What's New in November

Sacristías: unveiling the untold secret of Sherry

Sacristías are remarkable old wines that display a reflection of the historical tradition that is at the essence of Sherry. The histories of how these wines came to be are fascinating. Many almacenistas have in their possession old stocks that remain unsold; the bodegas call these wines their sacristías. The name refers to the "sacred," heirloom stocks of the bodega. These sacristías are the inheritance of the winery as they are passed through the generations. Small amounts of these wines are sometimes sold, but typically they are for consumption at special family events and are never commercially available.

Over ten years ago I ran into such wines for the first time. I will never forget the moment I walked into El Maestro Sierra and Doña Pilar took me by the hand and led me straight to the two barrels of Amontillado from the bodega’s original 1830 solera. It was an emotional moment for me because I realized that I was tasting one of the greatest wines in the world.

Something similar occurred several years later when tasting botas at La Cigarrera. Ignacio Hidalgo led me to a dark corner of the winery where he presented me with a nectar of a Sherry of undetermined age. I had before me a Manzanilla Pasada of great magnitude. It turned out that this was from his father's personal barrels that had never been sold. After tasting these wines I realized there were many more treasures within the bodega. One of those unearthed treasures was a barrel of Amontillado that belonged to Ignacio's grandmother.

The latest discovery I have made was at César Florido's bodega. César had been reorganizing his family’s bodega for several years. One day he proudly led me to another one of those dark corners where he unveiled some very special barrels of a rare Palo Cortado. Knowing my obsession for these rare wines, he proposed to bottle these barrels solely for the US market. I was honored by his generosity.

I continue to be amazed by the generosity and spirit of this region. These wines are the incredible stories that Sherry tells and I hope they find a special place in your heart as they have in mine.

-André Tamers