Bodegas

Published on September 4th, 2014 | by Ruben

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El Maestro Sierra

maestro-sierra-logoIn 1830, José Antonio Sierra fulfilled a longtime dream to start his own bodega. As one of the top coopers who built barrels for González Byass, Sierra wanted to become more involved in the sherry business but that wasn’t an easy goal.

In the 19th Century, the sherry business was still dominated by important noble families and the idea of a barrel maker creating a house of his own was met with resistance on different levels. However he managed to realize his bodega and became one of the most respected almacenistas in the area. Old labels still depict a hunting scene, with the nobles on horses hunting the “little rabbit” El Maestro Sierra… The best wines of the house are still preserved in casks made by the master Sierra himself, and the bodega still employs a cooper to do in-house repairs.

Nowadays the bodegas are run by Doña Pilar Plá Pechovierto, whose husband was a direct descendant of Sierra’s wife, and her daughter Carmen. At first, Pechovierto continued to work as an almacenista under the name Viuda de Antonio Borrego, selling wines to bigger houses. For example she provided González Byass with Fino and Domecq with Oloroso. Later, after the demise of Domecq, they started looking for new partnerships and Lustau bought her wines, e.g. the Oloroso Reserva 1|2. In 1992, El Maestro Sierra started bottling sherry under its own brand name, assisted by capataces (cellar masters) Juan Clavijo and more recently Ana Cabestrero.

El Maestro Sierra sold its vineyards in the 1930’s and 1940’s, like so many other bodegas in Jerez. It now purchases its base wines from a local cooperative (mostly from the pago Balbaína), but they have an agreement to source grapes for the same vineyards every time.

The bodega is characterized by traditional methods (such as transferring the different stages in the soleras by hand every four months) and soleras that are maintained at a high average age. Due to the fact that the bodega was more or less silent during more than 30 years, it now possesses some of the oldest stocks of the whole Jerez region and some of the oldest soleras still in use.

 

El Maestro Sierra - sherry range

 

 

El Maestro Sierra sherry range

There is the standard El Maestro Sierra range (recently updated with minimalist white labels), but the real treasure is the collection of VORS wines. Only 400 bottles of each are released every year.

  • El Maestro Sierra Fino, around five years old
  • El Maestro Sierra Amontillado 12 Años, aged for six years under flor and then fortified to mature further in an oxidative way
  • El Maestro Sierra Oloroso 15 Años
  • El Maestro Sierra Amoroso (Medium), a blend of the Oloroso with about 10% of Pedro Ximénez, aged for another four to five years in barrel
  • El Maestro Sierra Cream, a similar blend but this time with 30% of Pedro Ximénez
  • El Maestro Sierra Pedro Ximénez, about five years old
  • Amontillado 1830 V.O.R.S., from a solera dating back to the founding of the house. It ages oxidatively for at least 50 years. This wine is still maintained in two original 2000-liter (!) butts made by Sierra himself. The butts have never been moved, emptied or cleaned.
  • Palo Cortado V.O.R.S., believed to be more than 70 years old.
  • Oloroso Viejo 1|14 V.O.R.S., with an average age of 50-60 years. The 14-butt solera is fed by 22 barrels that are in-turn fed by more criaderas containing 15-year-old Oloroso.
  • Oloroso Extraviejo 1|7 V.O.R.S., averaging at least 80 years, and probably close to 100 years
  • Pedro Ximénez Viejisimo V.O.R.S., averaging 50 years of age

El Maestro Sierra also produces a Brandy Gran Reserva of around 25 years old.

 

 

Contact

Plaza Silos, 5
Jerez de la Frontera
Tel. +34 956 342433

www.maestrosierra.com

 

Photo: lascatedralesdelvino.com

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About the Author

fell in love with sherry fifteen years ago, but switched to a higher gear in 2013 and started writing about it. Lived in Madrid for a couple of years, now back in Belgium. I also run a whisky blog over at www.whiskynotes.be



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