Meet: los Hermanos Blancos – Pepe y Paco, producers of incredible Palominos from el Marco de Jerez, some fortified and some not, variously with or without flor.

Their father, Francisco Blanco Martínez, ‘el Blanquito’ founded the business in 1980. Originally, he worked as an almacenista de mosto – he farmed his vineyards and made base wine, which was then sold to bottling houses, who fortified it to become sobretablas ready to enter their soleras.

In 1997, Blanquito’s operation was consolidated in a cellar atop the slope of Pago el Hornillo on the estuary (Trebujena) side of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Nowadays, Francisco’s sons Pepe and Paco Blanco run the project, with 28 hectares of own vines across four pagos: in Sanlúcar de Barrameda they have holdings in Pagos Callejuela and el Hornillo; while in Jerez they own parts of Pagos Macharnudo and Añina. Ramiro Ibáñez provides advisory assistance. They hold 700 botas in their bodega, about 500 of which are ageing biologically.

Callejuela became a brand in 1998 and entered the Manzanilla market in 2005, but its current face (the labels and styles we are working with) only hit the market in 2015. Callejuela is an incredibly dynamic producer, producing table wines (some with, some without flor), fortified Finos labelled as Manzanilla, and other sherry styles. Some are aged dynamically, others statically. Terroir of origin (Pago location) is as important as is that of the bodega (where the wines are yeasted and aged). The emphasis on the land results in simply better fruit – they pick at 12.5-13% potential alcohol compared to a regional norm of 10.5 (based on the bent assumption that fortification is the fix!).