Alvear's 2011 Pedro Ximenez de Anada is the most amazing Pedro Ximenez I have ever tasted. It may also be one of the first to be vintage-dated. The grapes were hand-harvested in September, then allowed to dry in the sunshine until they began fermentation, which is ultimately arrested by the addition of spirits. The wine spent six months in large American oak prior to being bottled. It is an amazing effort that looks like molasses. Notes of macerated figs, chocolate and caramelized tropical fruits emerge from this full-bodied, unctuously-textured wine. While sweet, it has enough acidity to balance out its richness. This astonishing 2011 Pedro Ximenez will last as long as any reader of this newsletter.
Alvear S.A. was established by Don Diego de Alvear in 1729, and since that time has remained under control of the Alvear family. This is the oldest winery in the region and its fino is today one of the three most popular fino wines in Spain. Located in the town of Montilla, in the province of Cordoba, in the interior of Andalucia. Grapes are sourced from their own vineyards, of 307.2 acres. They also buy grapes and wines from local growers. The area is dominated by small parcels. The terrain is formed by undulating hills and slopes of a singular whitish color.
There are two basic types of soil: Albero and Arenas. Albero is a whitish, chalky soil, found on the higher ground in the Sierra de Montilla and Moriles Alto, both of which are classified as superior zones and produce finos of good, clean character. This type of soil is highly absorbent and can supply the vines with needed water during the long, dry summers. The sun bakes the surface to a hard crust, reflecting the heat and preventing the moisture from evaporating. Arenas is found in the Ruedos made up of largely sand, with some stony clay and a small proportion of limestone. The climate is Southern continental, with hot summers, reaching at times temperatures of 120°F, resulting in early harvests. The temperature drops sharply at night, cooling the fermenting musts. Winters are cold.