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.
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.
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.
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.
Tio 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.
González 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.
González 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.
González 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.