Grapes are sourced from Fernando de Castilla's partners vineyards in the Jerez district. The soil type is Albariza. Picking takes place in early September. The wine is made from the first pressing of grapes to give a light fresh style. Fermentation takes place at relatively high temperatures to reduce fruit flavour. This makes a very neutral wine which is perfect for the production of sherry. The wine then undergoes natural malolactic fermentation, converting harsh malic acid to softer lactic acid. In the February after harvest, the wine is fortified with grape brandy up to 15% abv. Once at this stage the wine is then added to the youngest Criadera in the Solera. The wine then begins its ageing process under flor, a special type of yeast. Antique Fino is carefully selected from the classic fino and is aged for a further 4 years without any movements, except for monitoring the condition of the Flor yeast. The wine is fortified again, prior to bottling and this time, to 17% Alcohol. This additional alcohol helps to protect the wine and make it more stable, allowing less wine making intervention and a more natural product. Most forms of microbiological spoilage can’t live in an environment of higher alcohol, in fact historically, just 25 years ago all Finos were at higher strength for this reason. For example, cold-stabilisation can be carried out for 24 hours at minus 0.5ºC instead of 7 days at minus 8ºC which is standard practice. Little filtration is required and the wine is bottled with its natural colour. The additional age and higher alcohol also give the Antique Fino a longer shelf life than young 15% finos. When the wine is found to have reached perfect maturity for this style (now a "Fino Pasado"), bottling commences. No more than two to three casks of this wine per year are bottled and the casks are replenished with the Classic Fino. This wine was created for a very specific group of consumers who understand that the product is not old, but just developed further than other Finos. The winemaker remarks that he thought that it was only himself and his friends in Jerez and “a few other Sherry nuts” who would even like it, but it appears that it has become a favourite in a number of top restaurants and that interest in this type of more evolved and unusual wines, is increasing.
Rich and long with greater depth and complexity than a standard Fino - as such Jan refers to this as his 'Winter' Fino! Appealing salty tang and a long citrus finish. Very fresh and pure.
This should be served cool, but not very cold. It pairs well with smoked fish, Spanish charcuterie and mature cheeses. Jan enjoys this with scallops served with herbs and garlic.