What a great place to start our 2016 bodega adventures. Bodegas Alvear, the oldest in the Andalucia on Monday 15th May.
Patios are in bloom and it is a large and impressive place set in the heart of Montilla.
Fortunately we have a personal private tour. Inma of Bacus Travel who is well educated in the family history, the bodega itself as well as the excellent wines proves to be the perfect guide.
The depth of history of the Alvear family is fascinating and they have left quite a legacy in the region, funding community schools and museums for example.
Alvear was founded by Diego de Alvear y Escalera in 1729. The Alvear family arrived in Andalucía from Najera (La Rioja) via Córdoba. The original wine cellar and part of the house are still located in the Old Quarter of Montilla.
Still a family business, now in it’s eight generation numbering more than 50 members, they own 300 hectares of Pedro Ximenez vineyards, all located in the Sierra de Montilla countryside, renowned for producing high quality Pedro Ximenez grapes.
Their ancestors reached as far as Argentina where Diego de Alvear y Ponce de León, one of the founder’s heirs, combined wine making with a political and military career.
But let us get back to the bodega and wines.
Inma showed us around the huge bodega containing the criadera & solera casks for the Fino C.B. , Alvear’s flagship brand, C.B.
C.B. comes from Carlos Billanueva, the cellar master who was brought to Montilla from Argentina by Diego de Alvear y Ponce de León, and in the early XIX century marked the casks containing the best wines with his initials.
In late August and September some of the harvested PX grapes are dried on mats in the sun using the soleo or asoleado process. Simply put, they become raisins and as a result the sugar content is concentrated. This is something we hope to see in the flesh when we return in September.
Between the stunning surroundings and the history it is a fascinating place to visit.
At the conclusion to our highly educational tour we were fortunate enough to try 5 wines and a brandy.
Fino Capataz – 15%
More structured and complex than the Alvear C.B. which we reviewed here.
It is aged 6 years, we found it to be more creamy and yeasty on the nose and palate.
Amontillado – Carlos VII – 19%
Aged for 15 years in the solera system we found the nose was woody and nutty with hints of unsmoked pipe tobacco. On the palate there are dried fruits and zesty (orange)
Very dry powerful elegant and silky
Oloroso – Asuncion – 19%
Fruity with raisin, although dry. Notes of baked bread with a smooth long finish
We also tried the Pedro Ximenez – Cosecha 2007 at 17% and the Pedro Ximenez – Solera 1910 along with their Grand Reserva Brandy at 40% which we hope to review at a later date.
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