Oloroso Solera India (1922)
Bodegas Osborne’s Rare Collection is among the most sought-after botas in the entire Sherry Triangle. For decades, these wines were only consumed by the Osborne family on the rarest of occasions. The wines of this Rare Collection are from the Osborne's 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, have become some of the rarest finds in the Sherry Triangle. These soleras have aged extraordinarily well, and are remarkably complex and seductive due to the co-ageing of Pedro Ximénez and Palomino (now disallowed by the Consortium) more than 100 years ago. 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 Olé. These wines represent the apotheosis of sherry production – literally history in a glass. To keep the average age for the Rare designation, only 300 bottles of these singular wines are filled each year. Also of note, a very long time ago the winemaker added a small amount of Pedro Ximénez. This was a one time addition, and Pedro Ximénez has not since been added.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? This Oloroso is part of the personal stores of the Osborne family. Until very recently, it was not commercially available. It has an average of 25 years of age at bottling from two criaderas set in 1922. Only 30 botas remain in these criaderas. Miniscule amounts are bottled, and fewer every year because of the shrinking solera that feeds it.
RATING HISTORY: 90 Decanter; 95 WA
GRAPE: 80% Palomino, 20% Pedro Ximenez. Vines tended in albariza soil at 70 m (230 ft) elevation from the Balbaina pago.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: The rich, dark profile of aged dry oloroso makes it a perfect match for roasted game, as well as aged cheeses and roasted nuts.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: This wine comes from two criaderas. Only 300 bottles are filled each year. The solera was started in 1922. RS = 70 g/L
PRODUCTION: 566 bottles
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: Vines tended in albariza soil at 70 m (230 ft) elevation. With averages highs of 22 C (72 F) and lows of 13 C (56 F), there are an impressive 3,000 hours of sunshine per year and the summers are glorious. Most of the 584 mm (23 in) of annual rainfall occurs from September through December. All the vines are within the Pago Macharnudo territory, located towards the interior of Jerez. This area produces riper Palomino grapes, making them more suitable for producing Amontillado and Oloroso style wines.
TASTING NOTES: Dark mahogany in color. On the nose, dried fig, soy, black pepper, dried apple and orange, bay leaf and star anise. On the palate, round and rich, with a scintillating blend of savory and sweet flavors. Wood spices, molasses, fig, maple and honey carry through to a rich, spicy finish laden with candied fruit.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold