Alexander Jules Fino 4/65
May 2015 Bottling, 1000 Bottles Produced, Available in USA, Spain and Japan
A selection of flor yeasts as much as a barrel selection. Nine to ten years average age, from two of the most revered vineyards in Jerez, Pago Macharnudo and Pago Añina. A very pungent, mature, saline Fino.
From Camborio solera at the tiny San Francisco Javier bodega in Jerez (built in 1910, currently owned by Juan Piñero). The 65 barrels here, as is common, are dominated by the Sacchromyces beticus strain of flor, which produces higher toned flor-aromatics and has a fluffy, full layer of yeast on top of the wine. There are, however, a handful of barrels which, at random, have become
dominated by the less common Sacchromyces montulienses strain, which gives very pungent aromatics (it produces much higher levels of Fino's hallmark acetaldehyde compound), and has a greyer, patchier layer of flor on top of the wine. The Fino 4/65 is a selection of three montulienses-dominated barrels, and one beticus-dominated barrel.
It is a big Fino. Pair with charcuterie, a range of cheeses, shellfish and uni, anything salty and fried, South East Asian and Japanese cuisines. It has the intensity to stand up to heartier foods as well!
The solera was started in 1940, as something of a hobby for an aficionado named Angel Zamorano, and it was later acquired by Juan Piñero. The solera is fed from wine from Pago Macharnudo (70%) and Pago Añina (30%). Both vineyards are considered among the finest in the Marco de Jerez, each having 25 year old vines in albariza de Barajuelas soil. The solera, as is traditional in Jerez, has a system of only 3 criaderas, seeing sacas (the drawing out of wine) only once (rarely twice) per year.
Selecting this wine was a lot of fun, tasting not only with the bodega's enologist (and, if I may say so, genius of the Sherry Triangle), Ramiro Ibañez, but as well with good friends Federico Ferrer of the Cuatrogatos Wine Club (the “old man with the lantern” as he puts it, having guided me to some true gems, including Los Abandonados) and the extremely talented winemaker German Blanco, of Quinta Milú, La Perra Gorda and Casa Aurora.
For bottling, I added no sulfites to the wine, as sulfites bond with acetaldehyde (“deactivating” it perceptually), and could have had a significant effect on the wine's character. This being the case—though at 9 years average age, it is quite a stable wine—I chose a moderate .65 micron filtration, to give it a little extra protection for its journey from barrel to your glass. It was not fined or cold stabilized. I think reasonable to call this “en rama”--a term which lacks a concrete definition.
Alcohol: 15% by vol.
TA: 3.6 g/L
Acetyldehyde: 450 mg/L