Bodegas Fernando De Castilla Antique Palo Cortado importer notes
“The amber-coloured Antique Palo Cortado has a clean, changing, lifted nose of white chocolate, orange marmalade, almonds and incense reminiscent of an old Amontillado, while the balanced palate comes through quite intense, sharp, with good acidity and length.”
Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla came into being in 1960. It took over an old sherry cellar and some brandy soleras. Owner Fernando Andrada-Vanderwilde could trace his winemaking history back 200 years. His focus was quality brandy, and quality Pedro Ximinez.
1999 saw the company sold and quality went to a new high. Especially after acquiring an almacenista (stockholder of old Sherry). This allows the company to make rare, old Sherry of the very best quality.
Jerez in southwestern Spain is where Sherry comes from. Sherry is a fantastic product. Unique because of local conditions, the ‘Solera’ system, and Flor yeast. It is impossible to replicate these wines. Sherry can be anything from young to quite old and dry as dry can be to luscious and sweet. Palomino is the grape for dry Sherry. Sweeter wines use Pedro Ximenez (PX) and Muscat of Alexandria (Moscatel).
As with all wine, context is important. But it would be fair to say that a lot of my favourite Sherries have been Palo Cortado. Starting off life under the Flor then early on Palo Cortado is exposed to oxygen. It has the yeasty aromas, the fine acid, the elegance. But it has some of the broader, nutty, spicy notes too. Full but cleansing.
The main variety of Sherry production. It grows in the chalky white albariza soils. Which gives a dry, acidity, minerally and faintly aromatic base wine to craft into works of Sherry art. Used for Fino/Manzanilla, Amontillado and Oloroso production.
The Solera system used is Sherry is a way of fractional blending. There are many stages in the solera. Wine is bottled from the oldest barrels (no more than one third is taken each bottling). Then those barrels are topped up with the next oldest barrels. This can go through many levels of age. Therefore some of the oldest barrels have wine that is at least 30 years old but may be much older.
This differs drastically from Champagne or Port blending. In Champagne or Port, they blend separate wines to achieve the desired flavour. In the solera, the fractional blending takes place constantly and the final product is the results of many years.
This is a thin layer of yeast that lives on top of the lightly fortified sherry. In France, it is called the voile (veil). It protects the wine from oxygen thereby keeping it fresh. At the same time, Flor eats the unfermentable sugars. It makes the wine, light, dry, and adds a yeasty, autolytic character. It is the classic flavour of Fino Sherry and the sub-style Manzanilla. The Flor can only live for 5-7 years so the Fino styles are bottled young (by Sherry standards) and shipped to by drunk fresh. Amontillado starts out life under flor but then finishes aging in an oxidative state. Palo Cortado starts out life as an Amontillado by the Flor dies early or is killed off early to make an Amontillado/Oloroso hybrid.