A. R. Valdespino, Calle Ponce Single Vineyard Palo Cortado

A. R. Valdespino, Calle Ponce Single Vineyard Palo Cortado

  • icon-type Type

    Fortified

  • icon-year Year

    NVNV

  • icon-style Style

    Dry

  • icon-country Country

    Spain

  • icon-alcohollevel Alcohol level

    18%

  • icon-grapevariety Grape variety
    Palomino 100%
  • Rating

    RP 93

Valdespino's Palo Cortado Vieja C.P. is from the same single, high-altitude vineyard, Macharnudo that their flagship Inocente Fino comes from. The site is owned by Valdespino since 1264 and is probably Jerez' most iconic vineyard.

The wine - as many Sherry - is not age-certified, but the average age of the bottled wine is 25 years. Distinct orange colour that beautifully combines the richness of Oloroso and some of the crispness of Amontillado. On the nose hints of an older cellar point to an old wine, with plenty of lactic notes, sweet vanilla, iodine, bitter oranges and spices. The palate shows high acidity, is clean and delineated, rich in caramelised flavours and tastes pleasantly bone dry.

A lesser known detail...

"C.P." on the label stands for Calle Ponce and it is the actual street in the city of Jerez where the original Valdespino bodega had its home.

About A. R. Valdespino

Valdespino is one of the oldest bodegas in Jerez, if not the oldest. Its history dates back to 1264, when King Alfonso X rewarded the knight Alfonso Valdespino for his help in liberating Jerez from the Moors. Valdespino was given a parcel of vineyards and started making wine.

Commercial activities were said to be started in 1430 and the formal ‘company’ of today was founded in 1875. It quickly gained a lot of fame and became a supplier of the Royal Houses of Spain and Sweden. It has always been known as a traditional house, which stayed in the Valdespino family until 1999.

At the end of the 1990’s, the Valdespino family was losing interest in the sherry trade and in 1999 the company was sold to the Grupo Estévez, owned by José Estévez, who made a fortune out of sand for bottles and who has always been a sherry aficionado. He already bought Bodegas Marqués del Real Tesoro in the 1980’s and was looking for a premium brand to complement it. All of the Valdepino soleras (around 25.000 barrels in total) were moved from the old bodegas (which had fallen into serious disrepair) to a new computer-monitored facility on the outskirts of Jerez. The new bodega includes an on-site fermentation area, bottling lines, laboratory and cooperage. The move took about two and a half years to complete, but the quality of the soleras hasn’t suffered a bit. In 2007, Estévez also acquired Manzanilla La Guita but their soleras are still located in Sanlúcar.

Valdespino is still sticking to old methods and traditions. More than anyone else they are stressing the importance of terroir. Whereas the majority of bodegas don’t own vineyards any more, Valdespino owns 186 hectares of vineyards and controls another 220 hectares, all of them of the Palomino grape. Some of the more important vineyards are located in the pago Macharnudo Alto, a renowned area that is producing grapes for specific sherries like the Fino Inocente and Tio Diego, making them single-vineyard sherries, a concept that has become rare these days. Moreover they are still fermenting wines in wooden barrels, as the last company in the sherry industry.

Valdespino’s enologist and technical director, Eduardo Ojeda, is part of Equipo Navazos, an independent project that sources excellent wines from old soleras.

Grape variety
Palomino

Palomino Fino is a white grape widely grown in Spain and South Africa, and best known for its use in the manufacture of sherry. It is also grown in the Douro region of Portugal where it is used for table and fortified wines.

Alternative Names: Listan Blanco, Listan de Jerez, Fransdurif, Manzanilla de Sanlucar

About Jerez - Xeres - Sherry

All true Sherry fortified wine comes from the vineyards around Jerez de la Frontera and the nearby coastal towns of Puerto de Santa Maria and Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Together these three towns form the three points of the 'Sherry Triangle'. The Jerez DO (Denominación de Origen) title was Spain's very first, awarded in 1933.

Palomino Fino is the principal grape variety, used for Fino, Manzanilla, Amontillado and Palo Cortado wines. Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel de Alejandria are used for sweeter styles.

Flor and Principal Dry (Generoso) Sherry Categories

Once a base wine is fermented, each tank is assessed and it’s decided whether the wines will be aged with or without flor. Wines categorised as palo (stick) are marked with a vertical slash, fortified to ~15%, and earmarked for Fino or Manzanilla. Mitad y mitad (half and half) is a fortification mix of spirit and aged Sherry. Fino and Manzanilla undergo biological aging under flor del vino (flower of wine). The normal yeasts for alcoholic fermentation die as sugar is consumed in base wine production. But then a specialised group of ambient yeast species appear, forming a film on the liquid surface. This layer protects the wine from oxidation while metabolizing glycerine, alcohol and volatile acids. For it to form, humidity, airflow, temperature all have to be correct, as does the alcohol level of the wine.

Other base wines are fortified to ~17.5%, classified as gordura, and marked with a circle. This level of fortification means that flor cannot develop. The wines undergo oxidative aging only, and will become nutty, rich Oloroso Sherries.

Fino wines are more delicate and almond toned, with a salty tang. They have a final alcohol by volume of 15% to 18%. A Fino ages under a protective layer of flor, but with extended aging the flor may disappear and the wine begins to oxidate, taking on nutty character. A Fino-Amontillado bottling may result, but otherwise the process continues and results in a full Amontillado. Such wines will have a final alcohol level between 16% to 22%. Because Fino and Manzanilla are aged under flor, they have typically been heavily fined and filtered to remove yeast and other sediments.

Recently en rama wines have become popular. These are bottled with no or minimal filtration, and are an intense, fuller bodied wine, closer to a cask sample.

Palo Cortado (cut stick) Sherries start life aging under Flor. But the richness of the wine leads the cellar master to fortify again to around 17%. This kills the flor and the Sherry finishes maturation in the style of an Oloroso. The finished wine combines the richness of Oloroso and the delicate aromas of Amontillado.

Sweet Sherry

Sherry may be bottled direct from the Solera as a Generoso, but many Sherries are sweet blends. Dulce Pasa – sun dried Palomino Fino grapes – are the most common sweetening agent. Pedro Ximénez is more expensive and so tends to only feature in pricier wines. Pale Cream is essentially a sweetened Fino. Cream is a sweetened Oloroso – and sometimes labelled as Oloroso Dulce. A Medium Sherry may include some Amontillado. Confusingly, a generic Dry Sherry will also have been sweetened to some degree.

Solera Aging

Few Sherry wines are vintage releases. Instead a blending system known as a Solera is used. New wines are placed in a top tier of butts (casks) known as the criadera. At the other end of the Solera is a tier of butts called the solera, from which wine is removed for bottling. There may be anything from three to 14 criadera tiers feeding the solera butts. Only one quarter of the Solera butt may be drawn off at one time. It is then topped up by the "lowest" level of criadera butts, which in turn are topped up from the above tier. In this way the solera – in theory at least – continues indefinitely with a (diminishing) portion of original wine. Sherry wines are often given an age statement which is based on when the solera was started.

Regular price $89.00

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