The Honest Pour with John Lenart

Taking you beyond the bottle.


October 2017

Ep. 32, Victoria González-Gordon, International Marketing Manager, González Byass

Sherry took me a long time to get to know. My friend, sherry guru Elizabeth Mendez, tried to show me the light for years. Somehow I just couldn’t see it. But finally, on a trip to Spain, hosted by González Byass, maker of Tio Pepe fino sherry, I was able to put context to the ethereal fortified wine of Jerez. It happened while eating tapas, a simple grilled shrimp on a skewer, and sipping Tio Pepe sherry, that it all came together.

A Solera of Tio Pepe in the González Byass Bodega, Jerez Spain.

The flavors of the food and wine danced together in a harmoniousness tango of flavor. I’ve been a slave to sherry’s siren song ever since.

Master Blender Antonio Flores of González Byass showing Flor in the Bodega.

Of course, visiting the González Byass Bodega in Jerez and tasting with Master Blender, sherry legend Antonio Flores didn’t hurt. It was this trip that linked me forever with not only sherry, but with the wines of González Byass.

When I got the opportunity to sit down with Victoria González-Gordon, International Marketing Manager of González Byass, I jumped at the chance. The business has been in her family for five generations. When I found out we’d be tasting the extraordinary sherry of the “Palmas Range” of  González Byass I was even more excited. These extremely rare wines are hand selected by Flores and released just once per year.

A cask hand selected and marked by Flores for Tres Palmas

Throughout each year Flores samples from barrels in various Solera in the Bodega and selects the very finest for the Palmas Range.

The four Palmas sherries are:

Una Palmas, only three casks are made with an average age of six years.

Dos Palmas, two casks with an average age of eight years

Tres Palmas, one cask with an average age of ten years.

Cuatro Palmas, just one fifth of a cask with an average age of 51 years.

You can see why I was excited to sample these wines and talk some sherry basics with the charming Victoria González-Gordon.



Vicky Gonzalez Gordon

Victoria González-Gordon, International Marketing Manager of González Byass

EnRama2017Tio Pepe en Rama, Fino

Pale golden color. A quite yeasty nose showing aromas of almond and green apples. A creamy texture gives way to almond flavors, apple, and some lemon zest with a good bit of salinity.  Great acidity. Pair with grilled shellfish. You can thank me later.


SRP: $20


UNA PALMASGonzález Byass Una Palmas, Fino

Light golden color. Nose almond and walnut skins with dried stone fruit. A savory wine with complex flavors of nuts, a bit earthy with a sea-like brine and luxurious acidity.


SRP: $25


DOS PALMASGonzález Byass Dos Palmas, Fino

Medium gold color. A salty approach leads to aromas of green olives and marzipan. Flavors of dried apple and almonds dominate finishing with a distinct salinity and bright acid. Serve with roasted fish or wild game.

SRP: $50



CUATRO PALMASGonzález Byass Cuatro Palmas, Amontillado

Elegance. Stunning and classic. Words fail me in describing this amazing wine, but I will try, certainly I won’t do it justice. Aromas of cedar, spice box, salt and a touch of cigar smoke. Flavors of dried fig, orange zest, and nuts, yet still a lively, dare I say young complexion. Not bad for 51 years on average. If you  are interested in sherry, seek out this classic. It will be worth your search.

SRP: $110


Ep. 31, Manuel Louzada, Winemaker, Propiedad de Arínzano and Achaval–Ferrer

Manuel Louzada is a thoughtful well spoken winemaker. A fourth generation winemaker his family’s commitment to quality winemaking has been passed down through the generations and today he maintains that commitment on two continents. Chasing harvests between South America and Europe his wines are distinctive and terroir driven. The wines I tasted in this episode are no longer the current releases but the tasting notes below will give you an idea of the style of wines Louzada makes and what you can expect from the current releases.

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IMG_1536_color02Manuel Louzada Winemaker, Propiedad de Arínzano and Achaval–Ferrer

LaCasona2008 Propiedad de Arínzano La Casona

Dusty Ruby in color. An earthy nose backed by aromas of fresh blackberry and plum. The velvety texture supports flavors of black currant, plum and blackberry followed by notes of cedar, milk chocolate and cherry cola.

SRP:  $40



achaval-ferrer-finca-bella-vista-20132013 Achaval–Ferrer Finca Bella Vista Malbec

Bright Ruby in color this wine shows aromas of blueberry, plum, leather and spices. Flavors of blueberry, cocoa and violet are backed up by silky tannins and bright acidity in this beautifully integrated wine with a long bright finish.

SRP: $140

Ep. 030, Eleonora Marconi, Winemaker, Frescobaldi, Castello di Nipozzano Estate

In Episode 12 of The Honest Pour I interviewed Marchese Lamberto Frescobaldi, owner of Frescobaldi. In this episode I interview a winemaker from one of his estates, Eleonora Marconi, winemaker at Frescobaldi’s Castello di Nipozzano Estate. Built in the year 1000 as a defensive fortress, today Castello di Nipozzano houses the wine cellars. I spoke with Marconi about her dedication to making wines for this historic estate her close working relationship with the Marchese.

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foto Eleonora Marconi

Eleonora Marconi, winemaker, Frescobaldi Castello di Nipozzano Estate


NIPOZZANO-RISERVA-2013-12013 Frescobaldi Nipozzano Riserva

Earthy nose with notes of red berries and leather. On the palate bright acidity is balanced by fresh red berry flavors accented with hints of cocoa, purple flowers  and silky tannin.

SRP: $20





NIPOZZANO-VECCHIE-VITI-2013-Nuovo-Logo2013 Frescobaldi Nipozanno Vecchie Viti

A restrained, elegant nose that slowly let’s you get to know it.  This ruby red wine starts with aromas of a bouquet of purple flowers and ripe berries. The texture is well balanced with flavors of luscious berries and coffee. A bit lean through the mid palate. Silky tannin and forward acid make this wine scream for food.

SPR: $27



2013 Frescobaldi Montesodi Chianti Rufina MONTESODI-2013

Extremely elegant nose. Gorgeous integration of fruit, earth and floral aromas. Velvety texture. Restrained flavors of red berries backed by subtle notes of cocoa, mushroom and earth with a fresh long finish. Pretty now, but will age fabulously for 5 to 10 years.

SRP: $42

Ep. 029 Chris Brundrett, Winemaker, William Chris Vineyards

When you think about drinks from Texas what first comes to mind might be Lone Star beer or Tito’s Vodka. But for the wine lover, look to Texas Hill Country. Here lies a burgeoning wine industry. The arid land and gently rolling hills there brings to mind the south of Spain. It’s in the hill country just outside of Austin that William Chris Vineyards is located. The Chris of William Chris, is Chris Brundrett, the native Texas winemaker winemaker who studied at Texas A&M. Brundrett is making some really delicious and  intriguing wines that express the terroir of the lone star state.

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William Chris Wine Team_Miguel Lecuona copy.jpg  Chris Brundrett (Left, front) and  Bill Blackmon (Right front)


2016 Malbec Rosé, Hye Estate Vnyd, Texas Hill Country, Concrete Aged2.png

2016 William Chris Vineyards, Hye Estate Vineyard Malbec Rose

Pale peach in color. Nose of orange cream and wet stones. Bright on the palate with super-fun mandarin flavor combined with solid acidity and strong minerality.


SRP: $25


2015 Tempranillo, High Cross Vineyards, Sutton County.png2015 William and Chris Vineyards, High Cross Vineyard Tempranillo

Super bright garnet color. Nose of red fruit, spices, and cola notes. On the palate flavors of red cherry and mixed red berries are backed up by silky tannin and medium acid all building to a long finish.


SRP: $40



                        2014 Petit Verdot, La Pradera Vnyds, Texas High Plains.png

2014 William Chris Vineyard, La Pradera Vineyard Petit Verdot

Deep, brooding color. Very floral nose of violets backed up with a good hit of limestone. Flavors of dried dark fruit, a bi candied but balanced by spiciness with bold tannins and complex acidity. Give 3 to 5 years for optimal drinking.


SRP:  $60


2014 Tannat, Hye Estate Vnyd, Texas Hill Country 2.png


2014 William ChrisVineyards, Hye Estate Vineyard Tannat

An earthy nose of light purple flowers. Plum and cherry flavor predominate backed by hints of cocoa, cola and good minerality backed by bright acidity and grippy tannins.


SRP:  $60

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