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Gutiérrez Colosía, the last great winery on the edge of the Guadalete river

23/11/2022 Wineries

We know that Sherry Week 2022 had plenty to offer. Year after year this international wine festival delights guests with the quality of its wines, as well as for the very special stories and places to be found in this corner of Andalusia, southern Spain. Can you imagine tasting a wine made right where ships set sail for their expeditions to America? Or maybe you would prefer a Palo Cortado that is over 100 years old? All this is possible at Bodegas Gutiérrez Colosía, the only winery still making wines on the banks of the Guadalete River in El Puerto de Santa María.

A winery brimming with history

Gutiérrez Colosía, in El Puerto de Santa María, is possibly one of the wineries with the longest history in the Marco del Jerez (and that is no mean feat). This company, currently run by the family of the same name, was founded in 1838. At that time, and under another name, they were just shopkeepers for many years, storing and selling wines, until 1969 when José Gutiérrez Dosal (great-grandfather of the latest generation of the family) bought the facilities and embarked on a new adventure of selling wines that were aged right at the mouth of the Guadalete River (named by the Arabs and means River of Oblivion).

This is clearly an enviable location. Historians and experts never get bored of highlighting the historical value and importance that the Guadalete has had (and still has) for the city. In fact this waterway, which is the entrance and exit to the Bay of Cadiz, is where El Puerto de Santa Maria was established when in Greek times, Menesteo, an Athenian leader who fought in the Trojan War, founded the city on the banks of this river. But this is not the only historical figure with links to the river! King Alfonso X the Wise, Juan de la Cosa (creator of the first map of the world) and even Christopher Columbus have links to this area. The Dukes of Medinaceli, who partly financed Columbus’ voyage, lived in El Puerto and after his major discovery, all voyages and expeditions to the New World started from the Guadalete. Where else?

A winery that continues to make history

Today, three centuries later, the story is still unfolding and Gutiérrez Colosía continues to write chapter after chapter, as well as writing the story of this city where it is now the only winery still producing wines on the banks of the river.

Under special, unique and inimitable conditions, the Gutiérrez Colosía butts acquire a very particular character over time thanks to the influence of the river, which becomes a determining factor for two reasons: first, the humidity, which is perfect for the yeasts to appear and develop the well-known yeast cap; secondly, the winds from the east and west which, on their way to the large aging cellar (known in the area as the cathedral cellar), cross part of the El Puerto salt flats. 

This means all their wines, both dry (Fino, Manzanilla, Amontillado and Oloroso) and sweet (Cream, Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel) have unique touches that make them unmistakable wherever they go.

Fino: the most typical taste of El Puerto

If El Puerto de Santa María had to be identified with one particular flavour, it would undoubtedly be that of a fino, and specifically with this Fino de Gutiérrez Colosía. Made by fermenting a Palomino grape base wine and adding alcohol up to 15% (in the area this process is known as “encabezado”), this wine is the best way to discover the yeast and yeast cap (which will be kept for three years). Its saline and sharp character is striking. A classic introduction to this house. 

If you like the Fino Gutiérrez Colosía, why not go one step further and try their Fino en Rama. It couldn’t possibly be more pure!

Amontillado: perfect for those who love strong feelings

Connoisseurs say that of all sherry wines, amontillado is the most complete, as it has gone through biological and oxidative aging. This wine starts with the yeast cap, like the Fino; but at a certain point these yeasts disappear and continue with a second oxidative phase, where the wine comes into contact with the air.

The Amontillado Gutierrez Colosía is made with Palomino grapes from the Cooperativa de las Angustias, in Jerez de la Frontera and is left to age, taking on that sharp, concentrated and complex character that many people love. Perfect with soups, consommés, oily fish (tuna), mushrooms and semi-cured cheeses.

Oloroso Sangre y Trabajadero: more than four centuries of history

Oloroso is undoubtedly the perfect wine for those who love strong feelings. Passing directly to an oxidative aging process, without spending time with a yeast cap, alcohol is added to the base wine up to 17%.

Gutiérrez Colosía has the privilege of watching over one of the most special Oloroso wines, the Oloroso Sangre y Trabajadero, one of the area’s most emblematic brands. In principle, people believe it originated at the end of the 18th century in a workhouse located in Calle de La Sangre, in Jerez de la Frontera. These workhouses were where the wineskins were repaired.  

Over time, the brand was owned by several companies: Bodegas Lacave, Bodegas Gómez, Bodegas Gómez del Cuvillo, and more. When the latter disappeared in 1982, Gutiérrez Colosía bought 300 butts of this oloroso used to launch ships in Spanish shipyards. 

Cream, Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel: the sweetest version

Still quite maligned, although they are gradually getting rid of that reputation, sweet wines have managed to catch people’s attention, especially Pedro Ximenez, Moscatel and Cream de Gutiérrez Colosía

The grapes for the first two come from Córdoba and Chipiona (respectively), the Cream de Gutiérrez Colosía is one of this winery’s successes that enjoys a great reputation (especially among the locals). This is mainly due to the fact that while all other wineries add a sweet touch with must, Gutiérrez Colosía chooses to use Pedro Ximénez (30%) blended with oloroso (70%). If you have the opportunity, don’t think twice about trying it!