Palo Cortado - 20+ Years Old Solera
Historically shrouded in mystery due to the unpredictability of winemaking in the past, there were many subtle differences from cask to cask. Palo Cortados are made by careful selection of the finest Palomino musts. Initially fortified to 15% like a Fino or Manzanilla, to favour the growth of flor, however, after only spending time in the top tier of the Solera system, they are selected for their delicate properties, and fortified to 17% to continue on with oxidative ageing. Like an Amontillado, but pulled out of the biological ageing process much sooner, so also displaying properties of an Oloroso.
If there's a higher power, then Fernández-Gao's Palo Cortado would be their drink of choice. Like drinking liquid gold, this mix of sweetly toasted aromas with indulgent flavours will put you on a higher plane of existence. Dry notes of nougat, roasted nuts, vanilla.
This Palo Cortado is aged over 25 years in a 80+ year-old family solera system! This means that in any bottle of Fernández-Gao's Palo Cortado there could be traces of wine that is 80+ years old.
Palo Cortados derive their name from the markings made on the casks in the bodega (cellar) by the capataz (cellar master). Palo translates to stick, and is the slanted line drawn with chalk on all sherry casks destined for biological ageing. Once it is decided that a particular cask has the right properties to become a Palo Cortado, they draw a horizontal slash through the stick, cutting it (cortado means cut). At this point the wine is fortified to 17%. The language of chalk markings on sherry barrels is a fascinating topic in itself!
Annual Production: 2500 bottles (ALBAE Wine Club has access to a limited number of 200 annually)
Type: Palo Cortado
Finish: Smooth & Very Long
Grape Variety: 100% Palomino fino
Ageing: 25+ years, from a very old Family Solera, with over 80 years
Winemaker (and Cellar Master): Juan Carlos Sánchez Gago
Bodega: Fernández-Gao 1750
Region: Andalucía, province of Cadiz, Jerez de la Frontera
Designation of Origin (DOC): Jerez & Manzanilla de Sanlucar
Micro-Climate: Atlantic / Mediterranean; mild and humid
Elevation of the Bodega: 60 meters above sea level
Age of Vines: Between 40 and 60 years old
Soil: Albariza; calcareous
Viticulture / Farming: Traditional
- Drink now or keep for up to 15 years
- Palo Cortado (as well as Amontillado and Oloroso wines) can be kept open with an optimal flavour profile for about a month, but you can stretch that all the way to a year with some complexity lost. The natural T-cork is standard in all Palo Cortado bottles.
- Pairs with Ibérico ham, Manchego and other sheep and goat cheese, Paté, Tapas or Spreads, Toasted almonds, Cold cuts, Blue fish or Meat stews.
- Ideal at 14 / 15 Celsius or at room temperature
More info to come
Palo Cortados are made by careful selection of the finest Palomino musts. Initially fortified to 15% like a Fino or Manzanilla, to favour the growth of flor, however, after only spending time in the top tier of the Solera system, they are selected for their delicate properties, and fortified further to kill off the flor and to continue on with oxidative ageing. Like an Amontillado, but pulled out of the biological ageing process much sooner, so also displaying properties of an Oloroso.
More info to come
93 Points - Wine Advocate (Robert Parker)
94 Points - Guía Peñín