After a long break, Sherry returns to Winedoctor, with the Fino Una Palma from Gonzalez Byass.
First of all, a little background on Gonzalez Byass; this household name has its origins in 1835 when Manuel María González purchased a bodega in Jerez. Although he initially only traded in wine, before long he had also purchased some vines, and he began to harvest his own grapes. A few years later, in 1849, he created his fist brand, none other than Tio Pepe. The business went from strength to strength and in 1855 he built a new bodega, before he went into association with his British representative Robert Blake Byass. Gonzalez Byass was born.
Gonzelaz Byass has long been at the forefront of innovation in the Sherry business, and the Palmas range of wines are a good example of this open-minded, forward-thinking approach. The wines start off in casks earmarked for Tio Pepe, where they develop the characteristic coating of flor. Each year wines from these casks, which are held across several bodegas, will be blended to create the Tio Pepe blend in a consistent house style. In recent years, however, the Gonzalez Byass blender Antonio Flores has taken individual casks and aged them further, bottling them in small volumes. This wine is the 2016 release, which he blended along with Gérard Basset MW MS. From one-hundred casks holding six-year old wines they selected just three, numbers 14, 24 and 103, for the Una Palma. These three still had a good layer of flor, protecting the wine, which was blended and bottled without filtration or clarification.
In the glass the 2016 release of the Gonzalez Byass Fino Una Palma shows a fairly pale gold hue (especially compared to the other wines in the Palmas range). The nose is quite intense, with a very strongly defined flor character, along with the scents of dried orchard fruits and almonds. This character comes through on the palate as well, the fruits swirled with flor, nuts, salt and bitter fruit pith, quite challenging in style, very dry and bright, a feeling reinforced by the wine’s vibrant acidity and long, lingering finish. It has 15.5% alcohol, 4.47 g/l total acidity and a pH of 3.13, which helps to explain is firm, stridently fresh character. A culminates in a confident yet bitter finish. Overall, this is quite charming. 16/20 • 92/100 (May 2017)