The Palmas sherries from González Byass
Remarkable aged finos from this top sherry producer

At the tasting preceding the IWSC Banquet, I had a chance to try the new unfiltered Palmas sherries from Gonzalez Byass. These are just fabulous, individual, characterful wines.

Tio Pepe Fino is made from 22 different soleras (with almost 22 000 casks in all), and is usually bottled after 4 or 4.5 years. The follow on from this is the Fino Amontillado Solera, and typically for each year this solera will have 120 barrels in it: the idea here is that as the flor dies, the wine will change from being a Fino to an Amontillado.

Each year, from this solera of 120 barrels of each age, the 20 best are selected. These are tried in the cellar, and a further cut reduces them by half to the best 10. From these another level of selection reduces the lot down to 4 or 5 barrels, still with their flor. It is very rare for older barrels still to have flor: normally this would have died and the wines would have become amontillados. These are then blended and bottled without filtration for the Las Palmas wines.

A ‘palma’ is the chalk mark used by cellar masters to designate the best quality finos.

Una Palma (6 Year Old) Fino
This is from a 6 year old solera. Complex, nutty, intense and tangy with real depth of flavour and a hint of mushroom. Intensely savoury and tangy. Just beautiful, and a bargain at around £12.50 a 50 cl bottle. 94/100

Dos Palmos (8 Year Old) Fino
Complex, dry, fresh and tangy with lovely delicacy. Notes of nuts, lemons and wax, with some herby notes. Still very fresh and nutty with lovely weight and complexity. 94/100 (retail around £18 for a 50 cl bottle)

Tres Palmos (10 Year Old) Fino
Warm, complex, nutty and powerful with some cheesy notes. Tangy, intense and complex, with real intensity. Fantastic nutty depth here. Really complex and beguiling. 95/100 (£35 retail)

Cuatro Palmos Amontillado
From the best barrel in the winery, this is an old, elegant amontillado which is like a fino in personality. It has spent 47 years in the barrel. Amazingly fresh and tangy with good acidity and notes of nuts and orange peel. Tangy, nutty, complex and quite mind-blowing. 97/100 (retail around £52 per bottle)

Wines tasted 11/12  
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