The Cuatro Palmas (four palms) is an annual selection of a small number of the very best casks of Tio Pepe Fino sherries from Bodega González Byass in Jerez, which are publicly presented to the sherry and hospitality trades and selected press at an invitation only event in November.
Pedro Rebuelta, Cayetano Martínez de Irujo, Antonio Flores
I was fortunate enough to be invited to the presentation, which was held at the spectacular Palacio de las Dueñas, the seat of the Duke Of Alba, in Sevilla. Only opened to the public in May, this 15th century Gothic-Renaissance-Mudejar style palace, with is long halls and garden courtyards, was a perfect venue for the presentations and tastings.
This year’s selections were made in September by Antonio Flores, Gonzalez Byass’ master winemaker, and renowned sommelier Gérard Bassett, and bottled, as always, “en rama”, without filtration or clarification. Not an easy task, but eventually wines were selected for each of the four palmas.
- One Palm is a 6 year old Fino selected from three casks, out of a total of 142, that exemplifies the evolution of the style.
- Two palms is an 8 year old Fino selected from just two casks out of 150, reflecting the elegance of a well aged wine.
- Three Palms is a 10 year old Fino selected from a single cask at the limit of the biological ageing process.
- Four palms is a Fino that has passed to being an amontillado, and was selected from one of just six casks that have been ageing in González Byass for 51 years. It reflects the ability of Tío Pepe to evolve over time.
The presentation took the form of a palace tour, stopping at a different garden courtyard to sample each wine, while “winemaker poet” Antonio Flores not only regaled us with the unique characteristics of each Palma, but also (aptly) read from the works of Antonio Machado, born in the palace in 1897. This was followed by a sumptuous buffet lunch, with all the Palmas flowing freely. Not surprisingly all the 2016 Finos Palmas stock has been sold already, but you can still find it in select wine shops in Sevilla, such as the Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience.
foto de familia
After having to miss this year’s presentation of Tío Pepe en Rama 2016 (because of this!) I found myself having a post-shopping pre-dinner glass of wine up at Gourmet Experience and my pal Silvia stopped by. Silvia not only runs the place at GE but her father Antonio Flores (AKA the winemaker poet) is the master wine blender at Gonzalez Byass and is also the guy responsible for Tío Pepe en Rama. Turns out Silvia missed the presentation too (she was only able to stop by for a quick hello before it all got going) and she insisted I try a glass. And well, it was damn fine. Thank you Silvia!
Tío Pepe en Rama 2016 was first selected in October from 100 of the best casks from two of the oldest Tío Pepe soleras, Rebollo and Constancia, and finally bottled (16,000 in total) in April from the top 60 out of those initial 100 casks.
A wild unfiltered wine, with all its yeast and organic contribution. Yellow, pale, golden tones, cloudy (yeast in suspension). The nose is pure albariza, salinity, nuts, bakery aromas. Tasty, intense, long, salty and slightly bitter finish. Or as Antonio would say… el sol de Andalucía embotellado (bottled Andalusian sunshine).
You can order Tío Pepe en Rama 2016 from the Gonzalez Byass online store or (in Sevilla) buy it at El Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience Duque.
Fiesta de Jamón Ibérico de Bellota
Need I say more…?
Well okay, you also get two glasses of fino with each 15€ plate of 5 Jotas jamón ordered (which is a great price even without the free wine) and if you check in on either 4-Square or Yelp during the fiesta you’ll receive a 375 ml. bottle of Osborne fino. See you there!
Flores Jamones y Vinos
San Pablo 24
17 – 20 October
[click on image to enlarge]
I had a great time my friend and fellow blogger Fiona (Scribbler in Sevilla) attending this year’s presentation by Gonzalez Byass of Tío Pepe en Rama at swish Abades Restaurant in Triana. It was a gorgeous spring day and a perfect location looking across the Guadalquivir River towards the Torre del Oro.
Tio Pepe En Rama is a limited production of a special fino at its most delicate, before the usual processes of stabalization, clarification and filtration. For the 2013 edition, winemaker and master blender – and Twitter pal! – Antonio Flores (@Hacedordevinos) made a selection of the best casks from two ancient soleras: Tío Pepe Constancia y Tío Pepe Rebollo. Flores described this wine as “wild” with aromas of bread and almonds, salt and minerals and with a citrus finish, highlighting its special light colour, taste and smell, which he equated to the city of Sevilla. I found it much lighter and fresher than regular Tío Pepe and it was very easy to drink while we snacked on aperitifs on the sunny terrace.
Given its unique characteristics it is recommended that Tío Pepe en Rama be drunk within three months of bottling. This year’s fabulous label comes from one of the orginal designs of the Gonzalez Byass Foundation, taken from its historical files. If you want to try a bottle you can order it from the online store, but hurry because stocks won’t last long.