Rich and long with greater depth and complexity than a standard Fino - as such Jan refers to this as his 'Winter' Fino! Appealing salty tang and a long citrus finish. Very fresh and pure.
One of the most exceptional of the small, independent sherry houses, Fernando de Castilla was revitalised in 1999 by Jan Pettersen - a Norwegian with a passion for top quality sherry, and 15 years experience at Osborne. After taking over the cellars of the Sherry shipper Jose Bustamante, located next door to the main facilities of Fernando de Castilla, Jan quickly established Fernando de Castilla as masters of the production and ageing of fine, unblended, untreated Sherries. The bodega's reputation is based on the excellence of the Antique range of intensely pure and complex single solera Sherries whose award winning packaging makes them even more impressive. The Antique Palo Cortado was awarded 'Best Dry Fortified Trophy' at the 2011 New Wave Spanish Wine Awards, whilst the Antique Amontillado scooped the trophy for ‘Dry Fortified over £10’ at the 2011 Decanter World Wine Awards.
Grapes are sourced from Fernando de Castilla's partners vineyards in the Jerez district. The soil type is Albariza. Picking takes place in early September.
The wine is made from the first pressing of grapes to give a light fresh style. Fermentation takes place at relatively high temperatures to reduce fruit flavour. This makes a very neutral wine which is perfect for the production of sherry. The wine then undergoes natural malolactic fermentation, converting harsh malic acid to softer lactic acid. In the February after harvest, the wine is fortified with grape brandy up to 15% abv. Once at this stage the wine is then added to the youngest Criadera in the Solera. The wine then begins its ageing process under flor, a special type of yeast. Antique Fino is carefully selected from the classic fino and is aged for a further 4 years without any movements, except for monitoring the condition of the Flor yeast. The wine is fortified again, prior to bottling and this time, to 17% Alcohol. This additional alcohol helps to protect the wine and make it more stable, allowing less wine making intervention and a more natural product. Most forms of microbiological spoilage can’t live in an environment of higher alcohol, in fact historically, just 25 years ago all Finos were at higher strength for this reason. For example, cold-stabilisation can be carried out for 24 hours at minus 0.5ºC instead of 7 days at minus 8ºC which is standard practice. Little filtration is required and the wine is bottled with its natural colour. The additional age and higher alcohol also give the Antique Fino a longer shelf life than young 15% finos. When the wine is found to have reached perfect maturity for this style (now a "Fino Pasado"), bottling commences. No more than two to three casks of this wine per year are bottled and the casks are replenished with the Classic Fino. This wine was created for a very specific group of consumers who understand that the product is not old, but just developed further than other Finos. The winemaker remarks that he thought that it was only himself and his friends in Jerez and “a few other Sherry nuts” who would even like it, but it appears that it has become a favourite in a number of top restaurants and that interest in this type of more evolved and unusual wines, is increasing.
This should be served cool, but not very cold. It pairs well with smoked fish, Spanish charcuterie and mature cheeses.
"Beautiful aged nose with caramel highlights, with heady walnutty hues,’ said Sarah Riddle of Sketch, with Giancarlo Cuccuru of The Gilbert Scott adding: ‘Rich and complex, older style showing notes of baked almonds and some spice, with a long, warm finish."
Sommelier Wine Awards 2015, Judges Comments
"Kicking off a hat-trick of medals is this tangy fino. With toasty bread aromas, nuts and spices, there is a lemon and mineral freshness to the rich palate" "Confit lemon and great texture, smoky and very savoury"I>
Sommelier Wine Awards 2014, Judges Comments
"Thanks to extended ageing in oak, this powerful fino is darker in hue than expected. There are signs of oxidation on the pungent, salty nose, while the intense palate has layers of flavours, with fantastic body and smoky roasted almond notes. 95 points."
Decanter magazine, May 2014
" ...eight years of average age when bottled; it’s fragrant and perfumed, feminine and subtle, with dry flowers and a rare balance between old and young. The palate shows a much more serious wine, pungent, intense, saline, sharp and at the same time delicate, complex and long, most probably because it’s fortified to 17% at the time of bottling, something that was common in the past, but that almost nobody does anymore. A most unusual old-style Fino. Bravo! 93 points."
Luis Gutierrez, The Wine Advocate #208, 29th August 2013
" ...amber-colored and has a subtle nose of tobacco, some iodine, pollen, beeswax and hazelnuts. The medium- to full-bodied palate shows lots of concentration and acidity, with a very intense finish. 92 points."
Luis Gutierrez, The Wine Advocate #208, 29th August 2013
"DWWA Trophy winner 2012 - a reminder of how bold and pungent fino can be. Angelica, bay, baked apple aromas; dry, spicy, roasted, black pepper and black olive palate. Superb. 95/100."
Sarah Jane Evans MW, Decanter, December 2012
"Reassuringly dry with a lovely crisp bite and a savoury, wood smoke character. Green walnuts, kumquats, green olives and lemon curd with a hint of mint, lip-smacking mineral freshness and a peaty umami finish."
Decanter magazine, October 2012
"No stranger to the SWA podium, Fernando de Castilla have presented us with an incredible three Golds this year, including this distinctive fino. Practically a meal in itself, it's golden bright in colour, with a 'strong aromatic profile' and a rich, savoury, almost creamy mouthfeel. 'Beautiful nose - salty with apricots, orange peel and soft nutty notes,' said Angus Macnab, continuing: 'lovely saltiness on the palate, with gentle toasted nuts and spice'."
Sommelier Wine Awards 2012 NV
"Rey Fernando de Castilla, Antique Fino Sherry 17.5 Drink 2008 These 50cl bottles from Norwegian Jan Pettersen’s inspiring bodega have rather fetching labels designed in Britain – much more internationally appealing than most sherry labels. Very intense and nutty – appley too. Quite long... Just two butts-worth, filling 1,000 bottles, are made every year."
www.jancisrobinson.com June 2008
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