Marco de Jerez: a revisionist history

The family winery Luis Pérez, where he [sic: Willy Perez] produces some of the most sought-after non-fortified wines from the zone LUIS GUTIÉRREZ, The Wine Advocate

I should mention how impressed I was by the quality of the single-harvest bottlings from Williams and Humbert LUIS GUTIÉRREZ, The Wine Advocate

We recently hosted a Marco de Jerez tasting in Sydney that reframed the 'sherry triangle' but ultimately highlighted the superb wines that are presently coming from this historic region. When I say superb, I am in no way being hyperbolic. These wines and sherries are excellent. Whilst some aren’t "cheap", they really do deliver in terms of quality, complexity and sheer enjoyment. The question should not be whether to buy some, but what to cook?. Mussels with chorizo, chicken & pork bone ramen, roast chicken with ceps. All good options.

I will do my best to keep this email brief (I know we all get so many!) and not all will share my fascination for the dense history of this region, but if your interest spans beyond drinking these incredible and unique wines please call or email and I'd be happy to chat to another aficionado of Flor!

The wines of Bodegas Luis Perez & Williams & Humbert seemed to sum up the dynamism of the event extremely well.

For those aficionados of Flor familiar with the terminology you can skip this bit to the wines.

But for those interested and less familiar a few key points to preface the wine and producer stories may help paint a more complete picture:

The Palomino grape is the only constant in this story. A low alcohol, somewhat neutral variety that expresses the soils and winemaking here with great clarity.

Soil: Albariza is the local word for the white, chalk-like soil found in and around Marco de Jerez, it has long been recognised as a contributing factor to quality Fino and Manzanilla sherries. The soils vary considerably between villages with proximity from the coast and affecting winds also impacting the terroir of each vineyard.

Asoleo is the method of sun drying grapes and mostly used to produce intensely sweet wines. This is done with pedro-ximinez & moscatel in Montilla-Morilles. The method is also used with Palomino grape in Jerez, but only around six hours to slightly concentrate the grapes without imparting sweet or raisiny flavours and acheiving the higher alcohols required for fino & manzanilla styles without using a spirit to fortify your wine.

Flor is the veil of yeast which appears on 4/5 filled wine and which defines the Sherry region, specifically Fino, Palo Cortado and Amontillado styles. The size of the ullage in a barrel amongst other factors will affect the flor's influence on the wine. A higher fill will impart less flor character this allowing producers to control its intensity.

Bodegas Luis Perez - Jerez: a revisionist history
Luis Pérez founded his eponymous winery in 2002 with the belief that “Jerez must go back to the vineyard.” He is a professor of oenology and former chief winemaker of Domecq, one of Spains the largest Sherry and Brandy companies. Today the Bodegas consists of three estates ( and is run by his son Willy Perez.

Their Carrascal Estate is a single vineyard located in the East of the Jerez Zone, here they work with a specific Albariza, ‘Barajuelas’. These are a stratified marl of chalk with iron layers, stacked like a deck of cards (a Baraja). From this fruit we are offering three wines that show the Palomino grape with three different personalities - all unfortified.

The most striking thing with this bracket of wines is that they all sat in their respective pockets perfectly. Not looking like cheaper of fancier versions of the other.

Williams & Humbert ‘Paola Medina’ Vintage Sherries - A look behind the veil
William’s & Humbert aren’t small but they are responsible for producing some mind blowing, single-site and single vintage sherries. These special releases are the concept and project of technical director Paola Medina. They are traditional sherries in the sense of their classification of styles, ageing and fortification. However they've eschewed the solera system in favour of capturing the personailty of the vintage. One side effect of not blending vintages is that the alcohol content is more concentrated here. This does not impede on the overall balance.

As usual there's a very tidy 15% off these wines, not to mention a huge 25% off the mixed 4 pack of Paola Medina's awesome vintage sherries.

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