In May this year, we returned to Andalucia and met up again with Rafa and Alberto. After our highly educational visit in September last year we were delighted that to be able to spend more time with them again.
This time they took us to Bodegas Lagar el Monte in the Moriles region after a spectacular lunch at the Hotel Atalaya de La Campiña.
This bodega is one of the highest in the region and was started by Juan Ramon Lopez Fernandez in the early 20th century. The family tradition has been carried on and expanded firstly by his son Francisco Lopez Ortiz and is now continued by the 4th generation of the family led by Antonio Lopez Lopez, the current manager.
On arrival we were met by el Monte’s Venenciador Antonio Jose Arroyo and treated to a special tasting set up on a table on the floor of the bodega.
This tasting included 4 wines from the bodega, Monteverde Vino Joven Alfrutado, Fino Cebolla, Oloroso and the San Ramon P.X.
There are 1250 botas or casks stored in the one building with some of the criadera and soleras started over 100 years ago.
This was the case with the Fino Cebolla we tasted. We will post a reviews of the Fino, Oloroso and PX in the coming weeks but the Fino was a particular standout.
As whisky lovers having experienced tastings in distilleries, drinking wines in the bodegas where they are produced definitely enhances the tasting experience immeasurably.
Rafa displayed his expert cask climbing skills to obtain some wine from a 2nd criadera Amontillado cask. This was unexpected treat, as was watching Rafa and Alberto’s attempts to use a venencia.
After our fatastic tasting we moved outside to the vineyards surrounding the bodega.
Antonio explained that the albero soil, climate and altitude of the Moriles Alto, as at Lagar Blanco in the Sierra de Montilla, allow for perfect conditions for cultivation of 28 hectares of Pedro Ximenez.
Antonio explained that when the grapes are harvested they are already at 15% ABV so require no further fortification.
As if the experience had not been enough of a treat, at the end of our tour of the bodega we were presented with a selection of the wines that we had tried.
We highly recommend a visit here, the quality of the wines, the exceptional hospitality and the location and terroir of the bodega must be experienced.
This is not the last that you will hear of Bodegas Lagar el Monte from us, as this year they will be part of a very special tasting being held in Scotland, October 2015.
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