André's Travel Log

Part 1: ...and now we finally have wee-fee!
Part 2: Continued adventures in Sherry
Part 3: All about site in Muscadet

Sherry Camp and Muscadet, March 2011

...and now we finally have wee-fee!

Wow. We have been on a whirlwind trip through Jerez and off the wee-fee for a while, but now we are back in Ribera del Duero to visit the inimitable Jesus Sastre and have lots of pictures and stories for you...

Goings on in Jerez-

We visited the newest additions to our group of Sherry producers Cesar Florido of Chipiona and Bodegas Grant in El Puerto de Santa Maria. We had an amazing lunch at Restaurant Peña on the ocean with Cesar Florido who introduced us to the fifth village of Sherry, Chipiona. It turns out that Sherry is even more exciting than we originally expected with a vast divide between the larger industrial houses that made the area famous and the small alamacenistas who supply them. The shocking reality in Chipiona is that Cesar is one of three bodegas left in a village which used to be home to eighty-three. The history and tradition in this area is strong, as is the sense of terruño which runs through the wines.

Cesar took us on a walking tour between his three Bodegas in Cipiona which demonstrated the subtle shift between the microclimates which shape the aging in these ancient bodegas. It turns out that Chipiona is right next to Sanlucar de Barrameda and shares a similar microclimate. Cesar is famous in Chipiona for his three different Moscatels grown on soils known as arena. He also produces a Fino from a solera housed a mere 25 meters from the ocean, which is evident as you sense the subtle shift in wind and temperature as you approach the bodega.

We also had our minds blown at Bodegas Grant, a producer who just started estate bottling just three years ago. Edmundo Grant crafts a Fino that is completely different than any other we encountered. His wines had a sense of freshness and a gorgeous floral component that kept it light and refreshing by his unique micro climate and unique flor.

Of course, we also visited La Cigarrera in Sanlucar de Barrameda and the pride of Jerez at El Maestro Sierra.  This was an exceptional visit.  Their unique location in a "sub-zone" of Sanlucar de Barrameda was an amazing discovery.  More later ona that subject.

The heart of our first ever Sherry camp included an all day seminar and tasting at El Maestro Sierra. We learned about the ancient history of the area from Dr. Maria Carmen Borrego, an expert in the history of the region and the most prolific author on the subject. Visiting El Maestro Sierra is mind numbing as it is one of the last remaining traditional bodegas who have not changed their methods and make classic Sherry as it was made a hundred years ago. El Maestro takes it's rightful place with the other greatest estates of the world. There is so much to say about Sherry and El Maestro Sierra, which we will report on later.

Now we have to run off to Rioja... stay tuned for more reports on Sherry, Ribera del Duero and Rioja.