Description 1 of 2

Name of varietal: Palomino

Common synonyms: Listan (France), Fransdurif (South Africa), Perrum (Portugal)

Parentage of the grape: native to southern Spain (Andalusia)

History of the grape: Palomino is split into three types: Palomino Fino, Palomino de Jerez and Palomino Basto. All of them are indigenous to Spain, with Palomino Fino one of the most widely planted white grapes in Spain. Legend has it that it was named after a knight in the court of 13th century King Alfonso X. After the Phylloxera crisis of the late 1800s, many native Spanish varietals were replaced with Palomino Fino because it is so easy to grow and adapt. But a resurgence in traditional indigenous white wines emerged in the 1970s and 80s, and Palomino was replaced by the likes of Verdejo and Macabeo and others, except in Jerez where Palomino continues to be a major player in Sherry production (for more information, please see Jerez). The grape is very low in acid and color, and tends to oxidize easily. For this reason, it is best suited to fortified wine production where it magically transforms into the stuff of greatness, though some vinification as table wine exists.

Characteristics of the grape: As table wine: thin-skinned, light-bodied, low acid, very neutral in flavor, faint green apple flavors and some almond, sometimes smoky from early oxidization which can be mistaken for TCA (“corked”) characteristics. As sherry, fortification and oxidization draw out more of its fruit and nut flavors depending on the style and age: pale, dry and light-bodied to medium-bodied, off dry and darker.  

Regions where the grape is currently important: Jerez, Canary Islands, Spain; Midi, France, Alentejo, Portugal; South Africa, California.

Type or types of wines the grape produces: young, light-bodied table wine, sherry and other fortified wines

– Description from Amanda Schuster

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Description 2 of 2

Best known to sherry producers in the Jerez region of Spain, Palomino seems to struggle when planted outside of that country. Even so, in California, over 3,000 acres are planted in the scorching Central Valley. There, Palomino is known as Golden Chasselas, though most vignerons recognize its true identity. They don’t dare try to make a quality table wine from it. Instead, as the Spaniards mercifully do, they produce sherry-like wine. The grape reaches shallow sugar heights and equally daffy acidity – desired traits for fine, fortified vino, although table wines struggle. It is most admired when it grows on the Jerez’s off-white, scorched Albariza chalk, with its lofty pH. Although Chenin Blanc leads the charge for sherry production in inland South Africa, Palomino is revered for its fortification down under.

, you are a fair haired stallion, and we appreciate your style in California. A personality of outward distinction, although beyond your balanced exterior you are sometimes a little shy. Relax and have a another drink... afterall, you do make your best impression in a fortified state. Just remember, the diet isn’t as lean in California as it is in Jerez. The iron rich food will make you fat; the trick is to excuse yourself early from the vineyard table. – Description from Appellation America (view original content)

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