Wine Talk

Snooth User: Degrandcru

The unexpected sherry experience

Posted by Degrandcru, Apr 1, 2009.


My wife brought home some Sushi last night and demanded some wine with it. I remembered a bottle of white spanish wine I bought lately „Conde de la Cortina - Montilla, Moriles“. I knew absolutely nothing about this wine, it stated „seco“, mentioned no grape and no vintage. I wasn´t familiar with the winery nor the town Montilla - no clue.... I just liked the Alsace style bottle. Of course the missing of the vintage should have given me a hint (SOLERA?!?)...

Well, I cut the plastic and found to my surprise a cork with a plastic head, typical in many sherrys (Jerez). I opened it and it smelled like an excellent fino. Tasted it and it was an excellent fino. Looked for a map and found that Moriles is in Andalucia, not too far from Jerez. It hit me by surprisethat they produce sherry style wine outside of Jerez, not surprised that they of course cannot call it Sherry/Jerez.

Anyway, the Sushi night was ruined. I stormed into the kitchen to get some bread, goat cheese, olives and Jamon Iberico (smoked spanish ham). On the way I graped a beer for my wife, she still insisted on the Sushi....

Anybody knows if sherry style wine is typical in Andalusia outside of Jerez?

Replies

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Reply by Philip James, Apr 1, 2009.

Degrand - great story! Unrelated, but I was at an Alsace event last night, so have my own "alsace bottle" story to tell later today, when i have a moment.

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Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Apr 1, 2009.

First off, let me congratulate you for find a bottle of Montilla outside of Spain. They are rather rare.

Montilla is like Sherry's embarassing little brother who has long been kept locked up in the cellar. You could draw a parallel to Bordeaux and Buzet/Cahors - the powerful seaside commercial interests of one wine region restricted the access of an inland neighbor to export markets.

Montilla's wine used to be used in Sherry soleras before the DO boundaries were drawn. Since then, much of Montilla's production has been a cheap and inferior Sherry doppelganger... or at least that's the marketplace's impression. However there are many quality examples. Since Montilla is inland, the dry wines will lack the elegance of a proper Fino or Manzanilla. In fact, since PX, the super sweet grape of Sherry, does so well inland, Montilla supplies a lot of this to the Sherry bodegas.

Also, I think the EU doesn't allow them to put the Sherry terms (Fino, Oloroso, Amontillado) on the label which further screws them in their efforts to penetrate export markets. This is despite the fact that the word Amontillado is derived from Montilla. After all, you wife bought this wine as a Spanish white. The only clue as to what might be going on was the lack of vintage and "seco" on the label. I've had a few Montillas in the US that were sweet (relying on Montilla's strength with PX) and labelled as "cream."

Two other Andalucian gems to look for are Malaga and Condado de Heulva, although vacation houses in the former are replacing almost all the vineyards.

Anyone interested in learning more about these wines (and tasting some of them) should check out:
http://www.spainwines.es/en/program...

Sadly they don't go to Mexico City. You should write them to ask about 2010.

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Reply by Degrandcru, Apr 1, 2009.

Boulanger: Thanks for the explination. The bottle was about US$ 9, very good price for the quality. As I love sherry as an Aperitif I will pick up a few more bottles.

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Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Apr 1, 2009.

Sherry is so underpriced for what it is, which makes Montilla even more ridiculously underpriced for what it is!

Of course, now you need to find some good cheap sushi wine for the 'missus'

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Reply by Leo C, Apr 1, 2009.

Alvear makes and entire Sherry wine styles line-up with the terms fino, manzanilla, etc. They interestingly make a vintage fino and do state solera on their other labels. I find them to be delicious. Available in New York for sure, but not sure what other markets they are in, look around if you are interested you should be able to at least get more info. The Alvear sherry styles are all made entirely of PX being that Montilla I believe is the #1 grower of PX. PX thought mostly for sweetening or being a sweeter style definitley makes completely dry styles that at time I have enjoyed more than Sherry de Jerez.

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Reply by Degrandcru, Apr 2, 2009.

Reading about it I found out that the Sherry style "Amontillado" originated in Montilla. (Well, that´s why the name is aMONTILLAdo - not quite sure why I haven´t realized this by myself...maybe too much Sherry).

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Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Apr 2, 2009.

To nitpick, the style doesn't precisely come from Montilla.

It originated in Jerez to describe fino wines whose flor didn't develop properly (or, more likely in this age of modern deliberative winemaking, the flor was killed off on purpose) and the wine took on the oxidized characteristics that reminded the Jerez producers of the wines of Montilla - the Sherry wine has been Montilla-ized or, in Spanish, Amontillado.

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Reply by Degrandcru, Apr 2, 2009.

Boulanger: Thanks for the detailed information. So next time I have Amontillado with company I have a little story to tell...


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