Valdespino stakes a claim as the oldest Sherry bodega, and it is hard to argue with six centuries of Sherry production as evidence. The family have been involved in making Sherry for around 700 years; exactly when is not clear, the information lost in the mists of time. But in the late 13th Century, a Spanish knight, Alonso Valdespino, was granted 30 ha of vineyards by his king. From this small beginning the family established a reputation as an excellent source of the wine. The business which operates today, however, was founded as recently as 1875. The family business is located in Jerez, in some of the city’s oldest and most attractive buildings. Unsurprisingly practices here are traditional, most notable is the fermentation, which takes place in cask for the vast majority of the harvest. In addition the business encompasses the bodega Manuel de Argüeso in Sanlúcar de Barrameda which is the source of the firm’s Manzanilla.
Not even the gimmicky seal, complete with padlock, can detract from the quality found within. A great colour here, a deep, dark, golden red-brown. Dripping with rich complexity on the bouquet; molasses, treacle, smoke and vegetal axle-grease notes prevail. Unctuous palate with bags of impact, a huge, sweet, treacly style. Only moderate acidity which emphasises the treacly, cigary richness. Great length on the finish.