The rebirth of Jerez, a return to the old wine traditions

In a recent report published by The New York Times, new trends in the production of wines from the Spanish region of Jerez have been revealed. Historical techniques and local grape varieties that were once forgotten are being rescued by a generation of young and enthusiastic winemakers, the report highlights. His focus lies in the production of what is known as pasture wines, wines without fortification or natural grade that sacrifice quantity for quality. These wines, popular in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, are becoming a sensation as producers explore the history of Jerez to rescue old traditions and indigenous grape varieties that have fallen into oblivion. .

New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov has praised this new generation of winemakers who, focusing on the region’s past, have reexamined terroir, rediscovered nearly extinct grape varieties, and resurrected unfortified wine styles. that they had disappeared. According to Asimov, they are producing some of the most fascinating wines in the world.

In his article titled “In the land of sherry, wines of the future that look to the past”, Asimov, who is also the nephew of the famous science fiction writer, has established a solid reputation in the field of winemaking and gastronomy. Renowned for his independence and credibility, this critic had previously written about these wines, which caught his attention after being featured on the menu of select New York restaurants and offered at a specialty Spanish wine store.

Eager to learn more, Asimov took advantage of his last trip to Spain to organize a series of meetings in Jerez, Sanlúcar and El Puerto with several of these young winemakers. Many of them are grouped in the Territorio Albariza association, which protects the new wines from the Jerez region, mainly whites, which have been produced with absolute respect for the albariza land and the vine. These wines are destined to be the gateway to the world of Jerez.

On his tour, Asimov visited Alberto Orte and his Compañía de Vinos de Atlántico; Willy Pérez (Bodegas Luis Pérez) and Ramiro Ibáñez (Cota 45), who have also rescued the old Manuel Antonio de la Riva Jerez wine brand; Alejandro Muchada and David Léclapart (Muchada-Léclapart); Raul Moreno; Alejandro Narváez and Rocío Áspera (Bodegas Forlong); and Raphael Rodriguez.

Although these wines may not fully conform to the traditional DO de Jerez, they are much closer to it than to the PGI Tierra de Cádiz, which is too lax in the varieties, styles and methods used. While this dilemma is resolved, perhaps with the creation of a quality mention that includes the name of Jerez or Marco de Jerez under the supervision of the same Regulatory Council, the new generation of winemakers, winemakers and viticulturists continue to advance their wine revolution, captivating the world with its wines.

Alberto Orte, who has separated his wines from Tierra de Cádiz, considers that these wines are an alternative complement to the fortified wines of Jerez. Orte, who works with 25 autochthonous varieties of Jerez and eight reds, is in favor of creating a quality figure that protects these wines. He suggests two possible names: ‘Lomas de Jerez’ or ‘Marco de Jerez’.

Willy Pérez agrees with Orte that the visits and comments from such an influential critic as Asimov are a great boost for the revaluation of the terroir of Jerez, as well as for pasture wines, which, although they are produced in volumes lower than the Generous wines command much higher prices than standard sherries.

The revival of these ancient practices and grape varieties has shown that palomino, a grape variety once thought to be neutral, can produce deep, nuanced wines that express the place in which they were grown with astonishing precision. Asimov was able to verify this during his visit and points out in his article that these grass-fed wines, with minimal intervention in the cellar, have demolished the myth of palomino.

This revival of historic winemaking practices in the Jerez region represents a step forward in preserving the wine heritage and demonstrates the potential this region has to produce some of the world’s most exciting wines.

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