Exploring Sherry #15: Bodegas Hidaldo Oloroso Faraon
Back into the Sherry seat now, with a look at this wine from Bodegas Hidalgo. Every Sherry drinker (and some non-drinkers too I suspect) knows La Gitana, one of the best known Sherry brands in existence, with its instantly recognisable gypsy label. Less widely appreciated, I suspect, are the other wines in the premium range from Hidalgo. They have similar branding, but they can’t match La Gitana’s ubiquity (it accounts for 70% of Hidalgo’s production).
Bodegas Hidalgo is a long-established bodegas, having been founded in 1792 by José Pantaleón Hidalgo, who hailed from Santander in northern Spain (much closer to Rioja than to Jerez). Six generations later the business remains in his family’s hands, and his descendents have about 170 organically-managed hectares in the Balbaína and Miraflores vineyards.
La Gitana is a gypsy woman, whereas Faraon is essentially a patriarch, the male head of a family or gypsy clan. The oloroso so named comes from a solera where it is aged for seven years (at least) before bottling.
In the glass the Bodegas Hidalgo Oloroso Faraon shows a golden, toasty-caramel hue, with a faint but broad green tinge at the rim. It has a very classic nose, showing a faintly oxidised oloroso character, with a touch of dusty-dry baked earth, baked orange, dried fruits, walnut wood and clove spice. There is a rather full presence on the palate, a fairly substantial wine here, showing lots of impact but also a cutting energy to it, with plenty of tingling, peppery, spicy sensations around the edges. It feels quite polished, firm and robust rather than elegant or silky, but still a very full, warm, pleasing style, and it has length too. Overall, good. 16/20 (January 2016)