The last tour that I ran was on 11 March last year which is a very long time! Thankfully, I have been able to do some work in a friend’s company and have been learning Portuguese to occupy my mind. Well, there is now light at the end of the tunnel and it seems we will be able to start running tours again in 2 to 3 month’s time. In prepartion for this I have started visiting olive mills, wineries, etc. with a view to adding new alternatives to my tours.

Last Friday I paid a visit to a winery that was established just 4 years ago in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Muchada-Leclapart, a joint project between Alejandro Muchada from Cadiz and David Léclapart, a wine producer fron the Champagne area. They do not make sherries, but unfortified white wines, mainly from the Palomino grape but also some Moscatel as well. Their wines have been praised by international wine critics such as Jancis Robinson and Luis Guitierrez.

The winery owns 3 hectares of vineyards in 3 different plots which are all farmed biodynamically. The photos below are 60-year old Palomine vines. Alejandro appears in the third one.

At the winery, grapes are pressed in a winepress that was brought from the champagne area. Wines are then fermented in ceramically-lined tanks in or in 225-litre casks. The barrel-fermented wines then continue their ageing in the same casks whist the tank-fermented wines are transferred to casks as well for a 12-month ageing process. All the casks have already been used for a number of years so there is almost no oak influence. Minimal amounts are sulphur are used when the grapes arrive at the winery, but none is used when bottling the wine.

We tasted 6 different wines including a sparkling wine that is produced in small quantities and is not for sale. The wines were all superb. I have not tasted non-fortified wines from the Jerez region that are better than these. They possess complex floral and fruit aromas and have great minerality. Depedning on the vintage some had a fuller mouth feel and others were more vertical. There was also a great savoury quality to the wines.

Well, I will defintely be bringing clients to thsi winery and my tours to Sanlúcar de Barrameda as a contrast to the great fortified wines that the area produces.