Sweet wine Criaderas and Solera. 5 years in oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Alvear. Production area: D.O. Montilla-Moriles. Grapes used in this wine: Pedro Ximénez.
Fortified wine Oloroso. Volume: 50 cl. Winery: Alvear. Production area: D.O. Montilla-Moriles. Grapes used in this wine: Pedro Ximénez.
Fortified wine Fino. 48 months in American oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Alvear. Production area: D.O. Montilla-Moriles. Grapes used in this wine: Pedro Ximénez.
Sweet wine Criaderas and Solera. Volume: 50 cl. Winery: Alvear. Production area: D.O. Montilla-Moriles. Grapes used in this wine: Pedro Ximénez.
Sweet wine Criaderas and Solera. 60 months in American oak barrels. Volume: 37,5 cl. (3/8) Winery: Alvear. Production area: D.O. Montilla-Moriles. Grapes used in this wine: Pedro Ximénez.
Sweet wine Criaderas and Solera. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Alvear. Production area: D.O. Montilla-Moriles. Grapes used in this wine: Pedro Ximénez.
Sweet wine. Volume: 37,5 cl. (3/8) Winery: Alvear. Production area: D.O. Montilla-Moriles. Grapes used in this wine: Pedro Ximénez.
With almost 300 years of history, the Alvear have consolidated an authentic winery structure, not only strengthening its presence in Córdoba, but also with other winemaking projects in Extremadura and Argentina.
The history of this family starts in the ancient area of Trasmiera, in the mountains of Burgos. From the old manor house in San Miguel de Aras, the family Alvear moved to Nájera (La Rioja) at the beginning of the 16th century. Then, they decided to continue on to Córdoba.
Juan Bautista García de Alvear y Garnica was born in Nájera in 1657. He was the mayor of the noble State of Nájera, and when he was carrying out his duties, he was appointed as the Manager of the Royal Revenue in Córdoba. There he got married for the second time with a noble woman from Córdoba. Diego de Alvear y Escalera was born from this marriage; he was the first one in the winemaking saga.
Diego moved to Montilla, where his passion for the countryside, for the vineyard and the wine was born. This led him to found the winery Bodega Alvear in 1729.
At the beginning, it was a small, hidden winery in the intricate labyrinth of Montilla, but over time he starting buying large extensions of land in the area, which made him one of the great owners of the city.
With his son, Santiago, he took the winery to limits unknown in Montilla, when he managed to ship a load of wine to England at the end of that century. Among his successors, Diego de Alvear y Ponce de León stands out. He combined his vocation with an eventful military and political life. He was the captain of the Mercedes frigate, which was wrecked in the battle of Cape Santa María by the English. Nowadays it is famous thanks to the treasure-hunting company Odyssey.
From that era, we have to point out Carlos Billanueva, an assistant that Diego de Alvear y Ponce de León brought from Argentina. He became his trusted foreman and the oenologist of the winery. Carlos Billanueva (CB) marked the best butts of the house with his initials. From that moment, one of the most emblematic brands of the house was born.
Throughout its long history, Bodegas Alvear has kept its family nature, transferring the ownership from parents to children in such a way that, today, the ownership of the winery has more than 50 family partners. The company is now in the hands of the eighth generation, which has gradually contributed to the technical modernization of the warehouse and the preservation of its architectural heritage.
Most of the current labels and brandies come from the early twentieth century, under the management of Francisco de Alvear, Earl of Cortina. In this time of history, several vineyards were also acquired, and the wineries were extended.
The production facilities of Bodega Alvear are divided between Lagar de las Puentes, in Sierra de Montilla, the main area of quality of the denomination thanks to its predominant calcareous soils, and the so-called Casa Central, a group of buildings that occupy around 60,000 m2 in the town of Montilla. Here we can find almost all of the 6,000 ageing butts of between 500 and 600 litres owned by the winery, and the old winery "de la Casa" from the 18th century, the Alvear premises, located in the old town and considered of historical-artistic interest.
This old manor house from the 18th century has the oldest "soleras" of the region, with amontillado wines with an ageing of more than 200 years. The winery has an ageing capacity of 10 million litres in oak butts, distributed among twenty wineries, which have the different labels of the house. The wineries of La Sacristía, El Liceo, La Grande, and El Escudo, next to the manor house, embrace the precious old wines. In Las Mercedes, now known as "del Capataz", we can find most of the "soleras" of one of Alvear's best-known wines: El Fino CB. Another of the most charismatic wineries is the Conde de la Cortina, in addition to El Trabajadero, Ronda, Las Palmeras, Oloroso Viejo, Los Deanes, San Rafael, Don Diego and Presidente, where modernity and history coexist.
The base of the wines are 150 hectares of their own vineyard located in the most famous farms of the mountain range Sierra de Montilla y Moriles, all planted with the Pedro Ximénez variety, plus another 200 hectares from local winegrowers.
At Bodegas Alvear the main grape variety is the Pedro Ximénez, which is the base of its sweet, fino, oloroso and amontillado wines. It is the white variety of D.O. Montilla-Moriles, and also of the vineyards and wines of Alvear.
The vineyards are generally cultivated on highly calcareous soils. In this area there are two kinds: the "albarizas or alberos", very calcareous and permeable soils, poor in organic matter and not so productive, where they produce grapes with a longer and balanced ripening; and the "ruedos", reddish soils thanks to the presence of iron salts, which make them ripen earlier. Then, the miracle of ageing under the cap of yeast (velo de flor) will take place in these wines. This is a natural biological process that creates native yeasts on the surface of the wine, forming a cream-coloured layer.
The activity of these yeasts gives the wine a unique aroma and flavour, very different from the initial one. To promote the development of these yeasts, specific temperature and humidity conditions are kept at the winery. Also, the butts are only filled two-thirds of their capacity, leaving the surface free enough for the optimum development of the yeast cap or "velo". When the fino wines use up their nutrient capacity for the "flor" they are called amontillados, acquiring a golden colour.
In olorosos, unlike finos, the development of the yeast cap is prevented by fortification - adding wine alcohol - up to 18% and filling up the butts to the top. This way, the ageing is reduced to the traces that the oak and time leave in the wine. The Pedro Ximénez wine is a sweet and soft wine made from sun-dried grapes. The grape bunches are extended in a braid of esparto where the berries are slowly raisined. Once the raisins are pressed, a dense juice is obtained, real raisin juice. The production and later ageing will yield the great sweet wines Pedro Ximénez.
The containers used for ageing the fino are called butts or "botas", with a capacity of approximately 500 litres. Because of its porosity, American oak is the wood of choice. The butts are arranged inside the wineries in rows of several floors called "cachones". The corridor between two cachones is called "andana", and each of the floors of butts is called "criadera". The criadera nearest to the ground is the "solera"; the one immediately above, the first criadera; the next one, second criadera, and so on. Each criadera contains wine of the same ageing level; the solera, the one with the oldest wine, the first criadera, the second level of ageing, and so on until they reach the youngest criaderas.
Wines from Bodegas Alvear
Bodegas Alvear produces more than twenty products, including finos, olorosos, amontillados, Pedro Ximénez, brandies and vinegars. Its most representative labels are:
Fino C.B.is a wine produced with biological ageing (velo de flor) for more than four years in American oak butts using the traditional method of "criaderas" and "soleras" with periodic "sacas" (wine extracted from the soleras for consumption) and sprinkling. A unique fact is that, as it is made from musts from Pedro Ximénez grapes, very rich in sugars, it does not need to be alcoholised in any of the stages of its production and ageing. It has a pale, bright straw colour, with a clean, elegant aroma, somewhat sharp, with nuances of breadcrumbs and yeast. In the mouth it is light, dry, honest, tasty, and with nuances of dried fruits and nuts.
Pedro Ximénez 1927is a wine produced with sun-dried grapes, with an ageing of five years in American oak butts using the traditional method of "criaderas" and "soleras" with periodic "sacas" (wine extracted from the soleras for consumption) and sprinkling. PX 1927 is the hallmark of the winery, a coupage of wine from the Solera and the first Criadera. It has a bright mahogany colour with iodised tones. On the nose it is powerful, with roasted notes and nuances of bakery and coffee liqueur. In the mouth it is sweet, ample, and unctuous, with nuances of milky coffee and cocoa on a background of raisins and with a very long finish.
Moscatel Alvear is a sweet liqueur wine made from Muscatel grapes, slightly overripe, aged by oxidative ageing, and enriched in the final blend before bottling with a Moscatel grape mistelle. On the nose it is powerful and clean, with aromas of table grapes, typical of the variety. It has a sweet taste, with a well-integrated acidity. An easy to drink liqueur wine.
Marqués de la Sierra Blanco is a young fruity wine, produced by slightly bringing the vintage forward to obtain a lower potential alcoholic strength and a fresher than in traditional productions with Pedro Ximénez grapes. It is not aged in barrels, and it has a bright colour, a pale yellowish tone with greenish hues. Fresh and smooth on the nose, with light aniseed notes. It is very fresh in the mouth, fruity and with good acidity.
Fino en Rama is a wine made from a single harvest. It spends more than thirty months in American oak butts. This wine does not go through cold stabilisation treatments, nor its usual filtration by diatomaceous earth, preserving its original features. It has a bright golden straw colour, with aroma of flor yeast. In the mouth it is full, ample and slightly saline, with nuances of dried fruits and nuts, with great persistence and identity.
Fino Capataz is a wine produced with biological ageing (velo de flor) for more than six years in American oak butts using the traditional method of "criaderas" and "soleras" with periodic "sacas" (wine extracted from the soleras for consumption) and sprinkling. It has a pale straw colour with slight greenish tones, pale and bright, with a sharp aroma, and nuances of flowers and almonds. In the mouth it is full, dry, tasty and slightly bitter, with nuances of dried fruits and nuts.
Amontillado Carlos VII is a very old fino wine, produced with biological ageing (velo de flor), finishing its elaboration with the oxidative ageing (without velo de flor) in American oak butts using the traditional method of "criaderas" and "soleras" with periodic "sacas" (wine extracted from the soleras for consumption) and sprinkling, completing a process that lasts for an average of fifteen years. It has a bright amber-gold colour, very powerful on the nose, deep and sharp, with notes of fine woods and marked nuances of dried fruit and nuts. Elegant and silky. Dry, powerful and very ample, with great persistence.
Oloroso Asunción is a generous wine produced by means of oxidative ageing in American oak butts, using the traditional method of "criaderas" and "soleras" with periodic "sacas" (wine extracted from the soleras for consumption) and sprinkling, completing a process that lasts for an average of twelve years. It has a mahogany and old gold colour, with amber reflections and iodine shades. Intense and deep on the nose, with market shades of very elegant woods. Very ample in the mouth, with light sweet notes of raisins, hazelnuts and toasted almonds.
Pedro Ximénez de Añada is a wine made from grapes from a single harvest, sun-dried and with a subsequent blend that lasts 12 months in the traditional production jars or "tinajas". It has a light and bright amber colour. Clean on the nose, with notes of several raisined fruits (grapes, dates, figs ...) and with light nuances of citrus jam and orange peel. In the mouth it is very sweet, dense and unctuous, with very evident notes of raisins, honey and sweet quince.
Pedro Ximénez Solera 1927 is a wine produced with sun-dried grapes, with an ageing of five years in American oak butts using the traditional method of "criaderas" and "soleras" with periodic "sacas" (wine extracted from the soleras for consumption) and sprinkling. It has a mahogany colour, with a powerful aroma of the long ageing, old solera, light roasted hints and very well blended, with nuances. In the mouth it is ample, sweet, with pleasant bitter hints, a honey background and pleasant ageing hints.
Solera Fundación Amontillado is a wine made from the "soleras", the foundation of the winery, hence its name. This wine does not follow a classic marketing scheme, since the "sacas" are only carried out on rare occasions, producing only a very limited number of bottles.
It has a mahogany colour, with a magnificent aromatic intensity, with sharp notes of dried fruits and nuts, and a very long ageing. In the mouth it is a combination of taste sensations with the inimitable concentrated flavours of the unique ageing (walnuts and hazelnuts), which show through a great persistence in the mouth.
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