2 Sherry brands you must try

What an amazing product is sherry, right! A few posts ago I talked about sherry (read about it here). I told you that sherry is a fortified wine exclusively produced in the Sherry Triangle (situated in the south of Spain). This time I want to introduce you to two sherry houses and their products you just must try. Which houses you ask? I selected the Lustau and Gonzales Byass house. In my opinion two massively strong brands with great products.


The story of Lustau begins in 1847 when the family Lustau (related to the Domecq family btw) left southern France and settled in Jerez. It is there that they started to build the brand Lustau sherry. What I didn’t know is that the brand only started exporting sherry since the 1950’s. In 1989, the company was acquired by the Luis Caballero Group (one of the leading wine and spirit companies in Spain).

The company has 2 vineyards, one near Jerez and one near Sanlucar. You might think what’s the difference between the 2. Well it’s the soil. In Jerez, it’s a chalky/limestone soil, perfect for cultivating Palomino grapes. Whilst in Sanlucar it’s a sandy soil, which is perfect for Moscatel and Pedro Ximenez grapes.

Of course, what is a sherry house without it’s bodegas (place where the sherries are kept). Lustau has 10 bodegas all over the triangle where they keep the sherry specific to the region.

Next to a wide array of premium sherry types Lustau has a lot of differences in their sherry range. From the Solera range (ripened in their original casks), to the Almacenista Range (where they use sherry from independent producers) and the Speciality Range (a selection of the wines from the best soleras). Besides that, you have the extreme rare sherries with VORS (aged 30 years). What I didn’t know is that the brand has brandy as well, haven’t been able to find that one though, might be worth a trip to Spain ;-)

Gonzales Byass and the Tío Pepe brand

The other must try sherry brand you might know is the Tío Pepe brand.
Together with his uncle José Ángel (Tío Pepe), Manuel Maria Gonzáles Ángel founded the Gonzales company in 1835 (later it became the Gonzales Byass company when Robert Blake Byass helped in the development of the company). Manuel learned everything regarding Fino sherry from his uncle, hence why Tío Pepe was used as a brand name for probably one of the best known Fino sherries in the world.

Besides the well-known varieties that I’m discussing under this paragraph, Tío Pepe also has a special variety called the Tío Pepe en Rama. This is a sherry with a maximum expression of biological aging. This means it’s a sherry without filtration or clarification, alive and wild. The “en Rama” is a local jargon that expresses the unrefined and delicate state of this wine. It’s always made in limited edition and is like a very complex and pungeant Fino in aroma.

A sherry for everyone

As I explained in my previous sherry post there are 2 different ways of fortifying sherry, biological or oxidative aging. In short one (oxidative) is more exposed to air than the other which of course creates other Sherry variants.

Biological sherries are variants like the Fino and Manzanilla wines. The Fino sherry is made in Jerez de la Frontera and El Puerto de Santa Maria. In flavor, it’s dry and yeasty with a hint of almonds. Manzanilla sherries are only made in Sanlucar de Barramda and have a tone of sea salt because of the location of the vines near the sea. Both these sherries have a straw yellow color.

The oxidative sherries are heavier in alcohol and require longer periods of ageing. The varients here are Oloroso and Cream sherries. The Oloroso has a mahogany color and is very nutty (walnuts), a very smooth and round sherry type. The cream sherries are a blend of the Oloroso and the Pedro Ximénez: Deep mahogany color and an intense ripe fruit aroma.

Another type of sherry is a combination of both biological as oxidative ageing. Examples are the Amontillado and Palo Cortado.  The Amontillado is amber colored and is spicy and nutty (think hazelnut) in flavor. It’s a bit smoother than the pure biological sherries. The Palo Cortado is a naturally occurring evolution between a Fino and an Amontillado it’s a delicate bouquet with an Oloroso roundness.

Finally, you have the sweet sherries (Moscatel and Pedro Ximénez). The grapes here are exposed to the sun and harvested late in the season. Because of the exposure to the sun the grapes become more concentrated and evaporate a lot of their fluids. One of the main reasons why theses sherries are sweet. The color of these 2 sherry types are deep dark brown with a very rich palette. The Moscatel has a bit of floral/citric aromas while the PX (Pedro Ximénez) is a flavor bomb of raisins and figs.

Tell me what you think of sherry. What’s your favorite?

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