Ctra. Jerez - Sanlúcar desvío Las Tablas Km 1,5

          El Vinagre de mi padre...

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 condemnation, because when he had happily finished spraying each jug , you had to fill another and another and another ... So on until half a Jerez boot was filled with its -for me- unattainable 250 liters of capacity.

When I turned fifteen, my father was still with his particular “cruet crusade” loading acetic barrels in his Land-Rover. I remember one day when the aroma of the car was of such powerful acidity, that if we did not open the windows we would suffocate ... The worst of all was, when our dear old foreman, Don Juan Fuentes Romero, said to him "still around, José Luis, you are on the right track ... ”. And my father redeemed his "old absences" in the wine business, imposing on himself the obligation to "eradicate" the barrels with a high degree of acetic acidity instead of "correcting them", which led him to turn many old Pedro Ximénez barrels into vinegar. of our Solera of 1918 ... And to my astonishment Juan Fuentes, was still "happy with life" and encouraging him. I did not give credit ...

It turned out that after the years, old age and quality of that vinegar, they made it one of the most recognized in Spain and the only one in Jerez that is made from 100% Pedro Ximénez grapes ... feat or accident?

I don't know why the "cryptic reason" the barrels that my father was selecting were passing through the places where the most intimate experiences of his life had passed. First in the house of my grandmother Antonia and later - after some bizarre adaptation works - in the same rooms in which he was born, in the house of his maternal grandparents on our beloved Calle Marqués de Cádiz, Jerez de la Frontera ... A whole declaration of principles: take up some winery responsibilities in the same physical space where he was born. There are people who promote these coincidences without realizing it. But he who observes, deciphers and understands ...

My father speaks little, but if his performance is analyzed, certain things are understood. Using the rooms in which he was born to make that vinegar was like a “regression” to the mother's womb and to my grandmother's labor pains, to be reborn and convert into valuable something that would be worthless for anyone. And it turned out that after the years, the age and quality of that vinegar, made it one of the most recognized in Spain and the only one in Jerez that is made 100% from Pedro Ximénez grapes ... feat or accident? I do not know. And I don't think he either ... What is clear is that the whole process had too many coincidences that cannot be ignored.

A wine that is acetified and has high volatile acidity to transform in vinegar, it is something that takes an unexpected path to reach a good port. He is like a son and grandson of "wine men" who in the 60s preferred to listen to the Beatles, train in other subjects and follow his own path ... But precisely that "loose link" of our family chain, then he applied a criterion " ultra demanding ”, condemning wines that anyone would have wanted to save and obtaining an unusual vinegar. Without making noise, but making things clear. Focusing on the most humble of elaborations, the one that nobody wanted ... With constancy and a dose of autobiography that some special beings unconsciously generate. So are my father and his vinegar.

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