One of the most exceptional of the small, independent sherry houses, Fernando de Castilla was revitalised in 1999 by Jan Pettersen - a Norwegian with a passion for top quality sherry, and 15 years' experience at Osborne. After taking over the cellars of the Sherry shipper Jose Bustamante, located next door to the main facilities of Fernando de Castilla, Jan quickly established Fernando de Castilla as masters of the production and ageing of fine, unblended, untreated Sherries. The bodega's reputation is based on the excellence of the Antique range of intensely pure and complex single solera Sherries whose award winning packaging makes them even more impressive. The Antique Palo Cortado was awarded 'Best Dry Fortified Trophy' at the Vintage_2011 New Wave Spanish Wine Awards, whilst the Antique Amontillado scooped the trophy for Dry Fortified over £10' at the Vintage_2011 Decanter World Wine Awards.
Grapes are sourced from Fernando de Castilla's partners' vineyards in the Jerez district. The soil type is Albariza. Picking takes place in early September.
The wine is made from the first pressing of grapes, this gives a light fresh style. Fermentation takes place at relatively high temperatures to reduce fruit flavour. This makes a very neutral wine which is perfect for the production of sherry. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation. In the February after harvest the wine is fortified with grape brandy up to 15%. Once at this stage the wine is then added to fill 4/5ths of the butt (600-litre casks of oak American oak) in the youngest Criadera (scale) in the Solera (a Solera is the total number of scales which can be from 3 up to 9). The wine then begins its ageing process under flor. Periodically, a portion of the wine in a barrel is moved into the next scale, using tools called the canoa (canoe) and rociador (sprinkler) to move the wine gently and avoid damaging the layer of flor in each barrel. At the end of the series only a portion of the final barrel is bottled. This process is called running the scales. Only 20% of finished wine can be removed from the Solera in one year. The ageing process of the Manzanilla Solera takes place in Sanlucar de Barrameda and the average age of the sherry is 3 years old.
Pale, straw yellow in colour. Decidedly tangy, yeasty and salty nose. Lighter, crisper and cracklier than its older sibling - Fino. The palate lures you in with soft apple and citrus flavours, then attacks with a savoury nutty tang, and finishes with a salty reminder of the fresh spray of the sea.