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SPANISH DESSERT WINES

Spain is the home to numerous dessert wines, its most famous being called "Sherry."

However, not all "Sherry" is intended for dessert service.  Many are quite dry and served before dinner with "tapas," a variety of appetizers such as anchovy-stuffed olives, grilled prawns and thinly-sliced ham.  Or pan-fried fish...or a bean stew with meat...

Sherry was widely popular in Great Britain and it was well-known in William Shakespeare's time.  The wine was called "Sack" and it came from a variety of places:   The Canary Islands, Málaga, Cyprus, Greece as well as the Andalusian town of Jerez de la Frontera.  "Jerez" was known as "sherries," though today many pronounce it "hair-eth."

The production of Sherry is curious.  The grapes used to make Sherry are, for the most part, Palomino and the Pedro Ximénez, though Muscat is also cultivated. 

Sherry is fermented and then "fortified" with an addition of alcohol, bringing to a strength of 17-21% by volume.   This is often done as a two stage process.   Following the wines' initial fermentation, it may be fortified to 14-15% alcohol.   Later in its aging process, it may be fortified again, bringing it to its final strength.

The new wine is then transferred to some sort of oak cask, often called a butt.   This cooperage is of 132 gallon capacity.  That's a big butt!

wpe46.jpg (14150 bytes)Sherry is typically a blend of wines from various years.   You'll see stacks of barrels which make up the criaderas y solera.   The wine in the barrels at the bottom of the stack (generally four to five barrels high) is the "Solera."  When wine is bottled from the solera, a volume equal to what was bottled is then racked or transferred from the next level to the one down below.  The barrels are typically filled to something like 5/6ths capacity, allowing air to be present in each.  This allows for the oxidative process to occur, contributing a the somewhat nutty character which typifies the wines of Jerez.

While many Americans consider Sherry a dessert wine, the average Spaniard views it as a cocktail beverage.  And, in fact, the Finos are quite dry and consumed every evening with a variety of tapas.

TYPES OF SHERRY
The Spanish consider there to be 8 distinct types.

FINO

Fino Sherry is aged in contact with a film of yeast atop the wine.  This is called the "Flor." This yeast is said to protect the wines' pale color and intensify its aroma.  Fino is usually quite dry and lower in alcohol than other Sherry wines.

In the winery, the cellar master often rates or classifies each barrel with one, two or three palmas to indicate the quality of the wine. 
MANZANILLA This comes exclusively from Sanlúcar de Barrameda where the cellars are somewhat exposed to the sea.  It's said the salt air breezes contribute a salty tang to the Manzanilla wines.  These are about the same strength and style as a Fino, but with that salty note.
AMONTILLADO This is a wine in the style of those from a region nearby to Jerez, Montilla.    These are typically darker and nuttier than Manzanilla or Fino bottlings.  The alcohol is usually a shade higher, too.  Most are dry or just off-dry.
OLOROSO Barrels which don't develop the flor yeast on the surface of the wine are destined to become Oloroso.  These are usually dry, though you may find a Sweet Oloroso.  Oloroso is usually the base of Cream Sherry.

Pata de Galina is a special and rare designation for an Oloroso of exceptional intensity and "texture."
PALO CORTADO This is an under-appreciated type of Sherry which has elements common to Amontillado and Oloroso wines.  Palo Cortado is usually a rather dry Sherry.
PALE CREAM A lighter, sweet Sherry.  This is a relatively recent addition to the Sherry portfolio, pioneered by Croft's some 30 years ago.
CREAM Typically based on Oloroso with the addition of some Pedro Ximénez to sweeten it. 
PEDRO XIMÉNEZ The Pedro Ximénez grapes are often dried in the sun to intensify the sugar percentage.  We have a cream sherry which claims to be 100% Pedro Ximénez and it's amazingly rich and too intense for most palates. 
"EN RAMA" This is a bit of a rarity and it refers to a Sherry or Manzanilla that's bottled with a minimum of fining or filtering...these have only recently been showing up in our market...

Aside from Sherry, we shouldn't overlook the wines of Montilla-Moriles or Málaga.

Montilla makes Fino, Amontillado and Cream-styled wines.  Málaga wines are made from sun dried or boiled fruit (to concentrate the sugar content). 

We have found other Spanish dessert wines to be of interest.  Muscat and Malvasia are marvelously aromatic varieties and thrive under the warm Spanish sun.


Bodegas Gutiérrez de la Vega
wpe4B.jpg (5428 bytes)Here's a winery from Spain's Alicante region.  Felipe Gutiérrez de la Vega has about ten or 12 hectares of vineyards, including Cabernet, Garnacha and Monastrell, but it's his Muscat wine which is of tremendous interest.

Called "Cosecha Miel" or "honey harvest," this is made of Moscatel Alejandria (also known as Moscatel Romano) which is picked at high levels of sugar.   It seems to have a hint of wood, the wine being fermented and matured in French and American oak.  The perfume of this wine is incredible!  You may detect floral and fruity notes of the Muscat, but there's a spicy note which some interpret at ginger or nutmeg.  

The wine is sweet but not syrupy.  The finish is very honeyed and exceptionally long. We feel this is the Château d'Yquem of Spain, as it has an oily, unctuous quality.   Pair this with fresh fruit desserts...pineapple, raspberries, peaches, apricots, strawberries.....

Currently in stock:  2009 CASTA DIVA Moscatel  List $35  SALE $29.99


 


OLIVARES
Winemaker Paco Selva produces dry red wine from his Jumilla vineyards in southern Spain.  But he leaves a few hectares of Mourvèdre vines, known as Mataro or Monastrell for a late-harvest dessert wine.  

The Jumilla region is, like other Spanish wine areas, awakening from a very long slumber, so it's only recently we're seeing profound and compelling wines from this area.  And Jumilla has a few really positive aspects...there are many remarkably old vineyards there (and planted on their own roots as phylloxera has not plagued this sandy region).  The cool evenings allow the retention of good levels of acidity, while the hot days allow the grapes to achieve substantial degrees of maturity.

Selva takes advantage of these attributes and produces a lovely dessert wine from Monastrell.   It seems he's been making this wine for some years but never sold it commercially.  That changed when a sommelier from some fancy Spanish dining establishment tasted the wine, was knocked out by it and insisted he have some for the restaurant.  So, not too many bottles make their way to California.  

The wine is dark in color and has a blackberryish fruit quality on the nose and palate.  I'm sort of tempted to describe this as a Spanish version of Banyuls, but not many Banyuls as as well-made as this.  The fog, further, encourages a bit of botrytis, so there's a hint of a honeyed note.  Remarkable wine.  
Currently in stock :  2008 OLIVARES Monastrell Dulce $29.99  (500ml bottle)







EMILIO LUSTAU

wpe51.jpg (3186 bytes)This is an old, yet dynamic Sherry producer.  The original firm was founded in 1896, taking its name from the son-in-law of the founder of the firm.  The Lustau name has been associated with Sherry since 1950.  Today the firm is owned and operated by Don Luis Caballero. 

The founder of the firm was an "almacenista," someone who bought and aged Sherry.  The firm continues the tradition and offers an amazing array of "Almacenista" Sherries.
We have a nice range of Lustau's Sherries and can special order their other products.

Especially noteworthy are the "Moscatel," a wine of about the same sweetness as their Cream Sherry, but fabulously aromatic and rich.
"East India" is a wine made in the style of wines shipped abroad and bottled on their return after a long sea voyage.  Lustau's East India is based on a dry Oloroso, sweetened to a level of sugar close to Cream Sherry.  It is given extended aging, not on a ship but in a special cellar with a humid environment. 

 
The "Almacenista" wines are aged by independent cellars.  Lustau, originating as one of these, decided to offer a range of sherries with the name of the Almacenista and the number of barrels of a particular type on the label.  So, for example, we have an Amontillado with the designation "1/10" which means this bottling was of one of a set of ten barrels.  The idea here is to retain the highest quality sherry and offer it apart from a "master blend" where the wine might be a small part of the foundation.  
These are interesting and of very fine quality. 

 A bottle of these is not a huge investment and affords one the opportunity to savor something of exceptional quality (and rarity) at a very modest price.
 

LA INA SHERRY

Lustau purchased the name La Ina from the Pedro Domecq company along with something like 4000 "butts" of Sherry.
The La Ina solera dates back to 1919 and it is now being bottled by Lustau.
We are delighted to have this iconic Fino Sherry back in the shop after a long absence.
It is quite dry, mildly nutty and it has the classic, typical yeasty note.
Perfect served chilled and paired with salty nibbles as a cocktail before a nice meal...
$15.99



Currently in stock: "Jarana" FINO Sherry $14.99
"Papirusa" MANZANILLA  $15.99 
"Los Arcos" DRY AMONTILLADO $15.99
"Don Nuño" DRY OLOROSO $23.99
"Rare" CREAM SHERRY  $22.99
"Emilin" MOSCATEL $27.99
"Vendimia" CREAM SHERRY Sold Out-No longer Produced
EAST INDIA SHERRY $28.99
PEDRO XIMENIZ $26.99

UNIQUE & RARE:
TINTILLA DE ROTA $49.99  Back in stock --  16 bottles remain
This is made of a red grape grown in the area of Rota, one village in Andalusia
which is well-known for about a 15 mile radius for this deep, dense, sweet wine.
The only other place it's known, it seems, is Burlingame, California.
Try some of this with a rich vanilla ice cream!  It's also dynamite with chocolate desserts.



ALMACENISTAS:
OLOROSO    $35.99
AMONTILLADO del Puerto "Jose Luis Gonzalez Obregon" 1/10  $35.99
PALO CORTADO "Vides*" 1/50  $35.99
PEDRO XIMENIZ "Murillo" $54.99
MOSCATEL "Las Cruces" $46.99
 
*Vides is a firm owned by a relative of the Domecq firm, though this enterprise is in no way related.  Lustau says most of the soleras of this outfit are 15-20 years old and they're especially highly respected for their Palo Cortado and Oloroso wines.






PEDRO DOMECQ
One of the most famous "Fino" Sherries in the world was Pedro Domecq's "La Ina."
La Ina comes from an African word and I don't quite understand the significance of it (my Spanish is good enough to decipher only a small bit of the story).  

In any event, La Ina is, along with "Tio Pepe," the most famous Fino Sherry made.
Consider chilling a bottle of this to go with an assortment of salty almonds, anchovy-stuffed olives, mushrooms sautéed in olive oil with a bunch of garlic and, perhaps some grilled prawns.  

Domecq sold the La Ina brand to Lustau...and so we finally have, back in stock, LA INA SHERRY.  Fino.  In all its glory.  And it's quite dry and very good...but it's no longer coming from the house of Domecq.




Domecq makes some fabulous, well-aged Sherry.  We have one called Venerable which is made from dried Pedro Ximeniz grapes.  I think they fortify what little juice they get from these grapes (or raisins) and the nectar is placed into the solera, which was started in 1902.  I've read the claim the wine bottled each year is something like 60 years old.  Only about 700 cases' worth of wine is bottled, making for a rare and deluxe treat.  Sweet, dark, dark in color and thick as molasses (the sugar content is very high, about 45%!) and showing toffee, spice and a hint of maple, you can pair this with a Crème Brûlée or Flan.  


Currently in stock:  Lustau's LA INA "Fino" Sherry $15.99

DOMECQ "VENERABLE" (List $90)  SALE  $79.99 (back in stock)
DOMECQ "SIBARITA" (list $90) SALE $79.99





OSBORNE
The Osborne firm is huge and you'll see their "bull" logo all over Spain as you drive around the country.

They own a number of wineries on the Iberian Peninsula and producer all sorts of wines: Sherry, Port and table wines, along with producing some terrific brandies.

One of our favorites is their Solera "India" Sherry, a wonderfully complex wine that is sweet in terms of its aromatics, but dry and rich on the palate.  The color is a dark brown and the nose is very intense, showing woodsy notes, nuts and more nuts.  It's one of those wines that has an unusually long finish which you will feel for many minutes.  Too bad it's sold out...we've been asking the importer for more of this...so stay tuned.

Also quite good are the Fino Sherries of Osborne.  We have two different bottlings...the basic is a good value at $11.99 and it's mildly yeasty.  The one called "Coquinero" is an aged version of Fino Sherry, having a more intense nutty character to go with its yeasty tones. 
Currently in stock:  OSBORNE FINO SHERRY $11.99
OSBORNE FINO "Coquinero" SHERRY $15.99

 

BARBADILLO

This company is a giant in the Sherry business, yet their wines are relatively unknown in the US market.

Barbadillo owns more than 500 hectares of vineyards and they have numerous cellars around the Sherry region and they're also the largest producer of Manzanilla!

They make a nice range of Sherry and the entry level wines are well-made and reasonably priced.

But it's at the higher end of the scale that offers wines seriously worthy of our attention.

Barbadillo produces some top drawer bottlings aged for 30 years.  These are on par with the expensive offerings of Gonzales Byass, Domecq and Lustau.  They call these "VORS"  (Very Old Rare Sherry) bottlings.  And the stocks of this are kept under lock and key, but it's not the winery that has the key!  It's the governing board of Sherry producers which sends a representative to the winery with the key to supervise the withdrawal of wine.

We have a magnificent 30 Year bottling of Amontillado.  It has a great perfume...very nutty and almost a salty/spicy tone to the wine.  It's quite dry and the finish goes on forever.  

There's also an Oloroso Secco in the shop...you'll find nutty, caramel-like features to this powerhouse-of-a-Sherry.  It's also quite dry and the flavors are deep and profound...

As mentioned earlier, Barbadillo is perhaps the biggest dawg on the Manzanilla block and they offer a really nice "En Rama" bottling of their Solear label.

"En Rama" is a bottling which typically has less stabilization to it, so they usually don't fine the wine and the filtration, if any, is lighter.  The notion is this allows the wine to show itself more closely to its condition in wood in the cellar.

We  recently bought a little bottle of this Manzanilla to try at a little Spanish-fest one night with friends.  

I should have brought two bottles!



The wine was magnificent!   Lots of nutty, salty notes and the wine was dynamite with an assortment of olives and Marcona Almonds.  But it was even better with Kareasa's homemade Cod Fritters (though the Cava was also showing well in that company!).

 

Currently in stock: SOLEAR MANZANILLA "EN RAMA" $15.99 (375ml)
BARBADILLO VORS AMONTILLADO  $49.99 (750ml)
BARBADILLO VORS OLOROSO SECCO  $49.99 (750ml)

 




HIDALGO

The Hidalgo winery is viewed by many as the reference point for the famous Manzanilla wine of Spain.  

This is a very light and very dry, delicate Sherry coming exclusively from the region of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, right on the Gulf of Cádiz.  It's said the breezes from the sea contribute the typical salty "tang" to the wines.  

Production of Manzanilla wines is not nearly as large as the quantity of mainstream Sherry.  The Hidalgo firm, though they make a full range of Sherry wines, is best known for its Manzanilla, called "La Gitana" (the gypsy).  It is delicious when served thoroughly chilled with salty grilled prawns and tangy olives.  

Even better is their "En Rama" bottling of Manzanilla....



The "En Rama" bottling is a small production offering which goes into bottle with a minimum of "stabilization."  We understand there is no fining of the wine and what they call "minimal filtration."  This Manzanilla is bottled according to the condition of the barrels...they wait until the 'flor' yeast on the surface of the wine is at its thickest and then the wine is readied for bottling.

It's interesting that those wineries producing "en rama" bottlings of Manzanilla and Sherry put out suggestions that these wine should be consumed immediately, but we see the wines change a bit over the course of time, but they don't deteriorate.  This leads us to suspect the "drink it soon" suggestion is to assure the sale of the next round of "en rama" bottlings.

The La Gitana "En Rama" Manzanilla is exceptional.  It hits many of the same notes as the regular bottling, except it hits them louder.  Serve this on a warm day, right out of the 'fridge with some salty Marcona almonds and pair it with some Gambas a la Plancha and/or some sweet/salty Iberico ham.  

They also make a stellar single-vineyard Manzanilla called "Pastrana."  This comes from the Pastrana vineyard in the Miraflores district, a highly-regarded site for the Palomino grape.  Very chalky soils...

The juice is fermented in stainless steel with a measure of temperature control.  It's lightly fortified to a modest 15% alcohol, or so.  Pastrana then goes into a solera of American oak and it takes about ten to 12 years for the wine to emerge from the stack of barrels, so it's older than your run-of-the-mill Manzanilla.


Currently in stock:  HIDALGO "LA GITANA" MANZANILLA $13.99 (500ml)
HIDALGO "PASTRANA" MANZANILLA $29.99 (750ml)
HIDALGO "LA GITANA" EN RAMA $29.99 (750ml)
 
 


EQUIPO NAVAZOS

This is a relatively new enterprise with respect to the world of Sherry, but  the "equipo" or team of backers are all wine enthusiasts, be they wine industry folks (winemakers, importers, distributors, wine merchants) or wine writers and wine 'geeks'.
The ensemble hails from Spain, Germany, Great Britain and the US.

The first bottlings were made in 2005, or so...they had found some small lots of Amontillado at a winery which were quite old, but too small for that producer to market.  Selling the wine in bulk made sense and so the various "team" members ponied up the cash and bought some barrels of good Sherry.

One thing led to another and now it's a small, but apparently viable business.  They've bottled more than 40 lots of Sherry, each one ranging from a mere 600 bottles to perhaps a few thousand.  

We have a couple of bottlings in stock.


The various barrels of Manzanilla incorporated in the #37 "Amontillado" bottlings average about 18 years of age.  It's quite dry and intense, showing caramel and nutty tones.  This is not your Granddad's bottle of "cocktail sherry"!  It's a big, profound wine which should be served fairly cool in a large wine glass...not a little "copita".
And consider pairing it with intensely flavored foods...maybe a first course of pan-fried seafood...or pair it with an array of cheeses.



The Manzanilla comes from the cellars which provided the very first bottling of Equipo Navazos and it went into bottle in February of 2013.  They selected 19 casks to produce this bottling and it's a textbook example of salty Manzanilla.
Seafood is an ideal accompaniment to this beauty....

 

Currently in stock:  #42 MANZANILLA   Sale $49.99 (750ml)
#37 AMONTILLADO  Sale $79.99



 
 
SANDEMAN
The House of Sandeman was founded by a Scotsman more than 200 years ago and evolved into a name strongly associated with Port and Sherry wines.

The firm has had its ups and downs, hopefully now in one of those "up" directions.

Their famous "logo" of the "Don" (see the poster on the left) was created back in the 1920s.  The firm, at that time, was big on commissioning its own art work and an artist named George Massiot-Brown came up with the "Don."  This mysterious figure is wearing a hat one might see in Spain, while dressed in a cape more commonly worn in Portugal or by super-heroes.  It's become a major advertising icon all around the Iberian Peninsula and throughout Europe.  
 
The firm's ownership is not clear to me, having been part of Seagram's empire.  They're still distributed by that firm, though Sandeman is now housed under the SOGRAPE umbrella (Sogrape being a large wine firm in Portugal, producing, amongst other wines, Mateus Rosé).  But the good news, we think, is that a Sandeman is once again at the helm of the company.  
 
We recently had a sensational Fino Sherry from this firm.  I had read a good review in a Spanish wine guide of this wine, so I bought a bottle.  

That's Chef Claudia Temby with a bottle of Sandeman Fino Sherry along with her absolutely outstanding little assortment of tapas.
Who knew Claudia could actually handle the cooking chores?  

Anyway, the Fino Sherry of Sandeman is currently exceptional.  The wine is, of course, lower in alcohol than most Sherry and just a couple of percent higher than many California Chardonnays.  Served chilled, the wine displays the classic yeasty aromas of the "flor" yeast.  After a night of tasting Puligny-Montrachet wines, this was really an interesting wine!  

Their current bottling of Oloroso Sherry is also very good.  It's dubbed "Royal Corregidor," a blend of old Sherry to be sure.  The youngest wine in the bottle is said to be 20 years of age!  It's toasty and smoky on the nose with caramelized notes and a very long finish.  Marvelous!
 
Currently in stock:  SANDEMAN FINO SHERRY  $14.99 (750ml)
SANDEMAN CORREGIDOR (Oloroso) $25.99 (500ml)

 





BODEGAS TORO ALBALA
toro-albala.GIF (25986 bytes)Here's an amazing winery in the Montilla-Moriles region of Spain...think Cordoba and its hot, hot sun.

We have some "PX" (wine made from the Pedro Ximenez grape variety) of exceptional quality.

The "regular" bottling is quite sweet, while the 1985 vintage is thick and reminiscent of molasses.  

The PX grapes are picked at their peak, but then set in the sun to dry a bit, further concentrating the character and intensifying the sugar level. 


  After 10-15 days: 

The grapes are quite shriveled and sweet, so pressing any kind of liquid out of them takes a great deal of pressure.

They also offer minuscule quantities of old vintages of PX wines...if you're interested in those, please let me know.

We also have a "solera" bottling of PX called "Viejisimo."  This is actually a dry wine, bottled from a solera (stack of barrels) started in the 1920s.  We're told the wine is vinified to about 16% alcohol, but as it ages in barrel, with the evaporation of water, it clocks in at 21% alcohol!  In any case, it's a remarkable wine.

Currently in stock:  2002 DON PX Sold Out
1985 DON PX $29.99 (375ml) in good supply presently...
1985  DON PX $48.99 (750ml)
VIEJISIMO $38.99 (750ml)




 

PEREZ BARQUERO
This firm celebrated its 100th anniversary a few years ago and though they've been around for more than a century, they're virtually unknown to most Sherry fanciers.

Part of the issue is they're not in Jerez, but in nearby Montilla-Morilles, well east and north of Jerez (the Sherry producing region).  Wines from this area were typically sold in bulk to Sherry houses who incorporated the wine into their own and labeled it as Sherry.  
With a slow-down in Sherry sales, the producers in Montilla-Morilles are on their own, now having to compete with the more well-established brands from Jerez.  

Perez Barquero is a firm with some spectacular quality wines, so competing qualitatively is not a problem.  Their "problem" is simply that virtually nobody knows who they are and what they offer.

I tasted through their range of wines...all good, frankly.

We selected their Gran Barquero Amontillado, a wine made entirely of the Pedro Ximeniz grape.  As I understand it, this wine was matured for about a decade in wood before being transferred to a stack of barrels to spend, essentially, another dozen years aging in a solera.  The wine is rather dry and deeply "nutty" and showing an intensely oxidized character.  It's exceptional.

We also have a PX sweet wine that's incredible.

It's called La Canada and they estimate it takes about 25 years to produce this wine.  It's got a nutty and toffee-like character and it's one of those dessert wines which has an after taste which lingers for a long time.

It comes in a frosted black bottle with the label affixed on a 'card'.  
This is not inexpensive ($74.99 for a 750ml), but given its quality and all, we think it's worth the price of admission.

Currently in stock:  GRAN BARQUERO Amontillado $24.99 (375ml)
LA CANADA PX $74.99 (750ml)

 



GONZALEZ BYASS
This large firm is noted for its range of products, from table wines to olive oils, vinegars, sparkling wine and, most of all, its Sherry.

Though they make some exceptional and well-aged Sherry wines, the flagship is their excellent Fino-styled Sherry called Tio Pepe.

Tio Pepe is found virtually all over Spain and most of Europe.  You can find some bottles in our shop, too, though this is not as widely available a product as one might expect.

 

 
GB also makes some fantabulous, top o'the line Sherries.  These come in 375 ml bottles.  They are said to be approximately 30 years and I can tell you, they are more mature than most of the 30 year old people I know.


"Matusalem" is an Oloroso Dulce "Muy Viejo"...a sweet, nutty Sherry with some raisiny and nutty notes that linger for quite a while.  It's best lightly chilled to take some of the edge off the sweetness.

"Apostoles" is from a solera initiated in the 1860s in honor of visiting Spanish royalty.  This is a blend of Palomino and Pedro Ximenez and it is a "Palo Cortado" Sherry.  We fancy this served at cool cellar temperature and it can be served before a meal with "nibbles" such as jamon, nuts, olives, goat cheese or a nice pate.  You'll find it to have a bit of sweetness, but it's far short of being as sweet as a Cream Sherry, for example.

"Del Duque" is a Dry Amontillado Sherry...the importer claims this can be paired with roast beef!  I'm not sure I'd appreciate it in that setting, but some mature cheeses will partner well with this.  



Currently in stock:  TIO PEPE "Fino" SHERRY $16.99 (750ml)
"DEL DUQUE" Amontillado  $39.99 (375ml)
"MATUSALEM" Oloroso Dulce $39.99 (375ml)
"APOSTOLES" Palo Cortado $42.99 (375ml)

 




JORGE ORDONEZ  (MALAGA)
We've known Jorge since the mid-1990s when he was just starting a little business of importing wines from Es-Spain.  Speak with an Spanish person and you will discover they cannot say "Spain."  
It's "Es-Spain."

Anyway, Jorge's business was (and it still is) successful and he's a big-time "player" in the Es-Spanish wine scene.  Along the way, he met Austria's famous Alois Kracher (who passed away a few years ago) and the two embarked on a project to make sweet wines in Malaga.  

Kracher (who always surprised me by knowing who I am and that I was a customer for his delightful products) made some stellar sweet wines.  Together with Jorge, they launched a "Jorge Ordonez" brand of wines and these are quite good.

Kracher had the idea of numbering his wines and this fetish has been embraced by Jorge.  We carry their "Number One" bottling of Malaga, a wine that's a late harvest Moscatel.  We have access to their other wines, but we find this to be unusual, interesting, delicious and well-priced.

Kracher's son is now assisting Ordonez and company in this sweetly delicious project.
 
Currently in stock:  JORGE ORDONEZ MALAGA No. 1  $21.99 (375ml)






VALDESPINO - ARGUESO (Cream of Cream Sherry)
For more than 25 years we had carried the Valdespino family's "Cream of Cream" Sherry bearing the "Argueso" name.  

A few years ago, the U.S. importer of this product stopped bringing in this lovely wine.  

They have always focused their efforts on a line of inexpensive Sherry called "Hartley & Gibson."  These are perfectly sound, decent bottles of Sherry.

Today the Hartley & Gibson label is sourced elsewhere and the wines are sold on price...they're "okay" for nine-bucks bottles of Sherry, but they're not on par with wines costing $15 to $25, for example.

But the Argueso winery is still in operation, though obtaining their wines, we've noticed, is a bit challenging...they had a good local importer and we bought some bottles of their lovely Pedro Ximenez...
 
 
But at the present time we have but a few bottles and the importer seems to no longer carry this.
 

Currently in stock:  Argueso PEDRO XIMENEZ  $26.99 (last bottles)



GRAN VINO SANSON

The Barcelo family owns a handful of wineries in various locales around Spain and they make this in one of their many facilities.

I'm certain that, years ago, this came from the southern part of Spain and that it was a Malaga wine.

These days, it's made in one of their northern establishments and, instead of being made of Moscatel or Pedro Ximenez, it's made of Airén, Macabeo and Albillo.  The wine is fairly neutral to start and then they have a 'recipe' which includes infusing various aromatic plants and spices to the wine.

The resulting product has notes of caramel, but there's a tea-like quality and a note of anise in the back...

It's apparently quite popular served on the rocks, but I found a few cocktail recipes which are based on Sanson, as well as some meat marinades!  

Currently in stock:  GRAN VINO SANSON  $9.99 (750ml)

 


 

 

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