** Exel note: worth noting! **
If you don't like dry Sherry (fino, manzanilla), you are unlikely to like this wine.
If you do like dry Sherry, you'll probably love this.
This wine is very dry. It's a lower-alcohol version of dry Sherry, is this, give or take. It has all the complexity of dry Sherry (all that bitter almonds hit etc), and real dry, acid bite. Great with some olives or oily fish. But, for some, it'll be just too dry and austere.
Here's our video tasting.
We've been a bit more direct/clearer still in our article on this Decanter review.
The 2018 vintage (long since all gone at producer, across the UK and at the importer by the time of publication) was awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2021 edition panel test of Spain's indigenous whites (see blue link below for the review).
Valdespino, Vina Macharnudo Alto, Cask Fermented Palomino 2019 - May 2021 Decanter review
Valdespino is one of the oldest bodegas in Jerez, with a history of Sherry production going back six centuries. Back in 1264, Alfonso Valdespino was one of 24 knights who fought against the Arabs for the city of Jerez with King Alfonso X. As a reward for his efforts, he was given the land that formed the basis of the bodega. Today Valdespino belongs to the Estevez family, who purchased the bodega in 1999. They own 750 hectares of vineyards in Jerez, including the renowned 'Macharnudo' Pago. This vineyard ownership allows Valdespino very close control over grape quality. They are one of the few bodegas to make single-vineyard Sherries and are also renowned for their VOS (Very Old Sherry) with over 20 years of ageing and VORS (Very Old Rare Sherry) with over 30 years of ageing.
Valdespino's single vineyard (Pago) Macharnudo Alto is located in the prestigious area of 'High Jerez', at 135 metres above sea level, with a south-east aspect and a 10% gradient. The white 'albariza' soil, typical of Jerez DO, comes from earth which is rich in marine fossils as the area was once covered by sea. Thanks to the high calcium carbonate, its clay composition does not split; it is soft when wet and absorbs rain like a sponge. When it dries out it forms a hard layer preventing evaporation. The reserve of moisture encourages the vine roots to develop, while also allowing access to water reserves.
2019 had higher than average rainfall throughout. Pruning began in the vineyard in December with the traditional Vara y Pulgar system. With a slightly later blooming in April, the vines were green pruned in May. The grapes were picked earlier than usual, in the middle of August. The harvest took place at night because of the high temperatures.
The grapes were hand picked at night due to the higher than average temperatures to avoid stress on the bunches. They were then transported to the vineyards in crates to be sorted by levels of ripeness. 75% of the grapes were destemmed and lightly crushed to obtain 60% of the Yema (Highest quality must). The must was then transferred to used sherry casks where fermentation took place over seven days. The wine was left on its fine lees to add complexity and structure and was then racked off in January but remained in cask until July, with it finally being transferred to stainless steel to settle before filtration and bottling in September.
This completely unique cask fermented 'Macharnudo' is pale yellow in colour with green hints. On the nose it has delicate lime, white fruit and mineral touches in the background. The palate has a delicate, round oiliness with a dry and crisp finish. It shows the character of Macharnudo at its best. This wine is everything that we love about Valdespino sherries in a single glass and truly is something special.