Founded in 1792 by José Pantaleón Hidalgo, Vinícola Hidalgo is owned by the sixth successive generation of the family. Hidalgo is a modern rarity, being the last remaining family business (and almacenista, for those familiar with this term) to produce and export its own unblended, single-solera sherries.
Just as rare is Vinícola Hidalgo's total reliance on its own vineyards, 500 acres of Palomino Fino located in the great chalk pagos ("crus") of Balbaína - the closest Jerez vineyard to the sea - and Miraflores, the great Sanlúcar vineyard renowned for the pedigree of its wines. Just as significant is the privileged location of the family's Bodega San Luis - at beach-level in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where the Guadalquivir River meets the ocean. Here, the miracle of manzanilla is made possible by constant exposure to Atlantic breezes, laden with moisture and an ambient yeast/algae culture called flor. This surface-growing culture thrives year-round along Sanlúcar's southwest-facing beach-front, protecting the resting wines from exposure to the air. At the same time, flor imparts the bracing, briny smell of sea spray which is manzanilla's hallmark, reflecting its years-long maturation process within earshot of the waves.