Viña Caneiro at D. Ventura in Ribeira Sacra
Danielle recently returned from De Maison Selections’s Galicia Camp, which she photographed and writes about here. Thanks Danielle!
This year’s De Maison Camp ventured to Galicia where I expected to drink crisp Albarino after rappelling down the steep vineyards of Ribeira Sacra, which would have been rewarding enough. However, Galicia turned out to be the land of Godello, Mencia, weird-looking shellfish, poundcake soaked in Arujo (Northern Spain’s answer to grappa) and drinking from the porron as though it were a competitive sport, because it is. Only a man like André Tamers can put 30 people who think they know a thing or two about wine on a bus and in a mere six hours from Madrid take them to a place where they’ve never been, may never be able to go back to, and show them that they know nothing.
Ignacio Hildago of Bodegas La Cigarrera
“I belong to the ninth generation,” said Ignacio Hildago, of Bodegas La Cigarrera–the oldest winery in Sanlucar to remain in its original location. Operating since 1758, La Cigarrera ideally resides in the barrio bajo, the lower part of the Sanlucar plateau, which has long been considered the preferable portion since bodegas began clustering in the area during the 18th and 19th centuries. With such close proximity to two bodies of water–the Atlantic to the west and the Guadalquivir River to the north–Sanlucar bears the effects of the poniente, a wet wind that blows in directly from the ocean, cooling the area while increasing its humidity. Creating two different microclimates–the barrio bajo and the barrio alto–this convergence results in two different micro-climates. And while the conditions in the barrio alto might yield lighter sherries, the positioning of La Cigarrera yields sherries with greater complexity.
Longstanding in Loire, with roots that date back to 1412, the Chéreau family has been such a prominent player in the area of Muscadet, that there are a large number of wine growers that carry their same name. Today, with Bernard Chéreau at the helm (as the son of Monsieur Chéreau and Edmonde Carré), the Chéreau Carré family owns a total of 267 acres under vine. Divided into three different estates (Chateau de la Chesnaie, Comte Leloupe de Chasseloir and Le Clos), Chéreau Carré was established in 1960, fusing M. Chéreau’s family name with that of Edmonde Carré, his wife.
Situated not far from the Atlantic, at the convergence of the Sèvre and the Maine, Le Clos is a single vineyard 10ha site with 40+ year old vines that sit on a “dome shaped” hill facing south, with soil of schist rock topped by clay.
From Irouléguy, we bring you the ciders of Bordatto Extaldea. Farmed and fermented at the hands of Bitxinxo Aphaule, who began his career as a winemaker, these three ciders are made from estate grown heirloom varietals. Frustrated by the lack of attention that’s generally paid to terroir when growing apples, Aphaule decided to translate his experience with vines to trees so that he could produce terroir specific ciders.
From the coastal town of Bakio, comes Doniene Gorrondona Tinto Bizkaiko Txakolina 2011, made from organically farmed pre-phylloxera vines. Of the estate’s 12ha, these 2ha of 150+ year old Hondarribi Beltza plantings are the estate’s oldest vines. Planted on steep terraced slopes of clay with a slate subsoil, these rare indigenous vines have been revived by a team of four who engage sustainable practices in the winery and in the vineyard. Read more
A fifth generation descendant of his bodegas’ founder, César Florido is one of the world’s few remaining Almacenistas who happens to reside oceanside in Chipiona, a village that was once considered outside of the ‘official’ Sherry triangle. And though Bodegas César Florido is located directly on the Atlantic, and therefore within the D.O. Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, it is not within the zona de crianza or “zone of maturation”, which was established by the Consejo Regulador. Limited to Manzanilla de Sanlucar, Jerez de la Frontera and El Puerto de Santa Maria, the wines of the zona de crianza bear the official stamp of “Sherry-Jerez-Xeres Manzanilla” on their back labels, a privilege that is extended to César’s three Moscatel wines but not to his Fino, Cruz del Mar Oloroso and Peña del Aguila Palo Cortado.
Ana Cabestrero of El Maestro Sierra
After Sherry sales peaked in the 1940′s, it took 20-30 years for a corporate climate to follow. In the 1960′s & 70′s, small family owned bodegas were no longer producing and bottling their own wines, but were now being modernized with machinery and consolidated as they started producing wines for the good of the greater empire, a practice that wiped out a multitude of multi-generational practices and soleras.
And so, it was no surprise to see that there were only 20 bodegas present at Monday’s Grand Tasting at the Ace Hotel. A spectacular event in Liberty Hall, it was most humbling to taste the wines of El Maestro Sierra, Gutiérrez Colosía, César Florido, La Cigarrera and Grant, in the company of other small and big house Sherry producers. And while a fondness for wine is typically determined by what’s in the glass, it’s often context that best illustrates the true brilliance of one’s sensorial experience.
Our favorite Almacenistas:
Ana Cabestrero of El Maestro Sierra, Ignacio Hidalgo of La Cigarrera, Carmen Pou of Gutiérrez Colosia, César Florido of César Florido, Carlota & Carmen Gutiérrez
Sherryfest got off to a kickstart on Monday, with Sherryfest at The Ace Hotel in the afternoon (more on this tomorrow), followed by TEW’s Sherry fête at Blue Ribbon Izakaya on Monday night. All the stars were shining; the Sherry flowing and the contents of our glasses absolutely divine! Viva la Sherry Revolution! Cheers!
Andre Tamers of De Maison Selections
Yesterday’s South American & Iberian Portfolio Tasting at the Standard Biergarten was a smashing success with equal representation from both north and south of the Equator. We’d like to thank our producers who made the trip, both old friends and new, it was awesome to see everyone, to taste through their wines and to reconnect.
If you missed the event, please see below for a list of tastings with Matias Mayol and Roberto Ijalba.
We are excited by all the talk about Sherry in the air, like yeast in the Bodega, including the #SherryRevolution started on Twitter by André Tamers of De Maison Selections, and Eric Asimov’s most recent publications for the NY Times. To quench the dialogue’s thirst, we hosted a Sherry tasting in Studio TEW last week, during the Spain vs. Portugal game, which was well attended by a number of friends and buyers. And this morning, I followed up with André, who has been importing and representing Sherry for the past eight years, to see what he had to add to the conversation.