the same as that which covers the entire historic town centre, the Jerez city architect saw fit, in exchange for €800,000, to allow demolition of the old warehouses for the creation of housing by a speculative builder in 2004.

The patio with the chains in better days (foto:wikipedia)

The police mounted  “Operation Tequila” to root out licences given illegally for building works on forbidden sites, and now a court has sentenced the five men involved; the builder and his son; the city architect, the councillor for urban matters and the mayor at the time to 18 months jail, fines and lengthy prohibition from holding public office. The city architect is still under investigation, and the builders must re-build at least what they demolished.

This result is to be applauded. The level of corruption to do with licensing illegal building has been monumental, and many a mayor and town councillor in Spain is or was in jail. There was a joke about it: “Which town has the most mayors?” “Alhaurín (Málaga), because that’s where the jail is.” The Junta is absolutely right, these people are not only destroying historic patrimony but also hurting the valuable tourist industry.


9.2.15 Wine Export Figures Andalucia 2014

Andalucia exported wine to the value of €100m between January and November 2014 according to official figures which show an increase of 6.5% over the €94.3m in same period in 2013. Of the total exported, 86.4% was wine with a Denominación de Origen (DO) bringing in €86.8m as opposed to 2013’s €75.6m and a 15% increase in value.

(one of the Grupo Estevez bodegas, Jerez)

The province of Cádiz fared best with sales valued at €83m, largely Sherry of course. Málaga was next with export sales of €8.2m then Córdoba with almost €5m, Huelva with €1.5m, Sevilla €1.2m. Almería, Granada and Jaén earned a further €1.4m between them. The latter four exported mainly table wines.

As to the main destinations, the UK is in the lead, importing €34.5m worth, or 35% of the value of total andaluz wine exports.  The Low Countries were next with €13m, then the USA with €11.7m.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Amontillado Monteagudo 18.5%, Delgado Zuleta

Pale amber with a slight orange tinge to yellow at the rim,legs.
Delightful full Amontillado nose, full of toasted hazelnuts and almonds and still retaining a trace of the flor bitterness and a hint of Marmite from autolysis, yet super fresh and aromatic with traces of wood as well.
Crisp and zippy, typical Sanlucar, lots of hazelnut, with traces of biscuit, glycerol and Marmite. This could only have been made from good Manzanilla. Dry, complex, nicely textured, full yet elegant. Excellent wine, a benchmark Sanlucar Amontillado.
Named after the Conde de Monteagudo whose vineyards once formed a part of those of Delgado Zuleta, this wine is aged for about 12 years and forms part of the very good mid-priced range.
Probably about £18-20. You could Try Borough Wines or C&D Wines in London.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

PX Delicado 15%, Gonzalez Byass

Deep though transparent burnt umber to amber to yellow with the slightest trace green at the rim, very viscous.
Caramel and toffee, dates, pasas fresh from the field, very fruity yet with slight traces of walnuts in syrup and torrefactos (toasted notes) beginning to show. Though quite aromatic it appears to be comparatively young as the torrefactos are not too intense and there is no trace of oak. Nevertheless it has an attractive and sophisticated nose, quite mellow.
Intensely sweet but with a refreshing gentle tang which balances it well, lots of toffee and pasas and a creamy texture which makes it glide over the palate leaving a long tangy dried fruit finish. Quite Montilla in style and on the young side, but dangerously easy to drink.
The second in the Delicado range bottled exclusively for Waitrose by Gonzalez Byass after the Fino Delicado. There is no serious information available, but it is a very good quality friendly wine.
£ 14.99 for 50cl. only from Waitrose.

Bodegas: Barón de Algar y Cía. S.L.

The López de Carrizosa family is one of the oldest in Jerez. There are records of their presence in the XII century, and members of the family have distinguished themselves over the centuries mainly in the military or in politics. The family is littered with barons, counts and marquises.

This old bodega de crianza y exportación (shipper) was founded in the mid XIX century by Francisco Javier López de Carrizosa y Pavón, VIII Marqués de Pavón and I Marqués de Mochales (1825-1882). It traded under the name Marqués de Casa Pavón and had bodegas in the Calle Liebre, known as “La Grande” on account of their size. 

The Casa Algar (foto:Jerezsiempre)
After the founder’s death the firm’s name was changed more than once over the years: to Pedro López de Carrizosa; Barón de Algar (one of Francisco’s sons) and Barón de Algar del Campo, ending up in its last incarnation as Bodegas Barón de Algar y Cía. S.L. in 1955. The firm disappeared in the 1980s. Algar is a small town East of Jerez famous for its lake and caves.

It is hard to keep Jerezanos out of the Sherry business however, and in the 1990s Ignacio López de Carrizosa along with Javier Domecq and Joaquín Rivero Valcarce (all from legendary Sherry families), set up Bodegas Tradición.

Liebre means "hare" (foto Jose Luis Jimenez)
Best known Algar brands were:
Brandy Anfitrión (name now used by J Ferris), Fino La Liebre and Oloroso Salto al Cielo.

The Oloroso has now been re-introduced by the Lopez de Carrizosa family at their tiny Bodega Conde de Peraleja, situated on a large plot of family owned working agricultural land originally belonging to the Carthusian monks and run by Luis López de Carrizosa Ybarra. It should be available in tiny quantities in the UK in spring 2015 from UK agents Ehrmanns. They also produce a Cream, Amontillado, and a PX.


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

2.2.15 Latest Sherry Sales Figures

Sherry closed the 2014 season with sales of a little over 36.6 million litres which represents a drop of 4.7% with respect to 2013. Disappointing though this is, the drop is a good bit less than that of 2013 which was 7.5%. Prices have increased, and though this is not a statistic collated by the Consejo (why?), it compensates somewhat for the reduced sales volumes, and the bodegas are moderately optimistic about the future.

The City of Wine celebrations did not manage to stop the decline but they did succeed in spreading the word Sherry. The wines are recovering their prestige and the bodegas, who a few days ago agreed to double their contributions to the Consejo for generic promotion, are witnessing a re- awakening in world markets. Buyers and the media are helping a new type of consumer discover what Sherry has to offer in the form of the dry styles and how well it goes with food throughout the entire meal, something few wines can match.


Sales have dropped by about a half in the last decade, but mainly sales to older consumers in the traditional markets who buy the sweeter styles, which leads people to think that all Sherry is sweet. This is changing, however slowly, and new consumers are beginning to reverse the trend but not enough – yet – to see sales of the better wines grow.

Exports saw the biggest fall in volume last year with a drop of 6.3% to 25.1 million litres, about a million and a half fewer than 2013. The domestic market saw a slight drop of 1% to around 11.5 million litres making Spain the largest market. Despite the vogue for Sherry bars in Britain, sales there were down 7% to about 10 million litres. In Holland and Germany, the second and third biggest export markets, the story is the same, while in the rest of Europe sales plummeted by 14%.

Sherry’s great hope, the USA, is down 2.7% and the Asian market hasn’t grown as much as was hoped, taking only about 250,000 litres (down 20%)of which Japan takes the lion’s share at some 137,000 litres but down 37%.

In terms of style, sales were like this:
Fino: 8.2 million litres, Medium: 8.1, Cream: 7.5, Manzanilla: 7.2, Pale Cream: 2.7, PX: 1.0. The poor old Amontillados and Olorosos together amounted to only just over 1 million, yet Palo Cortado took an upward leap of 22% albeit to only 75,000 litres, perhaps because of the film.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Cream 17.5%, Delgado Zuleta

Quite dark, deep, slightly red – toned brown fading through amber to yellow at the rim, legs.
A nice mix of savoury salty Sanlúcar notes and pasas, quite rich and generous with hints of walnut from the Oloroso. Fruity and savoury at the same time, but if anything more fruity with an attractive raisin pulp texture.
Rich and full – flavoured yet reasonably light. Sweet and soft but has a gentle tang to balance. Not a wine of any great age- a commercial Cream, but very fruity and pleasant with a good texture and long finish. Would be nice on ice with a slice of orange or as it is with pastries.
This wine is 4-5 years old and a blend of Oloroso with a little Amontillado and PX with a little moscatel. It has different labels for different markets, and is also known as Zuleta Cream.