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Rafael Balao realised that Lustau's place had to be at the forefront of quality. His ideas, combining tradition with innovation, paved the way for Lustau to become, today, "The Definitive Quality Sherry House." A collection of Almacenista Sherries, drawing on rare and marvellous wines held by the stockholders, were chosen and offered to selected customers. These wines are some of the finest Sherries made. The Lustau Solera Reserva range of fine old Sherries was created, drawing on stocks of wines held by Lustau since its beginnings as an almacenista. The tradition of the East India Solera was revived, blending rich, sweet Sherries much sought after in the 19th century and made in similar conditions to Madeira wines by maturing the casks of wine in a warm, humid environment. In 1986, stocks for a unique single vintage Sherry, Vendimia Cream, were laid down. This was first released in 1992.
In 1990, the fortunes of Emilio Lustau SA changed dramatically, when the famous El Puerto de Santa Maria Sherry and.spirits company of Luis Caballero SA, producer of Ponche Caballero, Spain's largest selling liqueur, took a major shareholding. This gave Emilio Lustau considerable and secure financial backing, and the chance to develop and expand. It also brought into the company 170 hectares of fine Albariza vineyard land at Montegilillo in the Jerez Superior region to the north of Jerez. The involvement of Luis Caballero SA in the firm of Emilio Lustau has meant that further emphasis is being placed on fine Fino Sherries. All the Sherry interests of the Caballero group are now under the Lustau banner. That includes the considerable stocks of Puerto Fino held in the bodegas at El Puerto de Santa Maria, which form the basis of Lustau Finos. Here, in the Caballero bodegas, more innovation is in progress. A unique Double Flor system of refreshing the wine just before bottling preserves the freshness of Fino in the bottle. This means that the Puerto Fino of Lustau is now one of the most reliable - and freshest - Finos on the market.
Since 1988, Lustau have used a new bottle shape for all their wines. The elegant, dark bottle, with sloping shoulders is unique to the company, setting Lustau Sherries apart from others and reflecting the very special quality of these wines.
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