Amontillado 51-1A (1830) VORS
The Amontillado 51-1A (called "Amontillado 51 Primero") is one of the oldest existing soleras in the Jerez district dating back to 1830. While sold as a VORS (guaranteed minimum age of 30 years) is at least twice that age, and probably older. The entire solera is compromise of 52 barrels and only 1.5% of the wine is drawn yearly from each barrel. After the dismantling by Pernod Ricard of the Allied Domecq empire in 2005, the VORS soleras were bought by Osborne and moved to El Puerto de Santa Maria, where they now form part of the bodega/museum along with other amazing soleras. These old wines have been beautifully looked after by oenologist Ignacio Lozano, despite their lack of real profitability. They could never be sold for their real value, but help give prestige to the bodega and its other products. And to Sherry in general. In case of any confusion, there are still some of these wines around in the slightly different Domecq bottles.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? Amontillado 51-1 is an icon in the Sherry district. One of the oldest and finest example of Amontillado. Solera was founded in 1830. The total Solera is composed of 52 barrels.
RATING HISTORY: 95 WA
GRAPE: 100% Palomino. Vines tended in albariza soil at 70 m (230 ft) elevation from the Macharnudo pago.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: Amontillado 51-1 pairs extremely well with Jamon Iberico, aged manchego, cheddar, Parmesan and aged Comté. Another successful match is meats that contain field or chesnut mushrooms.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: While sold as a VORS (guaranteed minimum age of 30 years) is at least twice that age, and probably older. The entire solera is compromise of 52 barrels and only 1.5% of the wine is drawn yearly from each barrel. The entire collection of barrels dates back to 1982 and is divided into 4 criaderas. The first 6-8 years of this solera is under floor and the rest remains exposed to oxygen. With time the wine becomes more concentrated loosing water and gaining in complexity.
PRODUCTION: 137 cases (3 pack)
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: Vines tended in albariza soil at 70 m (230 ft) elevation. With averages highs of 22C (72F) and lows of 13C (56F), there are nearly an impressive 3,000 hours of sunshine per year and the summers are glorious. Most of the 584mm (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: The NV Amontillado 51-1A VORS, from a solera created in 1830 has a bright amber color. Intensely aromatic, with a nose full of balsamic notes (rosemary, thyme) intermixed with some smoke, spices, noble woods and hazelnuts. The intense, complex and complete palate shows great elegance and finesse, with a bitter orange and saline finish that makes it very tasty. Extremely long. Only 600 bottles are filled each year. This bottle would last, age and improve, probably for many years. Notes by Luis Gutierrez.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold