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Storage potential of sherry and wine from the Jerez region

Sherries and white wines from the sherry region are all too often classified as products that should be consumed soon after bottling. In recent years, however, we have seen a striking counter-movement in which quality becomes very important and the aging potential of sherry wines is indisputably established. They are increasingly evolving into particularly complex and culinary high-quality wines.

Losing freshness

The story that sherries should be drunk quickly after bottling is unfortunately still carried out today by a number of bodegas. Indeed, most highly commercial sherries are watery and lose their freshness quickly. The cause is usually that the base wine has been diluted so much by striving for too high yields, by harvesting too quickly with a low alcohol level (which means that the wines have to be fortified too much with alcohol) or by excessive filtering during bottling.

However, in the last ten years a number of finos, manzanillas and white wines (vino de pasto) have come onto the market that are made from basic grape material from vineyards with low yields, optimal ripening (sometimes even with grapes dried in the sun) and bottled' and rama', so without any filtering. There are the seasonal bottlings of Barbadillo, the Saca Estacional Solear En Rama, Fino and Rama of Urium and the Sacristia AB of Antonio Barbadillo, which are characterized by a high concentration and are bottled without (or with very limited) filtering. These examples clearly show that, after a number of years in the bottle, these wines do evolve into very complex and particularly high-quality wines.

A (r)evolution in sherry country

About the same applies to the white wines from the Jerez region without fortification with alcohol, but with flor (vinos de pasto) aging. These wines also develop very nicely thanks to an interplay between the evolution of minerality (pérolé), the saltiness and a slight oxidation in the bottle.

The first examples of the white wines of La Callejuela (ZEREJ 2013) and the UBE Carrascal of COTA 45 2013 are living proof of this. The fact that these wines have very little fruit in their younger years means that they cannot lose the fruit during aging either. In addition, over time, additional complex components in aroma and taste also arise. Since all vinos de pasto are also bottled with a decent cork, this further increases the aging potential and makes these wines ripen and evolve more slowly.

We will be hearing, reading and writing a lot about the aging potential of the wines from Jerez in the coming years. Thanks to the vision of great winemakers and their ambition to put sherry and palomino wines back on the wine list.