Castilla Antique Oloroso averages over 20 years of age. It could use the VOS label. VOS is Vinum Optimum Signatum and/or Very Old Sherry. The producer rejects the VOS labelling because he believes age isn’t the major qualifier for quality Sherry.
Bodegas Fernando De Castilla Antique Oloroso Importer Notes
“The Antique Oloroso is open and expressive in the nose, with a predominant note of hazelnuts and wood, a sweet touch of spices and orange rind. The perfectly balanced palate shows intense, clean, pure flavours and great 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).
The fruit that doesn’t have enough acid to be Fino heads to the Oloroso stream. Oloroso can be translated as “aromatic” (or “odorous one” if you’re google translate). Oloroso does not age under the flor. Instead, it is oxidised from the beginning. It has strong nutty or rancio flavours. It is darker in colour, richer in body. Oloroso is naturally dry but sometimes is sweetened with Pedro Ximenez. I had an old Oloroso with a quail in chocolate sauce. It was heaven.
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.