Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla is located in the historic centre of Jerez. Its story began with the aristocratic Andrada-Vanderwilde family, who for two centuries provided grapes and wine for the production of sherry in the area. In 1972 Fernando Andrada-Vanderwilde took over some old sherry cellars and brandy soleras from a couple of local bodegas, and changed the name of the company from Fernando III to Fernando de Castilla.
In 1999 Jan Pettersen, a Norwegian with 15 years experience at Osborne, bought the company and also acquired a neighbouring almacenista, José Bustamente. He also formed a partnership with a local grape grower, to ensure consistent supply of high quality grapes, unusual for the smaller bodegas, who usually have to rely on co-operatives. He decided to focus entirely on high-end, complex sherries - in the process upgrading the bodega to one of the most intersting in Jerez.
Whilst the company also produces Sherry Vinegar, and their own range of brandies, the Sherries produced here are amonst the finest in Jerez - from the pale, dry and elegant fino to the most unique antique wines.
There are two ranges: Classic (the wines are typically between 2 and 9 years old) and the premium Antique range (aged up to 30 years). It is the excellence of the Antique range of intensely pure and complex single solera Sherries that has largely driven Fernando de Castilla's reputation as masters in the production and ageing of fine, unblended, untreated Sherries (they do not fine, clarify or aggressively filter any of their wines).
While some of them are old enough to carry a VOS or VORS label, they are not labelled as such - Jan does not believe that age statements, of themselves, indicate the quality of a wine. Tellingly, this does not diminish the standing of these Sherries in the wine world - where they are known as one of the most exceptional, multi-awarding winning, small, independent sherry houses.
Jerez was an important region for the production of vermouth (vermut) but this died out in the late 1960s. Fernando de Castilla were a registered vermut producer - so fast-forward 50 years to when it's once again popular (both in Spanish and UK bars) and they have brought Vermut back to life!
Produced from Palomimo and Pedro Ximenez grapes. The grapes are pressed and fermented in stainless steel, and then aged in barrel for around 8 years.
Marvellously mahogany in colour with rich aromas of dried fruit, nuts and herbal notes. Full-flavoured, silky and sweet with a characteristic, refreshing, yet bitter bite from the wormwood.