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Bodegas Lustau was founded in 1896 by Mr José Ruiz-Berdejo y Veyán, a court clerk who cultivated vines in his farm, Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza. In the vineyard house he aged the wines he later sold to the large export wineries. Therefore, he was considered a stock keeper. Stock keepers were and are professionals or businessmen who make wines with craftsmanship processes, in their small wineries, almost always run by the family. Traditionally, these wines were sold to large companies, who mixed them with their own "soleras". However, until a few years ago, the consumer did not have access to these exceptional Sherry wines. This is why at Lustau they decided to study how to put them in value and make both the wine and its original winemaker achieve the recognition they deserved.
History of the winery
The winery's momentum took place in 1940, when Emilio Lustau Ortega, son-in-law of José Ruiz-Berdejo, moved the winery to the former town of Santiago, in the old area of Jeréz de la Frontera. There, inside the buildings that formed part of the city's historic Arab walls, he slowly expanded his business, still as a stock keeper. It was from 1950 when the firm became an export winery of its own Sherry wines. However, it was not until the 70s that the real expansion of the company took place, with the construction of new wineries on the old family estate, Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza. In the 80s, under the management of Rafael Balao, the company became one of the most creative ones in Jeréz. In 1988, Lustau took another step towards their distinction introducing a new bottle design for their wines. The elegant dark bottle with sloped shoulders is exclusive to the Company, differentiating Lustau from the other wineries in the Sherry Triangle.
In 1990, most of the shareholding of the winery was transferred to the company Luís Caballero, S.A., which provided Lustau, among other things, with the 170 hectares of vineyard planted on albariza soils in the area of Jeréz Superior, north of the city. Subsequently, in 2001, the purchase of a traditional winery complex in calle Arcos took place. This complex dates from the middle of the 19th century and it was completely restored to become the headquarters of Lustau. It has a surface area of 20,000 square metres. Currently, Lustau has a complex of cathedral-style wineries in the heart of Jeréz, which is still called Los Arcos. This winemaking complex is dedicated exclusively to the ageing of Sherry wines and it constitutes a true architectural wonder.
In recent years, Lustau has been awarded and recognised with many awards, highlighting in 2011 the "Best Spanish Winery" award given in London by the International Wine & Spirit Competition. In 2012, it was recognised as the Most Award-winning Spanish Winery, and the seventh one at a global level. In 2014, it was recognised as the "Best Winery of Jeréz". In 2015, it has once again become the Most Award-winning Spanish Winery, and the eighth one worldwide.
Currently, Sergio Martínez is the "cellar master" of Bodegas Lustau. He is a perfect connoisseur of the wines and "soleras" (shipping butts on the ground level) that Lustau treasures after a journey of more than 10 years, walking through the "andanas" (barrel rows) that comprise the "soleras" of Lustau next to Manuel Lozano.
Lustau has two vineyards under the Sherry Triangle, Viña Montegilillo, with albariza soils, very suitable for the cultivation of Palomino grapes, from where they obtain the musts for the production of manzanillas, finos, amontillados and olorosos. And Viña Las Cruces, close to the coast, with sandy soils where they grow Muscatel and the Pedro Ximénez, destined to the production of sweet wines.
Their wineries have a cathedral style, with high ceilings and immaculate "albero" chalky floors that maintain a stable temperature and humidity to favour the special microclimate that Sherry wines need. In Jeréz de la Frontera we can find their headquarters. The winery complex of Los Arcos, built in the 19th century, houses six ageing wineries that date back to different eras. In addition, Lustau is the only winery that produces wines in the three cities of the Triangle: Jeréz de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
Wines from Bodegas Lustau
The range of wines from Lustau is quite wide. They are divided into three families: Gama Solera Familiar, Gama Almacenista, Gama Especialidades, Gama VORS and Gama 3 en Rama. They also produce Sherry Brandy, with a collection of four exceptional Brandies that have received the most important international awards in recent years. They also make Vinegars with D.O. Jeréz, which are probably the most valued vinegars in the world. It is traditionally a concentrated vinegar, sharp on the nose and very intense. Another product of more recent creation is the Vermut. With it, they have recovered the Jeréz tradition of producing this type of drink, where the Sherry wine is the main character.
- Gama Solera Familiar
This range has its origin in the old "soleras" that Emilio Lustau founded when he started as a wine stock keeper. All types of Sherry have an outstanding representation in this range; from the lightest Finos and Manzanillas to wines with a lot of body like Olorosos and Palo Cortados, without leaving behind the sweet Muscatel and Pedro Ximénez varieties.
Manzanilla Papirusa is made in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. It is extraordinarily dry and light, sharp and fresh on the palate, with a refreshing acidity. Puerto Fino is aged in El Puerto de Santa María until it reaches an average age of five years. It is a dry, light and soft wine, with nuances of the sea, bread yeast on the nose and almond in the mouth. Fino Jarana is a characteristic Fino from Jeréz. Dry, light and sharp, with an almond flavour and sightly acid palate. Amontillado Los Arcos is a classic Amontillado, with a touch of sweetness, good balance and a prominent character and age. It has an amber colour with golden shades. Aromas of ripe fruit, with hints of wood and raisins. Amontillado Escuadrilla is the classic Amontillado of Jeréz, with a golden and shiny tone, great body and character. Soft and full on the palate. Full of hazelnut flavour. Península Palo Cortado is the fineness of an Amontillado on the nose and the body of an Oloroso in the mouth, with nuances of dry fruit and nuts and nuances of vanilla, coffee and dark chocolate. Don Nuño Oloroso has a golden colour, with penetrating aromas of wood, nuances of dark chocolate, walnuts and roasted chestnuts. Very long on the palate, attenuated with a slight acidity. Deluxe Cream Capataz Andrés is a mixture of Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez, aged in its own "solera". It is a wine of mahogany colour, with smoky aromas of raisined fruit. Soft and sweet on the palate, with a delicate acidity at the end. Rare Cream Superior has of dark mahogany colour, soft, sweet and velvety, complex and long on the palate. Its final acidity contrasts and balances its sweetness. Moscatel Emilín is made 100% with Muscatel grapes from the vineyard Las Cruces de Chipiona. it is aged in American oak butts. Of a very dark colour. Flowery and intense aroma. Nuances of figs, raisins and walnuts. Full in the mouth and very long on the palate. Very sweet but balanced thanks to its natural acidity. This Muscatel is one of the most awarded wines of Lustau. Pedro Ximénez San Emilio is made with 100% Pedro Ximénez grapes. In the mouth, it is sweet and fruity, smooth and velvety, balanced, and with a very long finish. This wine won the Great Gold Medal at the Concours Mondial du Bruxelles.
- Gama Almacenista
This range is currently comprised of eight wines, made in Sanlúcar, Jeréz and El Puerto. They are presented in 50-centilitre bottles. Each label of the range Almacenista mentions the producer, the style of wine, the city where it was aged, and the number of butts that are in its "solera". It is a way to pay a tribute to these Sherry craftsmen, as important as anonymous in the past.
Manzanilla Pasada de Sanlúcar is from the wine stock keeper Almacenista Manuel Cuevas Jurado, and is characterized by an ageing of seven years. It has a pale straw colour, very aromatic, with nuances of green apples and the salty touch of the sea breeze. Very dry and fresh, with body. Amontillado de Sanlúcar is also from the wine stock keeper Almacenista Manuel Cuevas Jurado, and after its biological ageing as a Manzanilla it goes through oxidative ageing. With an olden gold colour and a soft and hazelnut taste, it presents nuances of candy on the nose, with a long and elegant aftertaste. Oloroso Pata de Gallina is by the wine stock keeper Almacenista Juan García-Jarana, and it comes from an exclusive "solera" of only 38 butts. Of mahogany colour, with aromas of dried fruit and nuts and nuances of pipe tobacco. Nuances of dried fruit and nuts on the palate, with a long finish and a slightly sweet aftertaste. Palo Cortado "Vides" is from the wine stock keeper Almacenista Vides and comes from a "solera" of 50 butts. Of dark amber colour, this Palo Cortado has notes of tobacco and leather on the nose. Immensely intense, reminiscent of coffee, spices and dark chocolate. Dry and with great concentration, it has a long and elegant finish. Fino de El Puerto is by José Luis González Obregón. Very pale yellow colour. In addition to yeast, its aroma and taste are reminiscent of almonds. Very dry on the palate. Amontillado del Puerto is also by José Luis González Obregón, and it comes from an exclusive "solera" of only ten butts. Of a golden colour, elegant and classic Amontillado, sharp and aromatic with fine notes of oak. Hazelnut notes and complex on the palate, with a persistent and dry finish. From the same wine stock keeper (Almacenista) we can also find Oloroso del Puerto, of mahogany colour with khaki nuances. Fragrant and a concentrated smoky aroma. Complex flavour of truffles, dark chocolate and spices, with a long and clean finish. Palo Cortado is by Cayetano del Pino, and it has been aged for over 20 years using the system of "Criaderas" and "Soleras". The limited "solera" of this wine has only 22 butts. A very old wine, unctuous and full of personality that is bottled "en rama" to keep its features intact.
- Gama Especialidades
This category is reserved for some of the most exceptional Lustau wines, outstanding and unique for their old age or for something especially differentiating in their production. They are truly exclusive and they add their uniqueness to the care and dedication that Lustau puts in each of its brands.
Oloroso Emperatriz Eugenia has its origin in the "solera" that Mr Emilio Lustau founded in 1921 to commemorate the visit of Eugenia de Montijo, last empress of France, to Jeréz. A dry, deep and complex oloroso wine. Of an olden gold colour with greenish reflections. Intense aromas of dried fruit and nuts and an exquisite palate of walnuts, prunes and cocoa. This wine has become one of the emblems of Lustau in international markets. Añada 1997 is made with Palomino grape must that has been subjected to a special partial fermentation in order to preserve its natural sugar. It is later aged in American oak butts for 13 years. Only in very special harvests, Lustau performs this process, which is rare in the Sherry Triangle, and in which vintage wines are not so common. Lustau East India Solera is one of the greatest icons of Lustau. Its ageing reproduces how wines developed in the 17th century, in the transatlantic voyages to the distant Spanish colonies. To do so, after ageing separately in their own "soleras", the Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez that comprise it undergo a second ageing when they have already been combined. They do so in a "solera" of 33 butts in the Sacristy of Bodegas Lustau, which has a high humidity and temperature, reproducing the conditions that accompanied these wines in their travels. Of a dark mahogany colour with bronze reflections. Concentrated aromas of ripe fruit, mocha, cocoa and toffee. Very complex on the palate with a clean acidity. Flavours of raisins, walnuts and glazed orange. Pedro Ximénez- Selección del Centenario-Murillo was first bottles in 1996 to commemorate 100 hundred years of Bodegas Lustau. Dense, velvety and soft, of a dark colour and a fruity aroma. Its "solera" aged in Bodega Murillo, which gives it its name.
- Gama VORS
The VORS range are old-age wines qualified and certified by the Sherry Wine Regulatory Council, which guarantees that they have aged for at least 30 years. In addition, they are subjected to a strict selection, resulting in only one thousand bottles of 50 centilitres for each one of the wines. They represent truly exceptional wines, which gather gold medals and special Trophy awards.
Lustau Amontillado VORS is of a dark amber colour, with aromas of noble woods and leather. Intense and full in the mouth. Pronounced salty touches typical of the old amontillados. Extremely long finish. This wine earned 97 Parker points. Lustau Palo Cortado VORS is of a topaz-coppery colour, with a vibrant aroma of pecan nuts. Slightly bitter in the mouth, with nuances of dark chocolate. Very long finish. Lustau Oloroso VORS is of an olden gold colour with greenish reflections. On the nose, it has nuances of "turrón" (nougat), dried apricots and prunes. Intense and warm in the mouth, very full, with a flavour of marrón glacé. Its concentration reminds us of a Sherry Brandy. Extremely long finish. Lustau Pedro Ximénez VORS is of a very dark mahogany colour, opaque, with an amber-iodised rim. Aromas of figs, dates, raisins, sultanas and black liquorice. Unctuous in the mouth. It is not at all overly sweet, thanks to its light acidity that leaves a clean palate. Endless and intense finish. This wine earned 96 Parker points and was voted Best Sherry of 2013 by the IWSC of London.
- Gama “3 en Rama”
The range "3 en Rama" consists of a Fino from Jeréz de la Frontera, a Fino from El Puerto de Santa María and a Manzanilla from Sanlúcar de Barrameda; a wine for each of the cities that form the Sherry Triangle. To obtain the most genuine sherry wine, Lustau recovers the style "en Rama", a process in which the wine is bottled directly from the butt, without previous treatments or filtering. This process, known as "saca", takes place in the spring, when the yeast cap (velo de flor) is at its optimum point. This way, the unique personality of these wines remains intact as a result of the microclimate of the city in which the wine ages.
Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda has a salty touch that is unique to the surface of the yeast cap of the Manzanilla. Of a pale golden colour with iridescence of spring yellow flowers; it has aromas of chamomile, with notes of bakery, green apple and a vibrant freshness. An unforgettable wine. Fino de El Puerto de Santa María has the support of the climate that El Puerto de Santa Maria has throughout the year. It has a crucial influence on the development of the Finos, and the yeast cap (velo de flor) develops under exceptional conditions. Marked aroma of yeast (flor) with a mineral background and notes of apricot. Its freshness and fullness make this wine a true reflection of the classic style of Fino from El Puerto. An exceptional wine. Fino de Jeréz de la Frontera has more body and a rounder style. A bright golden yellow wine with copper reflections. With intense aromas of yeast (flor) and a mineral and herbaceous background. Unctuous and elegant.