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Barbadillo 'Obispo Gascon' Palo Cortado Sherry NV (750ml)

Barbadillo 'Obispo Gascon'  Palo Cortado Sherry NV (750ml)

"The NV Palo Cortado Obispo Gascon, produced from Palomino grapes averaging 20 years old, and shows the telltale nose of Palo Cortado with its lactic touch and an off-dry nose of apricots, blond tobacco and spices. The palate is dominated by the salty notes (common to all Barbadillo wines), sharp, medium-bodied, with great length. Drink 2013-2019." 92pts WA

The Palo Cortado sherries are particularly special within the Jerez-Xèrés-Sherry Designation of Origin. This is because despite the fact that production follows the similar physical-chemical process of oxidative ageing as with the olorosos, the result is quite different with their organoleptic characteristics falling somewhere between those of an amontillado and an oloroso.

Barbadillo is, without a doubt, both the largest and the leading bodega of Sanlucar de Barrameda. Created in 1821 by Benigno Barbadillo, the company it’s still owned today by the seventh generation of the Barbadillo family, dozens of stockholders spread throughout Spain, although not necessarily involved in the operations. The business has also expanded, not only within the Sherry district, where they sell an impressive 12 million bottles of wine annually (a lot of it is the young and fruity Castillo de San Diego, which at one point was the biggest selling white wine in Spain), 40% of which are exported, but also in Ribera del Duero and Somontano. They employ 300 people and their wines are available in 39 different countries. In Sherry they own 500 hectares of vineyards, stock around 60% of the total production of Manzanilla which ages in 12,500 botas in their great cellars in Sanlucar, mainly in La Arboledilla winery, the tallest bodega in the Marco de Jerez, an impressive 16 meters high, and in a network of 16 other large and small bodegas in the Barrio Alto, the High Quarter of Sanlucar de Barrameda. They are constantly innovating and experimenting, be it with red or sparkling wines or within the Manzanilla world, as they were the first to bottle Manzanilla en rama (unfiltered) back in 1999, doing four sacas (bottlings) per year, one during each season, which they sell in half bottles with labels that clearly identify the saca and year. Other than that, their range is pretty exhaustive, from entry level wines, through VORS and an exclusive Reliquia range from the oldest, family-owned botas, some of them containing wines averaging 80 to 100 years old. As a curiosity, they probably stock more Palo Cortado than any other winery (on earth),120 casks, as the famous Toto Barbadillo had an obsession with that category and purchased all he could get his hands on. I had a great visit there with winemaker Montse Molina who arrived in Sanlucar from her native Cataluna 15 years ago and she has not looked back since. Tasting wines from the bota, listening to a knowledgeable winemaker and realizing how different and how complex the wines are is one of the pleasures one should experience at least once in a lifetime.

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