Published on December 18th, 2013 | by Ruben1
Fernando de Castilla
Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castillo is the brainchild of the Norwegian-born Jan Pettersen. Together with a group of investors, he bought the company in 1999 and upgraded the brand to one of the most interesting of the D.O. Jerez / Xéres / Sherry.
Rey Fernando de Castilla was founded in the 1960s by Fernando Andrada-Vanderwilde, who was part of an aristocratic family involved in winemaking for over 200 years. He took over some old sherry cellars from Pedro Domecq, as well as brandy soleras from Marqués del Real Tesoro. After having operated as Fernando III, the company was renamed Fernando de Castilla in 1972. This Spanish king conquered large parts of western Andalusia and discovered the exceptional properties of the soil and climate in this region, ideal for viticulture.
Pettersen also acquired a neighbouring almacenista José Bustamente and focused entirely on high-end, complex sherries, usually single-solera. While some of them are old enough to carry a VOS or VORS label, the bodega doesn’t believe in this system. Pettersen feels that it does not accurately reflect what makes sherry so special. To confirm his disbelief, he once offered a 20 years old wine to the tasting panel of the Consejo Regulador. The panel assessed the aromatic characteristics (like they always do) and labelled the wine as VORS (30 years old). Pettersen refused it. Conclusion: an exceptional sherry isn’t necessarily very old, and a label doesn’t tell you the whole story.
Fernando de Castilla sherry range
Fernando de Castilla’s products are divided into two sections, the Classic range (roughly between 2 and 9 years old) and the premium Antique range (up to 30 years). Then there’s also a side label, Hechizo, for sweet wines.
- Fernando de Castilla Manzanilla
- Fernando de Castilla Fino, new-style, younger and fresher
- Fernando de Castilla Fino En Rama, roughly a 50:50 blend from the Classic Fino and the Antique Fino soleras and bottled en rama. Note that none of their sherries are aggressively filtered anyway.
- Fernando de Castilla Amontillado Medium
- Fernando de Castilla Cream
- Fernando de Castilla Pedro Ximénez
- Antique Fino, old-style, around 8 years old and made in the traditional way. From a solera of four criaderas, that was separated from the Classic Fino solera. It undergoes an additional fortification at bottling to 17% alcohol.
- Antique Amontillado, over 20 years old and only bottled once a year during winter time. The third criadera of its solera is fed by the Antique Fino. It was on the wine list of El Bulli.
- Antique Palo Cortado, over 30 years old
- Antique Oloroso, around 20 years old
- Antique Pedro Ximénez, also very old
- Hezhizo Moscatel
- Hechizo Pedro Ximénez
And of course an extensive range of brandies, distilled in wood-burning stills. These are first aged in new barrels of French and American oak and thereafter for long periods in barrels that have previously contained the house’s sherries. They also produce a highly regarded old sherry vinegar La Bodega.
C/ Jardinillo, 7 – 11
Jerez de la Frontera
Visits possible by appointment.