Bodegas Ximénez Spínola, PX Solera 1918, Jerez, Spain
There are not many wineries that can claim to plant only one varietal, let alone one that could easily be seen as being out of fashion, but that is precisely what Bodegas Ximénez-Spínola have done since 1729.
Working solely with Pedro Ximénez to produce a selection of still wine, dessert wine, sherry and vinegar. Doing so, for so long, has made them masters of their trade and the wines they produce are simply magnificent.
Once cut, the grapes spend no less than 21 days exposed to the sun, which dehydrates them slowly and progressively, concentrating the sugars and providing an elegant natural sweetness. Since the “sun-drying" causes the grapes to dehydrate, for every ton of fresh grapes only 300 kg of raisined grapes are obtained, which generates about 100 kg of waste (skin, stalks, seeds) and 200 litres of must.
It is aged in the family Solera from a blend of musts since 1918. Clarified by decanting from the barrel into the bottle through a soft cellulose filter. For its quality and scarcity, it is consider a "cult wine". The winery releases less than half of the annual quota assigned by the Regulatory Council.
Solera system since 1918
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: None
An intense mahogany colour, intense raisin aromas and notes of roasted coffee and black chocolate. The palate is dominated by the raisined grapes with hints of dried fig. The concentrated fruit is perfectly assembled with the delicate roasted wood notes leaving an almost endless aftertaste and a hard to forget experience
Being intensely sweet this needs just as intense flavours in the food and works best with desserts such as cardamom rice pudding with honey and cumin glazed figs.
Jancis Robinson 17.5 Points
Deep golden brown. Saturated raisins, rich and sultry. Nutty caramel intensity. Endlessly long. Not quite as viscous as the 2014 but still rich and thick. This has much more dark-toffee and dried-fruit intensity and is more complex, with darker savoury notes on the finish even though it is intensely sweet. Gorgeous burnt caramel aftertaste and still a note of bitter orange. Gloriously hedonistic. 15%, 17.5 Points, JH, April 2017.
Pedro Ximénez 100%
3 x 75cl