Region: Sanlucar de Barrameda
Vinification: Fermented in barrels
Aging: Solera for 4 years
Fining or Filtering: Unfined
Notes from the Importer: Manzanilla is a style of Fino Sherry from the town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. The unique climate of this town enables a very special flor to grow year-round and create an especially delicate Sherry reminiscent of the ocean.
The system of making Sherry wines is exclusively lthe same as for Manzanilla, and is known as “Criaderas and Soleras”. This system consists of mixing wines from different harvests, keeping the oak casks that store the wines in rows stacked on top of each other, normally in three rows (it can be more). The barrels in the first row, nearer the floor, are known as Soleras, and the barrels above this are known as criaderas (first, second and so on).
The barrels, whose capacity can be up to approximately 5ll litres, are never filled more than 2/3s, so that there is always a 1/3 empty. The system consists in extracting a 1/3 of the vintage wine for sale, that third is immediately replaced by the 1/3 of the vintage from the barrel above it, and in this way successively (second, third vintages etc), until the Bodega's last vintage with the grapes of the year. The third that is never extracted is what we call 'the mother's third', and it represents the mix of all the harvests that have passed through the wine cellar over the years.
Manzanilla is a unique wine in that it can only be made in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Its production relies entirely on the local climate and the influence of other important factors such as the “Poniente wind”, the influence of the sea, mists and humidity etc. According to the experts, the wine cellars situated in the “Barrio Bajo”, nearer the coastal waters of the Atlantic, produce better Manzanillas, maybe because of the more intense humidity.
In Sanlúcar, for the making well of Manzanilla, the system differs slightly from that of the “Criaderas and Soleras”, in that, although we mix proceeding wines from different harvests as well , we do it by means of a much larger and more dynamic process. Speaking of criaderas, we speak of classes, these being more numerous, and define the steps within the system of aging of Manzanilla in which the wines go through successive decanting, until they reach the ultimate class, in this case, Solera, from which is extracted the wine now ready to bottle and sell.