bodegas-robles-saber-de-vinos

Knowing and understanding wine

It is age which improves with wine.

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Select one of the terms from the list so as to obtain its description in the glossary.


 

 

 

Amontillado is one of the most complex and unusual wines in the world, the result of an intricate process. So esteemed by the connoisseurs and so little known to the general public.

The wine initially starts as a fino (dry) wine: biological ageing “under flower veil” (cap or “flor” of yeast), determining that the wine acquires (and then conserves) the biological character and finesse both on the nose as well as the palate. Subsequently, the “flor” (cap of yeast) dies off and the wine continues to age under an oxidative process, exposed to air, just like an oloroso. This stage is crucial in order for the wine to integrate the different aromatic compounds and the alcohol; and to gain in concentration, depth, length. Oxidative ageing is caused by the air flowing through the pores of the wood.


 

Later on, the wine is blended following a solera and criaderas (seed bed or nurseries) method.

An amber coloured wine with sharp but subtle (hazelnut flavoured) wine. Delicate and light on the palate. Its alcohol content ranges between 16-18º.

There are two schools of thought on the correct temperature of an amontillado. Some prefer cellar temperature or cooler, whilst others believe that it must be served at room temperature as this aids in its aeration.


The poets Pablo Garcia Casado and José Daniel García chatting and drinking a Montilla-Moriles Amontillado wine. The words of wine, a Ciudad Creativa (Creative City) action for the Regulatory Council of Montilla-Moriles (Utopia Festival, Córdoba, 2013).

In Bodegas Robles, it is becoming ever more evident the climate change is having a significant effect on successive harvests and as we have already commented on more than once occasion: increasingly earlier flowering and harvests, extreme weather conditions (peaks of high and low temperatures), longer drought periods followed by heavy rainfall; plant “temperature stress”; ripening acceleration and lags; risks of pests and diseases which so far did not occur.

The Cream is a generoso liqueur wine, obtained from a blend of Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez wines. A brown to dark mahogany wine and an unctuous appearance (hence its name). With a sharp Oloroso bouquet, combines sweet notes such as nuts, and toasty notes, such as nougat and caramel. Sweet and velvety texture on the palate; with a balanced sweetness, a seductive and elegant journey and a long aftertaste in which the sensation of sweetness is combined with the typical notes of an Oloroso.

Aged under flower veil (cap or “flor” of yeast), a layer of indigenous yeasts which grow on the surface of the wine, preventing its contact with oxygen. The action of yeast imbues the wine with an extraordinary aroma.

Velo de flor

wine under flower veil (cap or “flor” of yeast).

Aging method based on the oxidation of the wine. It is the ageing used in Oloroso or Pedro Ximénez wines. The wines intended for this type of ageing are fortified (wine alcohol is added), in this fashion preventing the growth of yeast and the wines therefore remaining exposed to the effects of oxidation.

Oxidative aging differs from biological ageing due to the absence of yeast (flower veil). In this process, the passage of time and the exchange of substances between the air, wine and wood, result in unique organoleptic attributes which are reminiscent of toast, vanilla, nuts, raisins …

In organic viticulture the management of biodiversity is important and to that end we use vegetation covers in the vineyard.

The vegetation cover in the vineyard will enable us to have good soil, which is essential for a good harvest. The soil must have all the nutrients necessary for plant growth and a structure to hold those plants straight and tall. Soil structure should ensure sufficient air and water to the roots of the plant, but excess water must be avoided with good drainage. The humus is quickly lost if the soil is left exposed, without any cover whatsoever.

The Robles Family's organic vineyard with vegetation cover.

The Robles Family’s organic vineyard with vegetation cover..

For the elaboration of a Fino (or dry) wine, which commences with a pale, light and very clean wine called cuvée and originates from the harvest of Pedro Ximénez grapes. The selection of the cuvée for the Fino wine is usually carried out during the first week of January after the grape harvest and according to its qualities: must have an ethanol content of approximately 15% (v/v), essential for a good growth of the veil, an acidity not exceeding 4-5 g/l (expressed as tartaric acid), must be a dry wine and free from sensory defects.

The butts (casks) are empty in the sixth part and are placed in the coldest and most humid areas of the cellar. Inside the butts (casks) the wines evolve by means of biological aging, that is, by the action of the yeast which accumulate on the wine surface forming the so called flower veil (cap of yeast). Due to this process, the wines also receive the generic name of aging wines aged under veil (cap or flor)..

The Montilla-Moriles Denomination of Origin is the only area which produces fino (dry) wines with a completely natural alcohol content, without the need to add wine alcohol.


The historian Sebastián de la Obra and the singer Rakel Winchester chatting and drinking a Montilla-Moriles Fino wine. The words of wine, a Ciudad Creativa (Creative City), action for the Regulatory Council of Montilla-Moriles (Utopia Festival, Córdoba, 2013).

For the elaboration of an Oloroso wine, which commences with a pale, light and very clean wine called cuvée and comes from the harvest of Pedro Ximénez grapes. The selection of the cuvée for the Oloroso wine is usually carried out during the first week of January after the grape harvest and according to its qualities: with more colour and more body than those selected for the elaboration of Fino (dry) and Amontillado wines. In order to prevent this cuvée from growing the flower veil (cap or “flor” of yeast), wine alcohol is added, with which the wine ages as it is exposed to oxygen (oxidative aging).

The Oloroso wine, therefore, never grows the flower veil (cap or “flor” of yeast). Instead, all the flavour comes from the interaction of wine with wood and air. The butts (casks) are completely filled and are placed in the highest areas or in those areas where heat acts on them. The wine acquires greater body and certain organoleptic attributes reminiscent of toasted and vanilla nuances. An Oloroso wine from the Montilla-Moriles area is distinguished, from those made in other areas, due to a small, sweet aroma which comes precisely from the oxidation of the Pedro Ximénez grape. However, it is dry on the palate.


 


Visual artists Beatriz Sánchez and Verónica Ruth chatting and drinking a Montilla-Moriles Oloroso wine. The words of wine, a Ciudad Creativa (Creative City), action for the Regulatory Council of Montilla-Moriles (Utopia Festival, Córdoba, 2013).

Pale Cream is a generoso liqueur wine. It is elaborated as a fino (dry) wine whose fermentation is interrupted, lowering the temperature in order for the yeasts to stop acting. By interrupting the fermentation, sugar residues remain, resulting in a semisweet wine, with the freshness characteristic of a Fino but having the sweetness of the Cream.

The romantic conception of this wine comes from where wines “happened” prior to implantation in oenological technology wineries at the service of quality and authenticity.

The Palo Cortado, at that time, used to be a Fino wine which had accidentally lost its flor (a layer of yeast on the surface of the wine) and that could no longer be protected from oxygen. At that moment, the cellar master or foreman traces a horizontal chalk line on the butt (cask), which cuts through the former vertical line (previously made to establish that the butt (cask) contained Fino (dry) wine) and making the symbol of Palo Cortado: a tracing in the shape of a cross somewhat fallen over.

The Palo Cortado is a type of Oloroso, but may have had a biological ageing stage, given that the stage is relatively short and the oxidative ageing period has been significantly higher, reason why the reminiscences of its under flower veil (cap or “flor” of yeast) stage – on the nose of a so characteristic Amontillado – are further and further than that of its vinosity and intensity as an Oloroso.

The bouquet of a Palo Cortado is that of a clean wine, similar to that of an Amontillado, whilst having the thickness associated with the Oloroso on the palate. That is, an Amontillado on the nose, an Oloroso on the palate. A bright mahogany colour wine, hazelnut flavour aroma, dry palate, balanced, elegant and very persistent

Pedro Ximénez grapes in the Villargallegos vineyard, Bodegas Robles.

Pedro Ximénez grapes in the Villargallegos vineyard, Bodegas Robles.


 

A white round grape round, delicate, fine skin, almost transparent. Found in its ideal habitat in hot, dry climates. Noteworthy for its richness in sugars, which enables Montilla-Moriles to obtain fino (dry) wines with a completely natural alcohol content, without the need to add wine alcohol.

For the elaboration of Pedro Ximénez wines, the grapes are harvested by hand in mid-August and then left lying in the sun in the drying facilities four to ten days. Which what is known as asoleo (to place in the sun) or sun drying of the grapes.

The grapes are harvested in boxes weighing no more than 15 kilograms, so as to preserve their health and then are spread out manually on the drying facilities, in order not to place the bunches on top of each other and in this fashion to accelerate the sun drying of the grape.

The absence of humidity in the atmosphere is of vital importance, given that it can produce botrytis in the grapes and all the work would be for nought.


 

Bodegas Robles is one of the few wineries that still retain its own drying facilities, an area specially reserved (due to its geographical orientation and gentle slope) for dehydration and sundrying of the grapes. Taking special care that it is a regular and uniform drying, reason why it is controlled manually, turning over the bunches every two or three days.

The extreme summer weather in the province of Cordoba, the absolute absence of humidity and the variety of grape are the reasons which make the Pedro Ximénez wine unique, which can only be elaborated in a particular denomination of origin: Montilla-Moriles.


Video included in Las lágrimas del Pedro Ximénez (“The Tears of Pedro Ximénez”), report by Alfonso Alba and Madero Cubero in Cordopolis.

En Rama or new is the wine extracted from the cellar – directly from the butt (cask) – which has not been subjected to the usual processes of clarification and filtration.

The extraction of the wine –the extraction– is carried out with great care, ensuring the minimal disruption of the “flower veil” (cap or “flor” of yeast) which grows on the surface of the wine.

The wine is in its most delicate stage, with all the colour, body and aromas which are contributed by the flower veil (cap or “flor” of yeast). For the same reason, it should be consumed in the days following its extraction.

The traditional method of ageing wines is known as the “Solera and Criaderas” method and is one of the greatest heritage of the wines of southern Spain.

This ageing method uses several rows of butts (casks). The bottom row of the butts (casks) is known as the solera (as it is near the cellar “floor”) and contains the oldest wine blends. The row immediately above is known as first criadera (seed bed or nursery) and the row above the first are the second and third criaderas (seed beds or nurseries) and so on and so on.

The wine intended for bottling is extracted from the solera. Only a small part of the contents of the butt (cask) is extracted (approximately one third a year, extracted in two sessions), so that the basic structure of the wine remains intact. This process is called extraction. Meanwhile, the solera butts (casks) are filled with wine blend from the first criadera, which in turn is topped off with the youngest wine blend of the second criadera (seed bed or nursery), and so on until the top row, which is filled with the youngest wine.

The flower veil (cap or “flor” of yeast) is a layer of yeasts which grow on the surface of the wine, preventing its contact with oxygen. The action of yeast imbues the wine with an extraordinary aroma. In order to favour the proper growth of the yeasts, the winery is maintained throughout the year under perfect conditions of temperature and humidity, completing the barrels in approximately five sixths.

Our wines are fermented using indigenous yeasts contained in the grapes themselves and grow naturally in our vineyard.

Why have we selected this grape for our young white wine? Because this variety produces wines of a very light colour and flavour halfway between acid and bitter: sour at first and slightly bitter aftertaste at the finish. That is why certain people identify the sour aromas of the grape with green apples, citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit) and including even pineapple and banana. In a certain manner, somewhat elaborate, speaking of summer in the Cordovan countryside.

The pasera (drying facility) is an area of the vineyard (especially suitable due to geographical orientation and gentle slope) where the grapes are placed for their sun drying. Taking special care that it is a regular and uniform drying, reason why it is controlled manually, turning over the brunches every two or three days.

The absence of humidity in the atmosphere is of vital importance, given that it can produce botrytis in the grapes and all the work would be for nought.

The extreme summer weather in the province of Cordoba, the absolute absence of humidity and the variety of grape are the reasons which make the Pedro Ximénez wine unique, which can only be elaborated in a particular denomination of origin: Montilla-Moriles.

Bodegas Robles is one of the few wineries that still retain its own drying facilities.

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Vineyard of the verdejo grape variety, located in Montilla, owned by the Robles family. White chalky soils which form a crust which helps retain water during the long hot summer months. In 2005 the verdejo grape variety was planted in this vineyard.

Working in this vineyard with a vegetation cover which includes short root and nitrogen-fixing indigenous wildlife species such as cloverleaf, poppies, legumes. This vegetation cover provides nutrients to the vine naturally, attracting beneficial insects which control pests, improve soil fertility and prevent erosion.

Semi continental Mediterranean climate with warm, long, dry summers and short winters. Average minimum temperature: 12.2 degrees Celsius. Average maximum temperature: 25.7 degrees Celsius. Number of hours of actual sunshine: Between 2,800 and 3,000 annually. Rainfall: Between 501 and 998 mm. (aging areas).

Vineyard of the Pedro Ximénez grape variety, owned by the Robles family. It is located between Cordoba and Malaga in the Montilla-Moriles Denomination of Origin.

“Albariza or albero” white chalky soils lands which helps retain water during the long hot summer months. Working in the vineyard with a vegetation cover which includes short root and nitrogen-fixing indigenous wildlife species such as cloverleaf, poppies, legumes. This vegetation cover provides nutrients to the vine naturally, attracting beneficial insects which control pests, improve soil fertility and prevent erosion.

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Todos los textos e imágenes de esta web están compartidos bajo licencia CC BY 3.0. Bodegas Robles. Todo nuestro esfuerzo ha sido en vino.

Ctra. Córdoba-Málaga, N-331, Km 47,5.  Apartado de Correos, 55.  CP: 14550 Montilla CÓRDOBA (ESPAÑA). + Google Map.
Telf: +34 957 650 063, Fax: +34 957 653 140. info@bodegasrobles.com
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