Notes from The Rare Wine Co.:
"In a region devoted to tradition, there is no more traditional bodega than Sherry’s most historic house, Valdespino.
Its earliest records date to the 14th century, but its origins are thought to date back to 1264, when the conquering knight Alonso Valdespino was rewarded with thirty hectares of land, including almost half of Jerez’s greatest vineyard terroir, Macharnudo.
It is Macharnudo that makes Valdespino the envy of every other sherry producer, and it is the source of most of its best wines. But it is Valdespino’s unwavering commitment to the demands and expense of traditional Jerez winemaking that makes its Sherries arguably the region’s purest and most intense. So extraordinary is the quality of Valdespino’s Sherries, and so profound their connection to terroir and tradition, that the house has been called “the Romanée-Conti of Jerez” by today’s most influential voice for Spanish wine, Luis Gutiérrez.
Valdespino’s commitment to uncompromising quality became even greater with the estate’s 1999 purchase by Grupo Estevez. Regarding Valdespino as the crown jewel in its Sherry business, the company has dipped into their deep capital reserves to strengthen the house’s old-school approach and to restore its vast stocks of old wine.
Estevez hired renowned winemaker Eduardo Ojeda to be Valdespino’s technical director. The house’s ancient bodegas were so deteriorated they were deemed unsalvageable, and Eduardo’s first task was to move the entire 25,000-barrel solera to new facilities on the north end of Jerez.
Eduardo is a great believer that the soul of a Sherry comes from the biological memory of its barrels, and he took more than three years to complete the task. To preserve the identity of the great Valdespino soleras, a team of ten coopers restored each barrel. This staunch adherence to Sherry’s ancient traditions helps explain why Valdespino is today the standard-bearer for Sherry’s potential for greatness.
For Amontillado “Tio Diego,” the wine is protected by flor for its first ten years in the solera but, as the flor begins to weaken, the wine begins to gently oxidize over an additional five years of aging. This extended aging under flor is unique and yields an Amontillado whose oxidative character is much softer and more integrated than lesser amontillados. It is a wine of soaring complexity and depth, but with a silkiness that is nearly unique in the category."