Pedro Ximenez Viejo (1905)
Bodegas Osborne’s Rare Collection is among the most sought-after botas in the entire Sherry Triangle. These wines were, for decades, only consumed by the Osborne family on the rarest of occasions – these are from their own soleras, dating back hundreds of years, and were never intended for commercial consumption. The soleras were topped up even more infrequently than the VORS soleras in the winery, and over the years, these have become some of the rarest finds in the Sherry Triangle. These Soleras have aged so well and are so remarkably complex and seductive due to the co-ageing of PX with Palomino (now disallowed by the Consortium) more than 100 years ago, which helps to balance out the astringency often found in aged dry sherries. Rather than analogizing these sherries to other VORS sherries, stylistically they are closer to a well-aged Boal Madeira. Through a long-standing relationship between Alberto Orte and the Osborne family, the Osbornes graciously agreed to share 25% of its annual saca with Ole. These wines represent the apotheosis of sherry production – literally history in a glass. To keep the average age for the Rare designation, fewer than 300 bottles of these singular wines are filled each year. The Pedro Ximenez Viejo is a true rarity, from 3 criaderas set in 1905.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? This PX sherry is part of the personal stores of the Osborne family, until very recently not made commercially available. At least 30 years average age at bottling from 3 criaderas set in 1905. Miniscule amounts are bottled, and fewer every year because of the shrinking solera that feeds it. This PX shows uncommon balance and brightness which belies its age.
RATING HISTORY: 96 WA
GRAPE: 100% Pedro Ximenez. Vines tended in albariza soil at 379 m (1,243 ft) elevation from the Montilla pago.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: Pedro Ximenez is the ultimate Spanish dessert wine, pairing well with chocolate, ice cream, dried fruit and ripe blue cheeses.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: This wine comes from 3 criaderas, averaging over 30 years in age. It is made entirely out of ancient stocks of Pedro Ximenez wine. The grapes were all raisinified on mats before tiny amounts of ultra sweet juice were pressed from them. After a few generations of ageing a miniscule amount of this essence is produced at 45% residual sugar. RS = 470 g/L
PRODUCTION: 567 bottles
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: Montilla Moriles is a semi-continental mediterranean climate with long, hot, dry summers and short winters. The mean maximum temperature is about 26C (79F) and the mean minimum temperature is about 12C (54F). There is about 2,800 to 3,000 hours of effective sunlight per annum, and rainfall is between 500 mm and 1000 mm (20 to 39 in) per annum. The vineyards of the DO are at an altitude of between 125 m and 600 mm (410 and 1969 ft) above sea level.
TASTING NOTES: Opaque ebony. On the nose, toffee, maple, molasses, balsamic, dried fig, black loam, and dark chocolate. On the palate, impressively dense and concentrated, with lasting sweetness. Chocolate, figs, balsamic vinegar, cappuccino, and toffee flavors swirl and shift on the palate, with an almost boundless finish.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold