Founded in 1821 Barbadillo's bodegas have managed over the years to maintain an accomplished level of traditional quality, being controlled entirely by the direct descendants of the original family. Famed principally for its Solear Manzanilla sherry the family produce the whole range of sherries, top drawer table wines as well as brandy and culinary vinegars. Benigno Barbadillo and Manuel LÃ³pez Barbadillo, after having spent twenty years in Mexico, settled in SanlÃºcar de Barrameda and founded Bodegas Barbadillo. They took their first steps in the art of winemaking in what is today called the â€œToroâ€ cellar, a beautiful example of popular Andalusian architecture.
Don Benigno, an entrepreneur and the symbol of what is today the Barbadillo group, left his mark with his own style of offering high quality wines, aged by wine experts to the delight of his clients and consumers.
Under his direction, wines were exported to England and America, and were marketed in different parts of Spain, especially by water routes, using the strategic geographical location of SanlÃºcar de Barrameda on the mouth of the Guadalquivir River.
It was in 1827, a watershed year for SanlÃºcar and Barbadillo, when the denomination "Manzanilla" appeared for the first time in a shipment to Philadelphia. The same year, Barbadillo launched the first bottled Manzanilla with the brand name of "Divina Pastora". Currently Barbadillo has the best-selling white wine in Spain, ("Castillo de San Diego"). After almost two centuries, Barbadillo is still a 100% family owned Spanish business.
Barbadillo owns 500 hectares of vineyards spread out over two estates, GibalbÃn and Santa LucÃa, located in the area known as Upper Jerez. The former has a winemaking plant equipped with state-of-the-art technology.
The wine cellars, scattered throughout all of Sanlucar de Barrameda and surrounding the medieval Castle of Santiago, occupy a total area of more than 75,000 square metres and have a capacity of 35,000,000 litres, making them the largest in Sanlucar de Barrameda. Today, Barbadillo is the largest manzanilla wine producer in the whole Jerez area with such notable brands as Solear and Muy Fina.
In the far South of Spain, SanlÃºcar de Barrameda shares the brilliance of its sun and it's Manzanilla. Located in the Sherry area, the Guadalquivir River meets the sea here in front of the Coto de Doñana National Park a World Heritage site. Its generous climate and the fertile soil produces a unique wine that has earned renown worldwide. Manzanilla sherry, by law, may only be matured in the bodegas of Sanlucar, many believe that the close proximity to the ocean introducers a subtle hint of saltiness.
Here are the celebrated vineyards of "Albarizas" (a porous and lime-rich soil) that are extraordinarily well-suited to the production of quality wines.
The climate is friendly, with more than 3,000 hours of sun softened by the influences of the Atlantic and a centuries-long wine and oenological tradition, that allows for a perfect maturation of the palomino grape with a high beaume degree (level of sweetness) and a moderate acidity.
The grape harvest takes place during the month of September. The palomino grapes are carefully cut and transported to the presses located in the vineyards.
The pressing process starts in a modern winemaking plant that has state-of-the-art technology. In these cellars the "criaderas" carry out a peculiar maturing process called "biological" or under "velo de flor" (a layer of flor) maturing. This is characterised by the presence of a layer of unicellular yeast (called flor) on the surface of the wine that keeps it from coming into contact with the air and therefore preventing oxidation.
The very special microclimate which the city enjoys is created by joint influences of the Guadalquivir River estuary, the Coto de Doñana National Park, the marshes and the westerly Atlantic winds. These factors are the real reason for the existence of the layer of live flor every day of the year.
Because of this, the butts are always left with a little room, creating favourable conditions for the development of the yeast which impedes the oxidation of the wine and effects a series of transformations in the wine.
The necessity of decanting the "criaderas" (renewing part of the wine with another) acquires more importance in these wines because the flor needs the supply of nutrients to survive, which means filling old butts with young wines This process is carried out by specialists during the long years that turn these wines into the famous and delicious Manzanillas.
Different wines like olorosos, amontillados, creams, muscatels, Pedro Jimenez and palos cortados are aged under this age-old maturation system that has brought such fame to Jerez's vineyards.
The fino wines are aged under a layer of flor with a period of oxidative maturing when the flor is lost during the winter and summer months.
The amontillados are manzanillas or finos that, once their maturing is complete as such, continue maturing oxidatively, for more fermentation takes place at low temperature. This allows Barbadillo to obtain the fruitiest young wines and all the qualities the geographical region gives the palomino grape.
After the young wines are slowly fermented and once the lees are removed, the new wines are classified for subsequent maturing.
SOLEAR MANZANILLA SHERRY - Versatile wine, light coloured with bone dry taste.
PRINCIPE AMONTILLADO - over 20 years old with a deep gold colour and soft taste.
OBISPO GASCON - 30 years old nutty aroma silky quality of matured Oloroso.
PALO CORTADO - powerful aromas with kind and balanced taste and 20.5 % alcohol.
CASTILLO DE SAN DIEGO - table wine made from local Palomino grapes, clean dry.
MAESTRANTE - semi-sweetish and grapey partner to Castillo.