While we place a special emphasis on Italian wine here at Xtrawine, we also recognise that there are many great vintages that come from all corners of the globe. Many different countries have a rich and well-established heritage when it comes to making great wines, so we fell it is only right to give them the recognition that they so richly deserve as well.
Spain is one such country, and they have long had a tradition of creating truly spectacular wines, many of which you will be able to find on this very website. As such, in keeping with our theme of examining some of the best Italian winemakers, we have decided to look as a Spanish winemaker here.
With that in mind, today we will be taking an in-depth look at the Fernando de Castilla winemaker, including an examination of one of the best wines produced by the company and their influence on the Spanish winemaking industry.
Located in the historic municipality of Jerez, which is recognised as the world capital of Sherry wine, the Fernando de Castilla cellars have become one of the true treasure of the Spanish winemaking industry and have long contributed to the continued popularisation and creation of truly wonderful Sherry wines.
The company maintains a stellar collection of Sherry wines that are amongst the very finest from an area that is renowned for their creation. Their output includes wonderful light finos right through the to the creation of their unique Antique range that makes heavy use of the Sherry creation practices of old and the company has won numerous awards for the quality of the wines to come from the region.
This has allowed them to garner a reputation on both the domestic and international levels, with their wines being amongst the most popular Sherries in the entire world. Couple that with their extremely exclusive range of Sherry vinegars, which are served up to some of the world’s foremost connoisseurs, and you have a winemaker that is more than capable of living up to the reputation of the Jerez area.
Named in honour of King Ferdinand of Castile who, together with his wife Queen Isabella played an enormous part in uniting Spain and helping it to develop the empire that helped see it become one of the dominant forces in exploring the America, the name is a throwback to the era when the quality of the soil in the Jerez area was first discovered and the first ones to be produced their began to achieve a level of acclaim for their rather stunning qualities.
Though the winemaker itself enjoys a rich cultural heritage, it has actually only been in operation since 1972, making its rise to prominence against some of the older winemakers in the area all the more impressive.
First started by the Andrada-Vanderwilde family, the winemaker may well be fairly new but the family behind it has an enormous amount of experience and a high reputation in the area. In fact, the Andrada-Vanderwilde family has been involved in the production of great Sherries in the area for more than two centuries, spending much of that time cultivating the grapes that went into the creation of many of the great wines to emerge from Jerez.
With all of that experience behind them, it is perhaps no surprise that the family eventually decided to strike out on its own and created the Fernando de Castilla brand with the express aim of creating some of the finest brandies and Sherries to ever come from the region.
In just a short amount of time it is hard to argue against the rather spectacular results that have come from the company. They have managed to not only produce wines of the absolute highest quality, but have also done their part for expanding the knowledge that many wine lovers have of the wines that are produced from the Jerez region, quickly becoming one of the most recognised and respected brands in Spain in the process.
All of this experience eventually led to the creation of the stunning Pedro Ximenex range of Sherry Vinegars, which have fast become one of the most popular in the world and have come to be regarded as the best in Spain by many people who are in the wine industry.
Developed using techniques that date back to the mid-1800s, when English importers asked the top winemakers in the Jerez region to look into ways that they could regulate the Sherry wines coming from the region in an effort to ensure a consistent level of quality across the board, Sherry Vinegar is made using the solera system, which has become one of the most respected winemaking techniques of the last few centuries.
Fernando de Castilla Sherry PX Pedro Ximenez is no different, but it could be argued that it is the foremost result of this ancient technique, in which new wine is added to wine that is already held in barrels in an effort to ensure the continuity of the ‘Flor’ and to reinvigorate the wine to allow for the amazingly refreshing taste that Sherry Vinegars have become known for.
This allows for a fortification effect that drastically improves the quality of the Sherry wine. Every fall, a third of the wine is extracted from the barrels, which will generally hold no more than 550 litres, ensuring that there is space to add newer wine until the barrel is finally emptied and the process can begin anew.
In the case of the Fernando de Castilla Sherry PX Pedro Ximenez, the Pedro Ximenez is the name of the grape used in the process, which is of a dark colour originally but goes on to be integral in the creation of a truly great white wine. Featuring notes of raisins and dried figs, the wine is ideal for enjoying during a good dessert and goes particularly well with chocolate. It also makes for a wonderful aperitif, as the wine has a stunning refreshing taste that is sure to leave anybody who drinks it feeling reinvigorated after a hard day.