Ximénez-Spínola - Pedro Ximénez, Exceptional Harvest, Spain (2019)
Bright gold colour with an intense nose, typical of the late harvest: figs, raisins and plums, mixed with lees-aged notes of pastry and oxidative notes of walnuts. Fleshy fruit on the palate with a very long finish. Medium-dry (about 20g/l of residual sugar) but with sufficient acidity to keep things fresh and lively - somewhat similar to a German Riesling Spätlese level of sweetness, balanced, but not quite the searing acidity.
Grapes are left on the vine for 21 days after the usual harvest to maximize extra ripening. It is fermented by controlling the temperature so that it can maintain residual sugar and later it is aged on its own lees with bâtonnage for 4 months in old American oak barrels.
Owned by the same family who founded the bodega in 1729, Ximénez Spínola is unusual in the area- and all its wines are made exclusively with Pedro Ximénez, not the dominant Palomino. José Antonio Zarzana represents the ninth generation and is focused on quality and exclusivity - with some of the smallest production volumes in Jerez.
The winery sources grapes from its own 20 hectares of Pedro Ximénez vineyards grown organically (albeit without official seal). About a decade ago, José Antonio decided to break with conventions and started to produce dry white vintage wines from Pedro Ximénez. He believes that this variety descends genetically from Riesling and so travelled backwards and forwards to Germany to work and learn more about vinification processes in the Rhein in order to adapt them to his native Jerez.