Hidalgo La Gitana, Amontillado Pasada "Pastrana" 50 year 500mL
Hidalgo La Gitana, Amontillado Pasada "Pastrana" 50 year 500mL

Hidalgo La Gitana, Amontillado Pasada "Pastrana" 50 year 500mL

Jerez, Spain MV (500mL)
Regular price$139.00

Hidalgo La Gitana, Amontillado Pasada "Pastrana" 50 year 500mL

Earlier today, with Señorio de P. Peciña’s 2011 Rioja, we highlighted the magisterial complexity only achieved through years and years of aging. Now we take that concept to truly mind-bending, moving heights. Hidalgo La Gitana’s Amontillado Pasada “Pastrana” 50 Year is one of the most remarkable wines we’ve ever offered: A single-vineyard, single-solera bottling in which the average age of the wine is over a half-century old. Typically, we try not to use over-the-top superlatives here at SommSelect, but this wine makes that impossible; little else in the world—maybe only decades-old Sauternes or Vin Jaune—approaches the endless depth on display in “Pastrana” 50 Year. This is one of those singular bottles: a marriage of craft, terroir, and incredible patience that makes for a once-in-a-lifetime vinous experience. Opportunities for surefire profundity like this don’t come around often in the wine business. Don’t pass it up!

You can’t really talk about Manzanilla Sherry without talking about Hidalgo La Gitana. The Hidalgo family is largely responsible for the popularization of this very specific Sherry classification, which is easiest to think of as a “young” Fino imbued with more salty verve thanks to being aged in the seaside town Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Indeed, the Hidalgos still use barrels that held some of the very first wines labeled as Manzanilla, barrels now approaching 200 years old. But wait, why are we talking about Manzanilla, when this 50 Year stunner is labeled “Amontillado?” Because all Amontillado Sherry begins its life as a Fino, and then the very best are given extra fortification and moved to a new solera where they age for even longer before they are released. So this exceptionally rare wine was a classic Hidalgo Manzanilla, a.k.a. a special type of Fino, before being transferred to their one of a kind solera where the wines average at least 50 years of age.

As much as the Hidalgo family has helped to define the Jérez region, they also push the boundaries of it. First, there’s the fact that the winery is now run by the eighth and ninth generation Hidalgos; practically every other Sherry house of their size and import is owned by outside investors. Their farming and wine sourcing differs from their neighbors as well. The Hidalgos own 200 hectares of vineyards, all organically farmed, that serve as the sole source of fruit for their wines. Practically every other Sherry house follows a model like that of Champagne’s, in which grapes are purchased from dozens of small growers. 

Then there’s the family’s uncommon aging protocols, for even their basic bottlings. While most Manzanilla producers release their wines with an average age of 2-3 years, the Hidalgos’ youngest wine averages around seven. For today’s wine, though, they take it to absurd heights. The base wine is entirely old-vine Palomino from the “Pastrana” vineyard (single-vineyard bottlings being yet another Sherry rarity). It’s then aged in a succession of soleras before being moved to what may be the family’s most prized possession—a solera consisting of their oldest barrels, in which the youngest wines are 50 years old. Information on just how long this solera has existed is sketchy, but it’s safe to say that some of the wines in the final blend approach 75 years of age. We’ve tasted tens of thousands of wines over the years at SommSelect, and we can count on two hands how many were as distinctive as this.

I have to invoke an Italian phrase to adequately describe Hidalgo La Gitana’s Amontillado Pasada “Pastrana” 50 Year: vino da meditazione (“meditation wine”). This is a wine to contemplate, to spend a night alone with, to savor slowly and bask in the twists and turns it takes you through. The color is a deep tawny amber. On the nose, there’s an incredible array of savory notes along with lots of deep, dried fruit: dates, dried figs, dried orange peel, seaspray, salted almonds, lacquered wood, cigar box, old leather, cocoa nib, and aged cheese rind. The most incredible thing about the palate is the sense of freshness that still runs through it, Sanlúcar’s signature salty lift still noticeable, buttressed by deep brandied fruit and roasted nuttiness. It’s palette-staining, the finish going on seemingly without end. It’s a wine to be mulled, carefully considered, turned over on one’s palate and in one’s head. It is, in short, one of the most profound wines we’re likely ever to offer here. Do not miss it.

Hidalgo La Gitana, Amontillado Pasada "Pastrana" 50 year 500mL

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