Some interesting, rare sherries from Gonzalez Byass

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Tried these. Really lovely and rare.

Gonzalez Byass Añada 1987
This is a Palo Cortado, and it hasn’t been in a solera – instead, it’s made from casks from a single vintage that are set aside and then bottled when they are deemed ready. It has a super-complex nose of citrus, old wood and spice. The palate shows marmalade, tangy citrus and notes of caramel, orange peel, leather and herbs. Incredible length and good acidity complete this thrilling wine. 95/100

Gonzalez Byass Dulce 1986
This is Palomino, and – unusually for Palomino – it’s sweet. Gonzalez Byass have made two vintages of this, which is vinified like a Pedro Ximenez and left to age in the cask, but this, the 1986 was more successful than the 1995.[‘Dulce’ is a legal term for sherry that means it must have at least 160 g/litre of residual sugar.] ‘It was a wine-making experiment that was dropped soon afterwards for reasons unknown and mothballed,’ says GB’s Martin Skelton. This is straight from the cask, is unfortified (11% alcohol), and is unfiltered. A raisiny, rich, toffeed nose leads to a sweet, viscous palate that’s bold and rich. This is full, intense, raisiny and bold, with a bright edge to the palate. 93/100

Gonzalez Byass Moscatel Viejissimo
This is a sample of an old Moscatel from a barrel of wine made in the early 1960s, with a view to starting a solera. It’s a blend of several years, and there are three casks in total, but since the project was halted in the mid-1960s no further wine was added to the casks. It shows amazing intensity: bold, rich, viscous and powerful with complex raisiny notes, and intense spice and Christmas cake flavours. 94/100

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Gonzalez Byass Pio X Moscatel 1903
This is a vintage Moscatel from 1903, and after 112 years only 20% of the wine is still left in the barrel. It’s unfortified, and this is the first time anyone has sampled this wine for ages. The tradition was that Gonzalez Byass laid down a cask each time there was a new Pope (there are six casks in all, most from the 19th century. This wine will probably be bottled in the future, but there are only about 40 litres left. Superconcentrated and powerful with viscous raisins, spices, treacle and Christmas cake flavours. Incredible intensity, and astonishing acidity (which has concentrated with the sweetness and flavour). Amazing length: a real wine of contemplation. 96/100

See also: visiting the Sherry region

1 comment to Some interesting, rare sherries from Gonzalez Byass

  • Nick Morgan

    My goodness, I’d love to try these. Extreme sherry is a great treat. Never forgotten the 1968 Kumeu River sherry I was able to buy a bottle of from the winery a few years ago. From the looks of the labels, these were one-off tasting bottlings? Any chance of UK imports? Not the Pio X, obviously… Thanks for your ever-fascinating discoveries! Nick

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