In researching Bodegas Cruz Conde as part of that review we learnt that they have something very unique in the region, a subterranean ageing cellar called “El Sotano” – “The Basement” with it’s stunning architecture.
We were intrigued and had to visit.
Carolina from Cruz Conde would be our guide and we were also accompanied by Inma from Baccus Travel.
Located in the heart of Montilla, Bodegas Cruz Conde was founded in 1902 by the Army Commandant, Mr Rafael Cruz Conde.
Our first sight is the impressive patio that includes a statue of “La Cordobesa”, the Cordovan.
A close relationship between the founder Rafael Cruz Conde and Cordovan painter, Julio Romero de Torres, lead to the artist dedicating to the winery one of his most famous paintings popularly known as La Cordobesa “The Cordovan Woman” which he painted between 1929 and 1930. From that moment on, the painting represents the company graphically as a logo and on the labels of the products.
One of the first things we found very interesting that Carolina explained was that casks in the Oloroso soleras and criaderas are outside. This is not normally the case, normally they are inside traditional bodegas at lower temperatures. The effect of this increases the speed of the oxidation process inside the casks.
The next stop on the tour was Bodega de Arcos or The Arch Cellar, where along with the casks still around the edge. It has been converted into a function room hosting celebrations including weddings and Flamenca.
The main highlight of the tour is “El Sotana” which is located directly underneath and entered by stairs in one corner of the Bodega de Arcos. Interestngly, we learnt that it was excavated in the 1930’s by manual labour. It is truly unique and one of the most atmospheric bodegas we have visited.
Carolina then took us to the Bodega de Brandy, a Centenary cellar used for aging brandy and notably their award winning Gran Bodega Cruz Conde.
As well as their range of wines, Cruz Conde have the Destilerías La Cordobesa distilling a range of spirits and liqueurs (vermouth, anisettes, brandies, rum, vodka, gins & whisky) in traditional copper stills.
Not part of their usual tour we asked if we could see the stills during our tour. This was really interesting given the number of of whisky pot stills we have seen in Scotland, Ireland & England over the years. These stills are over 70 years.
Last stop was the Sacristía or Sacristy, a special room that contains a large quantity of pictures and historical archives dating from the foundation of the winery. This is where we were joined by Marie Montel from the Export Department for a tasting through a range of their excellent wines and a vermouth.
Fino Natural Cruz Conde -15% ABV with a average age of 5 years which we found yeasty, lemony and very refreshing
Vino Oloroso Cruz Conde – 16% ABV with a minimum of 5 years oxidative ageing
Cream Solera Cruz Conde – 15 % ABV with a blend of 80% Oloroso aged 8 to 10 years with 20% PX with 10 years of ageing with a further year of ageing once blended.
Red Vermouth Cruz Conde – 15% ABV. This is Oloroso with added herbs and spices which are then filtered and bottled.
Pedro Ximénez Cruz Conde – 15% ABV with a minimum age of 5 years and 380 grams of sugar per litre.
Pedro Ximénez Solera Fundación 1902 – 16% with a minimum of 16 years of ageing and 405 grams of sugar per litre. This was full of vanilla, wood notes, coffee, chocolate and spices.
Gran Brandy Reserva Especial Solera Fundación 1902 – 40% ABV is aged for a minimum of 15 years in ex Pedro Ximénez.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Bodegas Cruz Conde and would like to thank Carolina and Maria for their generous time and hospitality and hope we can return in the near future.