Fernando de Castilla – Fino Antique
When attending the Sherry Educators course last fall, I tried to schedule visits with some of the Sherry cellars in Jerez to round out my general knowledge of this lovely beverage by tasting as much as I could. High on my list was Fernando de Castilla. Quite well-known in wine circles for producing some excellent wines in Jerez, my attempt to visit them was unfruitful. According to their website, they are open to visits but apparently only from Monday to Friday and Saturday was the only day I had free. This was a common problem that I found in the region and was quite surprised as Jerez is the 2nd biggest enotourism destination in Spain after Catalonia’s Penedès.
So, as a backup plan, I went to a small wine shop near the DO Jerez offices called, La Casa de Jerez. While the owner’s prices aren’t as good as buying directly from the cellars, he stocks a pretty solid selection of the wines produced. I picked up as many bottles as I could reasonably smash in to my suitcase to taste back at home. As a side note, if you visit Jerez and want to bring back any wines, buy absolutely everything you have your heart set upon in the town. The selection at the airport is beyond lacking and full of Sherries that you can easily find throughout Spain or even in your home market.
This Fino that I brought back was indeed one of the gems in my modest Jerez haul. Very elegant in terms of the wine itself as well as the presentation, I probably kept it the fridge longer than advisable (Sherry does not last forever, like liquor as is commonly thought) because I was just sucking off a little glass at a time over a few weeks to make it last as long as possible. The new direction this cellar has forged once taken over by Norwegian, Jan Pettersen is plainly evident as well as the fact that this wine, despite being non-vintage like all Sherry, has received eight years of aging by the time it’s bottled. People call it and “older style of Sherry” to which I nod and add, it’s also a “delicious style of Sherry.”
Fino Antique NV
Wonderful briny, asparagus, bitter almond, hazelnut, and worn wood. Very alive and expressive on the palate with the nutty notes more prominent and a lingering dry finish that stays light and delicate.
100% Palomino 17% 20€