Amontillado Solera AOS (1903)
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. 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, only 300 bottles of these singular wines are filled each year. The Amontillado AOS refers to “Antonio Osborne Solera,” the son of Tomas Osborne Guezala, the 2nd Conde de Osborne. The solera was set to celebrate Antonio’s birth in 1903, and not run until his 21st birthday.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? This Amontillado is part of the personal stores of the Osborne family, until very recently not made commercially available. 25 years average age at bottling from 3 different criaderas. Miniscule amounts are bottled, and fewer every year because of the shrinking solera that feeds it.
RATING HISTORY: 97 WA
GRAPE: 100% Palomino. Vines tended in Albariza soil at 70 m (230 ft) elevation from the Balbaina pago.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: The salinity and rich, savory profile of this wine makes it a perfect pair with jamon, nuts, and aged cheeses such as Manchego.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: 25 years of age at bottling (average) from 3 criaderas founded in 1903
PRODUCTION: 541 bottles
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: A bright, dark mahogany-colored wine, it originates from a solera created in 1903 and averages 25 years of age. The complex nose is one of a kind, with strong aromatics, rosemary and thyme covering the roasted hazelnuts, bitter oranges, noble woods and curry. The medium- to full-bodied palate shows a very spicy, smoky wine with hints of coffee, layered, intense, more subtle than in your face and very complex.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold