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Fernando de Castilla at Valvona and Crolla 07/11/2004 (TNB)

Jan Petterson is a brave man - Scandinavian by birth but he has worked for a long time in Spain in Sherry and related businesses, and in 1999 he took over Fernando de Castilla (particularly well-regarded for its Brandy) and merged it with a Sherry shipper Jose Bustamante. He visted Edinburgh recently to present his wines at Valvona and Crolla.

Fernando de Castilla is one of a number of small "boutique" operations springing up in Sherry, and I think that is a healthy sign rather as it has been in Burgundy and Champagne when smaller operations start contributing to the push for higher quality.

What came over to me from Jan and his wines was an interest in purity, manifesting itself in things like careful maintenmance of the Soleras and bottling without blending and without stabilising treatments that might detract from individuality.

The wines then are clear, pure and bright with well-defined flavours. I liked the Fino which was quite vinous - it would be very good with food. The Antique range - we tasted the Amontillado, Palo Cortado and Oloroso were all very good. I believe they are round about 20 years old, so not as ancient or as austerely demanding as someof the very oldest Sherries, but very much the real thing. The Palo Cortado (as so often) was probably the pick of three very good wines that were also very good examples of their respective styles.

Sherry of course remains unfashionable, which is why I feel Jan has been brave to take this on. The quality is very much in the bottle however and these wines, which are also quite nicely packaged and presented, deserve to do well.


Tasting report added to Fine Wine Diary 07/11/2004   Return to top