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Hidalgo Napoleon Amontillado Sherry (500ML)
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
"A great wine: complex and expressive, melding the deep expression of amontillado and the fresh lightness of manzanilla."-P.T.
"Glorious amber color with reddish tinges. A nose laden with vanilla, almonds, coconut and mocha. Pungent, punchy palate: firm grip, very intense. Powerfully salty but with an underlying fruit note to soften the briskness. Long and superbly complex: Sherry at its unique best." -S.E.
"Deep amber hue. Very concentrated, pungent nose of toffee and roasted nuts. Bone dry palate that is very specifically manzanilla with an underlying saltiness. Well balanced and powerful." -N.R.
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.
Known more formally as Jerez de la Frontera, Jerez is a city in Andalucía in southwest Spain and the center of the Jerez region and sherry production. Sherry is a mere English corruption of the term Jerez, while in French, Jerez is written, Xérès. Manzanilla is the freshest style of sherry, naturally derived from the seaside town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
Most sherries are dry and meant to pair alongside food but Americans have traditionally focused on the sweet ones. Sherry comes from only one place in the entire world, Andalucía, where the soil and unique seasonal changes give an unsurpassed character to its wines. The many styles change with the process of production, not really the grape, though certain styles are reserved for different grapes. The main grapes are Palomino, Pedro Ximénez and Muscat of Alexandria.
Pedro Ximénez can make some amazing sweet sherries. Cream Sherry is technically the sweetest, darkest style of Sherry, except sometimes Pedro Ximénez can be sweeter. The rest of the styles are dry and dependent on the action of flor, which are benevolent film-forming yeasts that make a floating veil on the surface of the wine and protect it from oxidation.
Fino, from Jerez, and Manzanilla, from the humid and cool coastal town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, are the lightest styles and are meant to be drunk young.
Amontillado happens when a Fino’s layer of flor fades and the wine starts to oxidize. Quite simply it is an aged Fino that has a darker color and richer palate.
When flor yeast dies unexpectedly, the result is Palo Cortado. Palo Cortado Sherries can behave like Amontillado on the palate but often show a greater balance of richness and delicacy.
Oloroso never develops flor but is oxidized for five to twenty five years and become aromatic and strong like a fine bourbon.