June 2024 Mariner's Society Wine Club


Amontillado Carlos VII

Regular Price: $35.99. Club Price: $30.59

Palo Cortado No. 7

Regular Price: $35.99. Club Price: $30.59

Oloroso Asunción

Regular Price: $33.99. Club Price: $28.89

NV PX Solera 1927

Regular Price: $41.99. Club Price: $35.69

When people think of Spain, they often picture Flamenco dancers in vibrant polka-dot dresses and daring bullfighters facing off with mighty bulls, both iconic to Andalucia, but Southern Spain is also Sherry-country. This month, the Mariner’s Club is highlighting wines that are born in the heart of Andalucia — Montilla

The Montilla-Moriles region is like a cousin to the more famous Jerez-Xérès-Sherry area. While it may not be as well-known, Montilla shares a rich winemaking tradition with Jerez. Both regions produce similar styles of wine and use many of the same production methods. Despite their similarities, Montilla has its own distinct characteristics that make it special. They are known for wines made with the Pedro Ximenez grape and proudly refer to themselves as the PXperts.

The wines from Montilla-Moriles can’t be called Sherry because the folks of the Consejo Regulador Jerez-Xeres (the organization in charge of all things sherry) reserve that name for wines from the designated Sherry area, 150 km away in Jerez. But just like Sherry, the wines are classified into Fino, Amontillado (a name that originally means “Montilla-like”), Oloroso, and the famously sweet Pedro Ximénez. This is the style that puts the region on the map, crafted from grapes that are partially sun-dried before pressing.

Without diving deep into the technicalities of sherry production, there are some fundamental differences between Montilla-Moriles and Jerez-Sherry. Fino and Amontillado wines from Montilla-Moriles mature under a layer of flor, like in  Jerez but, in Montilla-Moriles, the flor grows more slowly and stays thinner (because of the drier climate inland) creating wines with similar characteristics to those from Jerez but with more body and structure. The finos can be fruitier and slightly sweeter than those from Jerez and can age longer. Also, Montilla-Moriles wines naturally reach 15% alcohol without fortification, some people think this adds complexity to the wines, while others prefer the sharper intensity of fortified Jerez wines, finding Montilla wines to have a mellower profile.

With 63 bodegas in the region, we’re tasting wines from Bodegas Alvear. Bodegas Alvear was founded in 1729, making it the oldest winery in all of Andalucía and the oldest continuously operated family-owned winery in Spain.

Alvear Amontillado Carlos VII:  100% PX. I love this wine’s aromatics. Super fragrant bouquet of flor, hay, leather, and nuts, with hints of coffee and toffee. At first, it attacks with a tight, saline profile with bitterness and acidity, but gradually softens and evens out revealing rich nutty flavors, a hint of glycerin. Finishes with accents of mushrooms and oak.

Alvear Palo Cortado No. 7 Solera del Callejón NV: 100% PX. A “Palo Cortado” is a unique wine, bridging the gap between Fino and Amontillado styles. It has the aromatic qualities of Amontillados and the rich concentration of old Olorosos. Alvear is one of the few producers in Spain that still only produces Palo Cortados when these wines originate spontaneously. The No. 7 undergoes light fortification preserving the wine from excessive oxidation.

Alvear Oloroso Asunción: This is classic Oloroso from 100% PX. In the glass it has a burnished orange-brown tint and smells deliciously like caramel and apricot. Very intense, rich and layered with hints of coffee and walnuts, and ends with hints of chocolate and a creamy cafe latte.

Alvear PX Solera 1927: The NV Pedro Ximenez Solera 1927 is non-vintage, but it does contain grapes from 1927. It’s the Avear family 's most iconic sweet Pedro Ximénez. Super complex, unctious, figgy- raisiny with hints of black Oolong tea and molasses. First time I had this was after a well crafted meal with a powerhouse blue, the Cabrales from Asturia. The sour-salty of the cheese with the super sweet of the PX is a mind-blowing combo.

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