Fino sherry, the essence of Andalusia, bottled

…If penicillin cures diseases,
Sherry resurrects the dead…
Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin.

vino fino

It is clear that wines from Jerez have inspired the most refined poems and the most roguish songs, which appear in cinema and world literature. They are captivating gems, which leave their mark.

The Marco de Jerez is an exceptional region located northwest of the province of Cádiz, Spain, on the Atlantic coast and framed by the Guadalquivir and Guadalete rivers where the purest essence of the character of southern Andalusia reigns: sun, sea and landscapes of soft white hills. It’s the cradle of the world’s most special fortified wines, such as Fino sherry, which we are going to talk about today.

What is Fino sherry?

The Fino, despite being a dry white wine, is nothing like the white wines we are used to. Let’s try to detach ourselves a little from this prejudice to be able to understand and appreciate it, because both Fino sherry and Manzanilla belong to a separate universe. A wonderful world of flavors and nuance makes these fortified wines so special.

The Fino sherry is made mainly from the Palomino variety, which comes from extensive vineyards with open and gently undulating horizons covered with albariza, a very special white soil rich in calcium carbonate and silica that is only found in this area and which, due to its whiteness, gives a dazzling and special appearance to the landscape, especially in the summer months.

Once harvested, the grapes are selected and gently pressed to obtain the ‘mosto de yema’ (first must press), which will later be fermented, and from which a base wine will be obtained. So for, as you can see, the method of production is the same as for any other white wine, but it’s now that the magic begins.

These base wines are tested. Those that turn out to be lighter and sharper are those that are destined for elaboration as Fino sherries. Those with more body will be ideal for maturation as Olorosos.

These wines are called fortified because they are fortified by adding wine alcohol until they reach 15º, in the case of the Fino, before starting their biological aging, which is what makes the difference between these wines and the white wines that we know so well.

What do we mean when we talk about biological aging?

It means the aging process of these wines, which occurs in barrels where a thin white layer of spontaneous yeast naturally develops to cover the surface of the wine and which is known by the pretty name of “flower veil“. These yeasts protect it from oxidation through contact with air, feed on the alcohol and add nutrients, providing organoleptic characteristics that are not found in other white wines.

This is “the miracle of the flower”, the most extraordinary natural element among all those that make up the precious singularities that characterize sherries and make them different.

Incidentally, it’s worth mentioning that at the beginning of the 18th century, the appearance of the flower veil was considered to be a negative effect because it was thought to be a disease. Then it was concluded that the appearance of this layer of yeast was favorable for wine.

For this reason, Javier Maldonado Rosso, the historian and specialist in the wine culture Marco de Jerez, states the following: “There is no other wine which has gone from being classified as weak and sickly, to being considered a gem of world viniculture.

And how can you describe Fino sherry?

“I saw you float, flower of agony, float on your very spirit.

(Someone had sworn that the sea would save you from sleep.)

It was when I checked that walls collapsed with sighs

and that there are doors to the sea which open with words”

Poem by Rafael Alberti.

Antonio Flores, Master Blender of the González Byass Winery and “Best winemaker of fortified wines in the world”, borrows this passage from a poem by Rafael Alberti dedicated to the wine flower to describe the Fino Una Palma, a declaration of intentions and a poetic description of the character and elegance that a Fino sherry can have.

A Fino is a wine with sharp and delicate aromas that reminds us of almonds, herbs and the yeasty aroma of fresh bread dough. It is very dry and fresh, delicate and with a slight saltiness.

When, after the first drink, you get used to its character, prepare your palate to enjoy meals even more. It stimulates the taste buds, that’s why it gets along so well with appetizers. It has the wonderful quality of intensifying the flavors of the dishes.

This wine is a fresh one! Consume it at a temperature between 6º and 8º, and it will be perfect! It is Andalusian, and loves tapas. You will see how well it goes with olives and ham, with gazpacho and ajoblanco (chilled almond soup). And that “salt cellar” which characterizes it makes it the perfect companion of anchovies and all the products that come from the sea.

Surely after reading the above you are already salivating, so we propose some options to organize your next appetizer and, who knows, Fino wine may enter your life to stay.

Fino La Ina. “… and for those sales of Fino La Ina…” Even Joaquín Sabina sings to it. This Fino sherry inspires. It is considered the finest of the Finos. It is very dry in the mouth and with a long and persistent finish. It combines wonderfully with snacks, fish and seafood, rice, salads and with Iberian products. And it’s great value.

Fino Tío Pepe en rama saca 2019. Antonio Flores is in charge of selecting the boots of this Fino of limited elaboration that is extracted (‘saca’) and bottled unfiltered (‘en rama’) every spring, when “the flower” is most active.

La Bota de Fino “Macharnudo Alto” 91, by Equipo Navazos. A high-end Fino, bottled unfiltered and with 10 years of aging which give it more body and complexity without losing elegance.

“Let’s see, let’s see,
Let’s be aware that we were born in Jerez.
Time of the compass and the soniquete,
La Ina Fino, Tío Pepe Fino,
in the corners, the elves are born ”
El Rock del Cortijo (Rock on the Farmhouse), Migue Benítez.

 

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