Sherry Seminar @ C’est Cheese Wednesday June 12, 2013
Last night’s fine wine seminar turned into a sherry lovefest by the end of the evening. I doubt more than 2 or 3 guests were familiar with Sherry at all initially , but by the end everyone had developed a deep understanding and appreciation of this truly unique wine. Here is my take on the wines of the night. The big favorites in order of preference were: Oloroso, Palo Cortado, Cream, PX, Amontillado, Fino and Manzanillo. I think I was the biggest fan of the Fino, it was great with my sushi later that night:
The first two were “bio aged” wines, they begin life under a cap of “flor” yeast that keeps them light and white here’s my take on the two
VALDESPINO Manzanilla Deliciosa en rama (special guest star)
This was JUST bottled direct from cask with no fining and filtering (en rama) it has the least solera age of all the Sherries and is a little rougher around the edges than the Fino Inocente. It is intensely briny and savory like the fino but with less polish.
VALDESPINO Fino Inocente
I liked this one better, it has considerably more solera age and the savory qualities of the Manzanilla with a little more refinement.
The next two spend some of their lives bio aging and the second half oxy aging
VALDESPINO Amontillado Tio Diego
The Tio Diego Solera is tapped twice as often as the Inocente solera so the flor dies off and allows it to age oxidatively. It becomes quite dry with distinct havelnut flavors with a touch of carmel and the savory qualities of its Fino cousin.
VALDESPINO Palo Cortado Viejo Calle de Ponce
We now move up the sherry quality hierarchy. Select barrels from the Inocente and Tio Diego soleras that show great promise undergo further oxidative aging upto 25 years. It develops more roundness with some mahagony color and the distince hazelnut and dried fruit qualities. I found this one amazing. It has qualities of both Amontillado and Fino style Sherries and is basically a
VALDESPINO Oloroso VOS Solera 1842
Now we enter the realm of total oxidative aging for 25 years to be exact. It is kissed with sweet Pedro Ximenez to round it out and it shows deep mahagony color, nuts, more dried fruit and carmel toffee flavors. This is the best Valdespino I’ve had, though there are some rare and old sherries with huge price tags from this house I have yet to try.
VALDESPINO Oloroso Cream Isabela
A beautifully balanced cream sherry made from oloroso and Pedro Ximenez aged in barrel together so the flavors totally meld. What I most notice about Valdespino Sherries are there integrity and balance. All the flavors meld together seamlessly and I attribute this to the considerably longer aging they undergo as well as the quality of their estate vineyards and the quality of their winemaking, they stick to traditional methods that have been proven to be best
VALDESPINO Pedro Ximenez El Candado
This is Straight PX aged in cask oxidatively for over 10 years. This wine is almost too much. It is the color of molasses and almost as thick. It has flavors of dried figs and prunes with carmel, cocoa and coffee overtones. Try it over ice cream, pancakes and to glaze ribs on the grill!
About Bodegas Valdespino
Bodegas Valdespino history dates back to 1264 on land granted to Alfonso Valdespino This was part of a tribute to the
24 knights that drove the Moors from Spain. Valdespino’s deep historical roots distinguish it from other Sherry houses. At heart are their extraordinary vineyards including the famous Macharnudo site, part of the “Grand Pagos de España”, Spain’s version of Grand Cru status.