Sherry comes from Jerez in south-west Spain. The white 'albariza' soil - typical of Jerez - is ideal for viniculture; when the surface dries out it forms a layer which prevents moisture loss, allowing vines to establish deep roots. Furthermore, the albedo effect of the white soil concentrates solar radiation onto the grapes, which aids ripening.
The Palomino grapes for the Fino ‘Inocente’ are grown in the Pago Macharnudo – one of the top single-vineyard sites on the Jerez DO. At 135 metres above sea level, it is one of the highest altitude sites in the region and has a south-east aspect with a 10% gradient – perfect exposure for the Palomino to reach optimum levels of ripeness. Soils are white ‘albariza’ - rich in calcium carbonate, silica and clay. Albariza has excellent water retention properties and acts like a sponge, but it also forms a hard surface layer when it dries out, preventing evaporation. After the harvest, channels are dug between the vines to exploit these properties and trap the winter rains, creating a water reserve to sustain the vines through the heat of the Jerezano summers, during which temperatures can exceed 38°C.
Upon arrival at the winery, the Palomino grapes are very gently pressed and the must is settled. Unusually for modern-day Jerez, fermentation is traditional and takes place in 600-litre American oak barrels. After the Palomino is fermented to dryness, it is fortified to 15% and the barrels are only partially filled. This allows a thick veil of 'flor' (yeast) to develop on the wine's surface, protecting it from oxygen. The young wine, known as the ‘sobretabla’, is then fed into the ‘Inocente’ solera system where it ages biologically under the ‘flor’ and is fractionally blended through the ten different criadera levels. The finished Fino ‘Inocente’ has an average age of 10 years, making it considerably older and more complex than your average Fino.
Valdespino is one of the oldest bodegas in Jerez, with a history of Sherry production going back six centuries. Back in 1264, Alfonso Valdespino was one of 24 knights who fought against the Arabs for the city of Jerez with King Alfonso X. As a reward for his efforts, he was given the land that formed the basis of the bodega. Today Valdespino belongs to the Estevez family, who purchased the bodega in 1999. They own 750 hectares of vineyards in Jerez, including the renowned 'Macharnudo' Pago. This vineyard ownership allows Valdespino very close control over grape quality. They are one of the few bodegas to make single-vineyard Sherries and are also renowned for their VOS (Very Old Sherry) with over 20 years of ageing and VORS (Very Old Rare Sherry) with over 30 years of ageing.
Great with tapas (of course), especially Iberian cured hams, green olives - or a real treat with a shellfish bisque. Drink well chilled.
Suitable for vegans & vegetarians.
Straw yellow in colour. Savoury aromas bread dough, almonds, olives and dried apples dominate on the nose. Bone dry and bracingly refreshing on the palate, with a saline minerality and a long and complex finish.
In the press
"I’ve often called Valdespino “the Romanee-Conti of Jerez.” Well, there, I’ve said it. To me they represent quality and tradition at the very top of the Sherry hierarchy" - Robert Parker Wine Advocate
"The nose is very complex, showing the effect of the long lees contact: chalk, dried hay, aromatic herbs and salty almonds. The palate is full, but at the same time elegant and balanced, powerful and fine, with the texture of a Meursault rather than a Puligny. A very complex wine" - 94 pts Robert Parker Wine Advocate
"It's been a few years since we reviewed one of the best finos on the market, and it remains a standout. From a single vineyard, and one of a vanishingly small number of sherries to be fermented in wooden barrels (rather than stainless steel), it has full-on flavours of green olives and Marmite on toast, but the feeling on the palate is fresh and light, right through to the salted nut finish". The Wine Gang - July 2015 Newsletter
Gold- International Wine Challenge 2016
Silver- Sommelier Wine Awards 2016
Bronze- Sommelier Wine Awards 2014