The treasures of El Maestro Sierra are many.
From the back of their building, they have a clear view of the Atlantic Ocean (at El Puerto de Santa María). This unique location in Jerez is one of the keys to their terruño. Here they are exposed to the cool Poniente winds which nourish the flor, allowing it to be present all year round, giving their wines elegance. They have been buying their palomino grapes from the same suppliers for many decades and these growers are known for having some of the best parcels within Jerez Superior, mostly from the pago of Balbaína, but also from Miraflores and Trebujena.
Since the wines at El Maestro Sierra have seen little sales the stocks have remained virtually untouched for the last thirty years. The soleras at the winery are easily over 60 years old and some may be close to 100 years old. Many larger houses have pillaged their old soleras, leaving them with very little old wine, which is not the case at El Maestro Sierra.
Filtering is minimal to non-existent (done manually with a sieve to simply keep out large particles from the bottle) and no SO2 is added to the wines, so everything from Maestro Sierra is bottled en rama. Each bottle from the rare old-solera (VORS) release, which is done once a year, is hand-labeled by Ana herself. This level of artisanship and dedication to quality is unrivaled in the region, with a mere 400 (half) bottles of each released annually. In fact, all of the wines in production are aged much longer than many of their contemporaries, led by their fino, which is released en rama, spending no less than six years under flor.
Being fierce protectors of tradition, they are also one of the last bodegas still working entirely by hand, without the aid of electric pumps, which are now commonplace. Instead, Ana and her team of four “run the scales” manually with the traditional canoa, jarra, sifón, and rocíador. This traditional way of moving the wine introduces the right amount of aeration of the wines, which in turn adds to the complexity. Upholding their heritage, all coopering and barrel repair is still done in-house, with no new barrels used. By anyone’s standard in Jerez, the crown jewel of Sherry is El Maestro Sierra.