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Manuel María González Ángel, born in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, was a commercial assistant who arrived in Jeréz at the beginning of the 19th century. He was ready to find a place in the successful and thriving business of Sherry. He gathered his savings and with the help of his uncle, José Ángel de la Peña, Tío Pepe, in 1835 he bought a small winery and started to produce and export his own wines. In 1843, Manuel María's vision of the future led him to buy the land where the wineries "Los Apóstoles", "La Cuadrada" and "La Concha" are located today, as well as the first vineyards. In 1855, in view of the growing success of his company, he decided to partner with Robert Blake Byass, his agent in England. This is when the company González Byass was born. Manuel María González Ángel himself was the first industrialist in Spain to equip his wineries with electricity. Jeréz was, alongside Haro, in La Rioja, the first Spanish city to have electricity and the first one to install drinking water in its facilities. After the death of Manuel in 1887, the business passed on to his son, Pedro Nolasco González de Soto, the Marquis of Torresoto, who introduced the sport of Polo in Spain. He also founded the first Pigeon Shooting Association and the first Tennis Association in Spain in 1903; he placed a tennis court in the actual winery. In 1963, following the project of architect Eduardo Torroja, the Great Winery Tío Pepe was built. It had three floors, roofed with four concrete domes, and with a capacity for 30,000 butts. In 1972, the winery Bodega de Las Copas was built, with a capacity for 60,000 butts, and a winemaking warehouse capable of producing one million kilos of grapes per day. In 1980, the new bottling in Las Copas concluded, and soon after, the winery Bodega Marqués de Bonanza. After the Byass' retirement in 1988, the winery remains in the hands of the González family, whose president, Mauricio González-Gordon, represents the fifth generation.
In 1985, coinciding with the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the house, and for its great contribution to the development of Jeréz, it received the highest distinction from the City Council: the Gold Medal of the City. Currently, the shareholding structure is divided between the González family (95.71%), Mercian Corporation of Japan and Haecky Holding of Switzerland, which have been Tío Pepe's distributors for more than 25 years.
The González family has always promoted and helped with the recovery of the Historical Heritage of Jeréz de la Frontera, collaborating in several restoration works of its monumental ensemble, both civil and ecclesiastical. An example of this is the creation of the González Byass Foundation, in order to preserve the documentary heritage of its Historical Archive, as well as the research and study of the Wine Culture. Another example is the restoration of their winemaking facilities which are the most visited in Europe right now. They have also stood out for their defence of nature and the environment, and they belong to foundations as important as Doñana. They are also personally integrated in many NGOs such as Lucha contra el Cáncer, Proyecto Hombre, and the Spanish Red Cross, among others. Moreover, they have been the Consuls of countries like Italy, Denmark and Sweden for several generations.
History of the winery
Over the years, the winery has been expanded, reaching its current 374,000 square metres. There are several wineries, buildings and gardens, one of the oldest being La Constancia, dating back to 1835. It has the original "soleras", including the Tío Pepe , which was started by Manuel María in 1844, and the winery Los Apóstoles, from 1857, with a collection of 16 eighteenth-century cherry wood butts that hey bought from the Duke of Medinaceli. Also noteworthy for their architecture, is the winery La Concha, built to commemorate the visit of Queen Elizabeth in 1862. It has an impressive metallic dome erected by the school of Gustave Eiffel. It holds butts decorated with the flags of the 115 countries to which González Byass exports wine. Another one is the Tío Pepe itself, built in the 60s of the twentieth century, with a modern industrial style, holding 30,000 butts under the domes, in the two lower floors.
The winery has around 500 hectares of its own vineyard and 400 that they manage, located in the areas of Macharnudo, Carrascal and Burujena. The Palomino variety prevails, but they also have vines of Pedro Ximénez, something quite unusual in Jeréz, where most of the wineries bring this grape from the vineyards of Montilla-Moriles. The company was also the first one in the area to establish a modern research programme in viticulture. Within this programme they study clonal selection and implement scientific methods of quality control. For this purpose it has its own nursery, and it is the first and only company of the area in taking this commitment regarding its vineyards.
González Byass also has an important production of brandies and a cooperage of its own. They provide butts that have previously been soaked in sherry wine to Scottish whiskey houses, such as Macallan, where they ship 10,000 butts per year.
Currently, the González Byass group also has other companies such as Bodegas Beronia, producer of wine in La Rioja; Castell de Vilarnau, producer of cavas in Penedès; Finca Constancia, which makes Vino de la Tierra de Castilla; Finca Moncloa, produced of Vino de la Tierra de Cádiz; Viñas del Vero in Somotano; Compañía Española de Licores y Destilados; Alcomasa, producer of Brandies Solera; Hacienda de Bracamonte, producer of oils and vinegars; Wisdom & Warter, producer of Sherry wines, and Croft, a winery dedicated to the crianza and ageing of Sherry wines and brandies and to the production of liqueurs.
Wines from González Byass
Tío Pepe is the flagship of the house.
Alfonso is a dry Oloroso made from Palomino.After a static stay in the butt, it goes on to the "solera" Alfonso, where it will age as dry Oloroso fro around 8 years, following the system of "criaderas" and "soleras". On the palate it is tasty, harmonic and persistent, with nuances of nuts.
Solera 1847 is a Cream comprised of Palomino and PX, that is aged in the oloroso solera under oxidative ageing. Both age independently until they reach 4 years, using the system of "criaderas" and "soleras". When this time has passed, they are mixed together and moved on to the "solera" of Solera 1847, where they bond and age for another 4 years.
Viña AB is an Amontillado of Palomino, aged in the system of "criaderas" and "soleras" for 8 years, 4 years with biological ageing and 4 years with physical-chemical ageing. It has a dark golden colour, its smell reminds us of hazelnuts and flowers, with touches of wood and with a salty finish. In the mouth it is dry and complex, with notes of flowers and wood.
Néctar PX is a sweet wine that enters the "solera" of Néctar PX, where it will age following the system of "criaderas" and "soleras" for around 9 years. It has a very dark mahogany colour and great density, with very sweet aromas, of raisins and caramel, and nuances of wood. In the mouth it is velvety and very sweet, with nuances of old raisins and dates, with a long and vibrant finish.
Leonor is a is a Palo Cortado with an ageing of 12 years in American oak butts, following the system of "criaderas" and "soleras". It has an amber colour, with golden tones and an ochre rim. Serious, intense, with aromas of nuts, where toasted almonds and hazelnuts stand out, enveloped in wooden notes. On the palate it is intense and persistent, with roasted nuances. It has a long and balanced aftertaste, with a soft mid-palate.
Del Duque is an Amontillado VORS made with Palomino. It ages in the "solera" of Tío Pepe, where it goes through biological ageing following the system of "criaderas" and "soleras". Part of the wine goes to the "solera" of Viña AB where the "flor" (yeast cap) slowly depletes, combining the long biological ageing and the oxidative one. After this step, part of the wine goes to the Solera Del Duque, where it will remain for over 30 years.
Apóstoles is a Palo Cortado VORS, with 90% Palomino and 10% Pedro Ximénez. After a period of remaining static (sobre tabla), the Palomino wine will pass on to the "solera" of Palo Cortado, where it will go through oxidative ageing. The Pedro Ximénez wine will enter the "solera" where it will age. They both age independently until they reach 5 years, using the traditional Jeréz system of "criaderas" and "soleras". After this time, the wines are combined and moved to the "solera" of Apóstoles, where they bond and age together until they reach the age of 30, thus concentrating all their components.
Matusalem is a Sweet Oloroso VORS, with 75% Palomino and 25% Pedro Ximénez. After a period of static stay in butts (sobre tabla), Palomino grape wine is moved to the "solera" of Oloroso, where it goes through oxidative ageing, while the Pedro Ximénez wine enters the "solera" of PX. They both age independently until they reach 4 years, using the traditional Jeréz system of "criaderas" and "soleras". After this time, the wines are combined and moved to the "solera" of Solera 1847, where they bond and age together for another 4 years, already as a sweet oloroso. Then, the wine moves on to the "solera" of Matusalem, where it will remain until it is over 30 years old.
Noé is a sweet wine of Pedro Ximénez VORS. Pedro Ximénez enters the "solera" of Néctar, where it will age following the system of "criaderas" and "soleras" for around 9 years. After this, it will go on to the "solera" of Noé, where it will remain for a long time, until it is over 30 years old. After this long stay in wood, it concentrates all its components and achieves a high extraction of the wood, something that is quite complex due to its high amount of sugar, which reaches 400gr/l.
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