Valdespino Pedro Ximenez El Candado
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The origins of this historic bodega date back to 1264 when Don Alfonso Valdespino, one of 24 Knights responsible for expelling the Moors from Jerez, was rewarded for his efforts by the king, granting him land in the city of Jerez. And thus began Bodegas Valdespino! The estate was purchased most recently by Grupo Estevaz in 1999.
Today, Valdespino is unique in the world of Sherry for 3 main reasons: The vineyards, the winemaking, and the length of aging.
The heart and soul of Valdespino, of course, is its vineyards. They are the only sherry house to make a series of wines from a single vineyard, called Macharnudo Alto. This parcel is considered one of the “grand crus” of Jerez because it is located at the highest altitude and on pure Albariza soils (bright white chalk). The single-vineyard Macharnudo wines are also considered part of the Grandes Pagos de España, an elite group of very special vineyard sites throughout Spain, and Valdespino is the only sherry house with this status.
In addition, all Valdespino wines are barrel-fermented in used oak and also allowed to decide their destiny naturally (biological vs. oxidative aging)! Almost all the houses in Jerez do the fermentations in stainless steel and inoculate the Flor to produce wines of a particular style. They are also one of a few estates that take the solera system to the extreme going way beyond DO minimum regulations for all the categories. As an example Fino sherry is required to have 2 criaderas(nursery levels of the solera) and the DO average tends to be 3 – Valdespino’s Fino Inocente has 10 Criaderas! This additional aging, of course, gives the wines an additional level of complexity, texture and concentration.
When it comes to food and wine pairings – sherry has a lot to contribute. One unusual aspect in this regard is that biologically aged wines (those aged under veil of flor) possess umami. This savory/earthy taste characteristic is very pronounced in the biologically aged wines of Valdespino because of not only their natural winemaking techniques but because the wines are aged well beyond the average for their peer group.
Known for bold reds, crisp whites and distinctive sparkling and fortified wines, Spain has embraced international varieties and wine styles while continuing to place primary emphasis on its own native grapes. Though the country’s climate is diverse, it is generally hot and dry. In the center of the country lies a vast, arid plateau known as the Meseta Central, characterized by extremely hot summers and frequent drought.
Ribera del Duero is gaining ground with its single varietal Tempranillo wines, recognized for their concentration of fruit and opulence. Priorat, a sub-region of Catalonia, specializes in bold, full-bodied red blends of Garnacha (Grenache), Cariñena (Carignan), and often Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Catalonia is also home to Cava, a sparkling wine made in the traditional method but from indigenous varieties. In the cool, damp northwest region of Galicia, refreshing white Albariño and Verdejo dominate.
Sherry is a fortified wine that comes in many styles from dry to sweet. True Sherry can only be made in Andalucía, Spain where the soil and unique seasonal changes give a particular character to its wines. The process of production—not really the grape—determine the type, though certain types are reserved for certain grapes. Palomino is responsible for most dry styles; Pedro Ximénez and Muscat of Alexandria are used for blending or for sweet styles.