In September 2010 I visited several sherry bodegas. Here are pictures and a few notes from Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana, which is located in Sanlucar de Barrameda.
(La Gitana is their most famous brand. It's a manzanilla; similar to fino but aged in Sanlucar.)
- More humidity and less exreme temperature swings in Sanlucar
- Flor is thicker and remains year round
- Make a single-vineyard manzanilla. It may be the only single vineyard sherry
- The vineyards and grapes not nearly as important as the place where the solera is
- Sanlucar is the oldest part of the sherry region- producing wines there the longest
- Most of the casks in these bodegas over 200 years old. They hate new casks.
- Replace staves with staves from old casks bought on market
- La Gitana has 14 level solera.
- Manzanilla typically has more ciraderas (levels to the solera) than fino. Have to move it faster between levels.
- Tastes like salt spilled in the relish. Yum.
- Manzanilla can pair with asparagus- is most versatile with food
- Says you can leave an open bottle in the refrigerator 4-5 years and it will still be good
- During the peninsular war, they supplied both Napoleon and the Allies. Now have both Napoleon and Wellington brands.