When we visited Perez Barqero back in March this year (read about this visit here) we did not have time to fit in a visit to one of the their sister bodegas in the Perez Barquero Group, Gracia Hermanos S.A.
Adela kindly made arrangements for Rafael Delgado, export manager to take us on a tour and explore the bodega when we returned to Montilla later in September.
We first discovered this bodega during our technical specialists course last year when we had the Solera Fina Maria del Valle en Rama Spring Saca 2016 as part of our lunch at Perez Barquero.
We reviewed a bottle of this in March this year here.
Visiting Perez Barquero is always special and that was where we met Rafael prior to our forthcoming tour of Gracia. We chatted about our future plans and ambitions for Montilla-Moriles wines in Scotland and in the UK before getting in his car and heading through the gates we had seen so many times but had never entered.
It is located across the road from the Toneleria del Sur on the Avenida del Marqués de la Vega de Armijo .
On entering the bodega, there is the familiar and welcome aroma. Rafael explained that it is an unusual building as it used to be a cotton factory and that the ventilation is different from the traditional bodega buildings in Montilla-Moriles which run north to south.
Each year, seven to eight million kilos of grapes are brought to the bodega from the 100 hectares owned by the winery, as well as from other quality producers in the region.
Traceability of every load of harvested grapes is essential. So before entering the the screw conveyor via the receiving bin the grapes are tested for their ABV , sugar content and weighed.
The modern facilities of Gracia Hermanos are equipped with pneumatic presses, cold exchangers, advanced filtering systems and air conditioning in the rearing vessels therefore modernity and tradition are combined.
The state of the art stainless steel tanks, along with the traditional collection of butts and Tinajas, is where the malolactic fermentation takes place in the lees. After then it is down to tasting to determine which will go to mature as Fino or Amontillado, and those that go to the oxidative ageing process to produce Olorosos.
After our visit we caught up with Adela back at Perez Barquero. Once again we must thank Adela and Rafael for their generous time and hospitality once again.
Gracia Hermanos S.A. was founded in 1959.
The Perez Barquero Group was started in 1985.
There are 5 000 casks at Gracia.
The average annual production is 1.5 million bottles.