At the Lustau winery in Jerez Juan Mateos welcomed us with great charm and offered us a tasting selection of no less than 17 sherries, 4 brandies and 2 exceptional vinegars…more than a royal treatment!
At the beginning I thought I would not be able to face such a demanding tasting but, after sipping the first Sherry – a savoury Manzanilla- I was seduced by its aromatic complexity and elegance that I decided I was up for the challenge ahead!
Emilio Lustau was created in 1896 by Jose Ruiz-Berdejo in Jerez, who worked his vineyards and made wines to sell to the big export houses. During the XX century the business was enlarged by his son-in-law who continued combining traditional and innovative winemaking techniques until 1990 when the winery was bought by Luis Caballero, a businessman from El Puerto de Santa Maria, passionate about Sherry.
Now, it is a small-medium-sized bodega internationally renowned in the world of Sherry because it has worked so hard to rescue and reaffirm this wine typology; considered old fashioned for most of the past 30 years.
The winery has invested to improve its range, adding new products (including unfiltered, biologically aged wine from the three different districts, Jerez, El Puerto and Sanlucar de Barrameda) and continues experimenting in many different ways.
Nowadays it has a wide range of some 35 different wines, some might consider too wide, however, this strategy works as it enables Lustau to have the right wine for the price and quality required in its various markets. It has also pioneered the idea to bottle small quantities from the almacenistas, small bodegas that produce and age wines to sell to other wineries instead of selling directly to consumers.
The Anada 1997 Rich Oloroso is produced with Palomino grapes from the vineyard of Carrascal and its uniqueness comes from being a single vintage, late bottled and abocado, meaning off-dry Sherry . The fermentation is stopped with the addition of mistela (a fortified mix) retaining residual sugar of about 170 gr/l which makes this an off-dry wine. It has then been aged in American oak for 13 years and bottled in 2010, with just 14,000 bottles released.
It displays a bright orange colour with mahogany hue. The bouquet is an explosion of aromas; orange blossom, candied orange peel, dates and raisins that twist towards a touch of honey, caramel and coffee powder and sweet tobacco. Palate is dense but not cloying, with a touch of appealing sweetness perfectly balanced by good acidity and a savoury note. Never-ending after taste of candied fruits, nuts and a sweet-and-sour note of Arabica coffee and sweet tobacco.
A perfect accompaniment to fois gras but also magnificent with original desserts; I have paired it with pistachio short crust biscuits and ginger-dark chocolate pudding with salted caramel…don’t tell me- I know your mouth is watering now!