A Drink From The Porron
Rare Barrels of El Maestro Sierra & The Lost Art of Cooperage
The venerable house of El Maestro Sierra maintains a life far removed from our current age, remaining one of the last bastions of Andalusian history, tradition and integrity. Here in El Maestro Sierra we find one of the last direct lines to the origins of Sherry, born as a defiance to the status quo and the region’s caste class system by master cooper José Antonio Sierra in 1830.
As a skilled cooper to the nobility, it was only natural that when José Antonio decided to take the radical step of producing his own Sherry he personally handcrafted the original barrels at El Maestro Sierra, which are still in use to this day. Two of those barrels are custom 2,000 liter casks which still bear the insignia of the cooper, José Antonio Sierra, and the year the first Sherry was put to barrel, birthing the solera in 1830. For 187 years these two barrels have produced some of the most iconic and prized Amontillados of Jerez, labeled simply as Amontillado 1830.
Resting undisturbed and not in commercial production for several decades, the current age of the Amontillado in the solera is estimated to be 70 years old, making it one of the oldest rare wines of the world. Those experienced with Sherry understand how truly rare it is to find a wine of this age and integrity. Many of the great soleras were bastardized and pillaged during the dark ages of the 20th century, when corporate commercialism and overproduction drained many great estates. Their soleras were lost into anonymous blends with sweet wines to supply the demand for cheap wines of little character.
The Lost Art of Cooperage
Maintaining the integrity of their historic soleras and with respect for tradition, El Maestro Sierra purchases no new barrels, rather they repair antique barrels on premise utilizing old staves and centuries-old cooperage methods.
Earlier this year, Capataza Ana Cabestrero was alarmed to discover a leak in one of the 187-year-old barrels housing the 1830 Amontillado, which required immediate attention and repairs to save the irreplaceable heritage slumbering inside.
To preserve the integrity of the solera, historically no more than 300 bottles are drawn from the cask each year. Once the leak was discovered, Ana made the radical decision to limit the bottling of 1830 Amontillado to just 60 1.5-liter magnum bottles and halt the production from the solera for the next 5 years while the original barrels are repaired and the solera is given adequate recovery time.
With our annual Rare Sherry Release, we are pleased to offer a small allocation from this rare Saca, to be released in December of 2017.
Each magnum is hand-bottled, labeled and numbered by Capataza Ana Cabestrero utilizing methods which have remained unchanged for two centuries.
As the entire production of El Maestro Sierra is bottled without stabilization: unfined, unfiltered, we are pleased to bring you the most authentic en rama experience possible.
As with all of our imports, De Maison Selections exclusively utilizes 100% refrigerated shipping from point of origin to your door, with the ultimate respect for the considerable history of these wines and for you, our valued clients.
The complete lineup of rare Sherries from El Maestro Sierra, César Florido, and La Cigarrera are also arriving this month.
In the Press
Michael Schachner of Wine Enthusiast explores "How Spain is Finding Elegance by Breaking from Tradition" and features some of the wines leading the way, including Molino Real.
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