I was seven years old, when one fine day my father began to swallow chopped wines while I held the nine-liter jug that weighed me like an intermittent sentence, because when I had happily finished spraying each jug, it was necessary to fill another and another and another ... So on until half a Jerez boot is filled with its -for me- unattainable 250 liters of capacity.
There was a time in Jerez, when a grape harvesting September was raised on the vine of fermentation aromas and the wineries gave off puffs of new must, filtered by rickety esparto esterones. Entire streets oozed with life, from the quiet stillness of its centuries-old buildings whitewashed like a blank canvas, about to be brought to life by the creator.
That something comes “like May water” is one of the many expressions that society has been “borrowing” from wine, as the eternal “maker of culture ”that has always been. The contribution of the wine world to Western civilization and culture in general is infinite. And in this year, in which for obvious reasons "nothing will be better than expected", it turns out that the field and the vineyard continue to give us joy, because nature once again shows us that it is "she" who commands our lifetime. And not the other way around ...
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When we speak openly of the Soleras system as we apply it in XIMÉNEZ-SPÍNOLA, we are recognizing that it basically takes 20% each year of all our wines. Consequently, in the remaining 80% there is a mix of different vintages, with wines from all vintages since La Solera was founded.
Every time the origins of Pedro Ximénez are discussed in Jerez or even in other areas, an endless debate opens up in which not even with my own father I I agree. It is well known that in 1483, the Cabildo of our city promulgated the Ordinances of the Raisin and Harvest Guild, the first regulation that regulated the grape harvest in our city.
When I deliberately wanted our driest wine to be called “ Slow Fermentation ”, I didn't do it looking for a A pretty, evocative or especially commercial name, but because it is actually made following a very careful process consisting of adding thirty liters of must to each three hundred liter French barrels every day. In other words, depending on the momentum of the yeasts, it takes at least ten to fifteen days for the entire fermentation process of a barrel to be completed. Something very laborious but rewarding since it allows us to obtain especially dry tones and nuances that, over time, make the evolution in the bottle of this wine completely different from what could be expected from a Pedro Ximénez strong> .
Since its foundation and well into the twentieth century, this house sold its Pedro Ximénez raisin wines in "Jerez export boot", or what is the same: 500 liter oak barrel. In Jerez there were many chestnut barrels of 700 or 750 liters, which always remained in the cellars. The chestnut is much more fragile than the oak and the latter resisted better the blows and inclemencies of the trip to England - our market par excellence. But the chestnut tree ran out as a recurring wood after deforestation caused in Spain during the war and post-civil war and today it is a wood almost non-existent in cooperage.
The “Pago de los Tercios” is a strip of albarizas between Puerto de Santa María and Jerez de la Frontera, delimited by the road that connects Jerez with Sanlúcar. "Balbaína" and "Los Tercios" occupy the heart of the imaginary triangle that many scholars refer to, putting the three municipalities of the D.O. as its vertices. Jerez-Xeres-Sherry. "Los Tercios" is also a historical payment of Pedro Ximénez. He commands in those lands, a thick, feudal and hearty figure. An old vintner who owns one of the largest vineyards in the area: “La Blanquita”. This octogenarian - young at heart - treasures an extraordinary wine culture. But when he talks about "life itself," he stuns the most learned of sociologists. His name is Francisco Barba, but we all know him as “Curro el de la Blanquita”.
Hundreds of thousands of staves have passed through his hands. First chestnut. Then oak ... His eyes, measured in the exact curve of the “scratching together” and the perfect “hoofsmithing”, look straight ahead, but when speaking they are lost in infinity.
There was a time when the important thing for most of the women in Spain was to “marry well”, with a man who was in charge of all matters related to their properties and businesses ... But when among these matters there are wine, wineries, and the call of the blood and the land, it may be stronger than the social convention in which one has been brought up.