When I deliberately wanted our driest wine to be called “ Slow Fermentation ”, I was not looking for a pretty, evocative or especially commercial, but because in reality it is 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> .
In XIMÉNEZ-SPÍNOLA winemaking is not an exact science
However, winemaking as we conceive it inXIMÉNEZ-SPÍNOLA , is not an exact science since very traditional parameters come into play that make it "unpredictable" what in other wineries is today pure "mechanical". To begin with, we ferment with native aerobic yeasts, that is, the wine starts to ferment spontaneously and without genetically selected yeasts for this purpose. Secondly, the fermentation takes place in barrels and not in an inert steel tank. Naturally, the barrel is made of organic matter –that is, the wood that composes it-, which makes the wine subject to the organoleptic changes of the material in which it is fermented. And thirdly, there is no temperature control, that is to say that at any time the weather can slow down the conversion of fructose into alcohol. An entire obstacle course.
“You live a hundred years behind the rest of Jerez”
At the beginning of this October, a well-known French winemaker with whom I share experience and knowledge, put his hands on his head when I told him that I had a wine that had not yet finished fermenting. He literally told me that I "lived a hundred years behind the rest of Jerez", but corrected a few seconds later "Backwardness or vanguard, depending on how you look at it." Taking advantage of the fact that he was in our city for a few days, I told him that if he wanted, we were invited to test what we were doing “in situ” and thus I got him to come to our winery that same weekend. Finally, after a while of chatting, where I did not stop learning and taking note of their generously shared experiences, we tasted our Pedro Ximénez white wine musts still fermenting in French Oak. A month before the harvest and the fermentation of the entire Palomino de Jerez (98% of the cultivated area) had finished, fermenting in steel almost 100% and aged in American Oak ... His words made me radically happy: “You have determined to push things to the limit, right? "," Do you know how many barrels you are going to lose during this long fermentation period and with this climate? "," Don't think it will be less than seven or eight "," Anyway, I have to admit that the ones that are good are true jewels ”That's right. We have assumed to lose between seven and nine barrels each year, for the simple fact of fermenting in wood and without temperature control or selected yeasts. And now that this man whom I admire so much - and whose name I omit out of respect for the winery where he works - has understood that “living a hundred years behind schedule” instead of offending us makes us bigger, I want to express my gratitude for accept my invitation and for the comments and advice with which I sincerely - I must say that - enhanced what we are doing in my House, which he well knows that from now on is also his.