Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Tio Pepe Palomino Fino Jerez Xeres Sherry

"There can't be a more misunderstood type of wine than Sherry." The Misunderstood Genius that is Fino Sherry  - De Long Blog

Fino ("refined") is a dry, pale white sherry wine produced within the D.O. Jerez located in south-western Spain, near the coast and just northeast of Gibraltar. The Jerez DO (Denominación de Origen) title was Spain's very first, awarded in 1933. It is strongly influenced by both the cooling effects of the Atlantic Ocean and the warmth that originates in the eastern plains. The coastal winds moderate temperatures, helping to preserve acidity and also provides natural air-conditioning in the wine cellars. According to Wine-searcher.com, "this contributes to a slow and gradual maturation of the wines". Because Fino is delicate, it is generally made from Palomino grapes grown on the best soils, namely the chalky, white albariza marls. It is meant to be consumed fresh and young and one of the best-known examples is Tio Pepe ($19.99).

In 1835 at only 23 years old Manuel María González Ángel founded the precursor to Gonzalez Byass creating the Tío Pepe (Uncle Joe) sherry brand inspired by his uncle, José Ángel. In fact, the winery’s foundational solera is still inscribed with “Solera del Tío Pepe”. Nearly ten years into his operation Manuel united with his English Agent Robert Blake Byass to form González Byass as they shipped "exceptionally pale..." Tío Pepe wine to the United Kingdom. Together they built the company to be the leading exporter of sherry wines in Jerez. González Byass focused exclusively on sherry until the 1980's when they started incorporating wineries from other notable Spanish wine regions into the corporate umbrella. During the same period "the Byass family withdrew from the business and the winery passed into the hands of the direct descendants of Manuel María González".

González Byass owns 800 hectares in vineyards in Jerez Superior where the hand-picked Palomino grapes are gently pressed without crushing the stems, seeds, or skins. The resulting must is called "yema" which is fermented and fortified to 15.5% then enters the Tio Pepe solera system where it is aged for five years in American oak. During this aging period, the wine undergoes biological aging under a layer of yeast called "flor". This gives Tio Pepe its unique pungent aromas that blend with the almond notes characteristic of the Palomino grape. For those where dry sherry is an acquired taste, serve well chilled to lessen these aromas. Otherwise, serve slightly chilled or in a cocktail like the Tuxedo Cocktail. Cheers.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this wine free from González Byass. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are entirely my own.

No comments: