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Some wines from Gutiérrez Colosía

Definition Gutiérrez Colosía

Great almacenista sherries

History Gutiérrez Colosía

This is one of the smallest estates in the sherry DO. A family business managed by Juan-Carlos Gutiérrez, his wife Carmen Pou and their two daughters.

The family makes one of the best finos in the DO. They began their activity as "almacenistas"; their job was to age wines in their "naves de crianza" (ageing cellars), and then sell them to the big sherry brands who put them on the market.

The quality of their job was a well-kept secret amongst the big houses. But in 2000, the family decided to bottle their wines themselves.

The bodega was founded in 1838, but the Gutiérrez Colosía family has owned it since the 1920's. The new generation, Juan-Carlos and Carmen, has been at the wheel since 1966.

Varieties

The region’s most important grape is Palomino. It is not a very interesting variety, on the whole, except here where it acquires a totally other dimension with the solera ageing system. The “flor de velo” (a veil of yeast) gives fino its complex and extraordinary range of aromas.

The sweet wines of the region are made with other grapes: Muscat and Pedro Ximenez – this latter is mainly “imported” from nearby Montilla-Moriles.

Terroir

The vines of Gutiérrez Colosía are planted mainly on typical, almost blinding white albariza soils, in the zone of Jerez Superior (Balbaina Alta, Balbaina Baja and Los Tercios). Albariza is more than 60% limestone, or calcium carbonate, inherited from the Oligocene (between 33 and 23 million years ago), a period when the whole region was under water. When it rains, this soil becomes a sort of thick paste; but when the sun shines, it becomes a smooth crust, which reflects the light, retains the humidity and protects the vines.

Apart from albariza, there are also the «barros» (clayish areas) and the «arenas» (sandy soils); but grapes coming from theses areas are mainly used for making oloroso.

The geography and the climate conditions are unique: nowhere else can a wine be made in such a way. Vineyards are close to the sea and in summer, when the temperature is approaching 40°C, la «marera», the sea wind blows on the vines and bring them coolness and humidity. This wind comes from the eastern Mediterranean (it is then called “El Levante”) or from the west, the Atlantic (it is then called «El Poniente»). Both play an important role in the microclimate enabling the flor to develop in the casks.

At Gutiérrez Colosía, these conditions are really unique: their cellar is the only one whose «naves de crianza» are located on the banks of the Guadalete river and thus benefits by it to the maximum. It is also the estate that has the best natural maturation process.

Winemaking

The "crianza" or ageing is crucial for sherry wines. All types are aged according to the solera system: several layers of casks are piled upon one another. The casks are not full, so that there remains some space for the flor to flourish, in the case of fino. Only part of the content of the lower layer (on the soil) is bottled. The same amount of wine is taken out of the casks located on the upper layer to replace the volume of wine that has been bottled, and then the same goes for each layer.

This is a very sophisticated way of blending. A solera includes a minimum of three different vintages. In the range of Gutiérrez Colosía, they chose the 3 year-old solera. Because the younger finos are always fruitier and fresher.

Ageing under veil, or flor, for the fino type wines, is often described as “biological”.

The other wines are submitted to oxidative ageing in barrels, without flor. This is the case of the oloroso. Amontillado starts like a fino, but the rest of the ageing goes on in an oxidative manner. The rarest type of wine is the Palo Cortado. At Gutiérrez Colosía, it is at least 50 years old. Il belongs to the Solera Familiar, which presents only wines of 50 years or more. It also includes an Amontillado and an Oloroso.

The sweet Moscatel is made from grapes dried on carpets in the sun, so that they become like raisins. The wine is also aged in a solera.

Gutiérrez Colosía - Spanish wines
Gutiérrez Colosía - Spanish wines
Gutiérrez Colosía - Spanish wines
Gutiérrez Colosía - Spanish wines
Gutiérrez Colosía - Spanish wines

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