Spring has finally arrived and the long anticipated Tio Pepe En Rama 2015 Edition has hit our shelves. As you may know, at Drinkmonger we are rather fond of our sherry, and limited editions like this get us pretty excited. To find out more about sherry and why we love it, check out our Beginner Guide here.
What makes Tio Pepe En Rama so special?
En Rama, which basically means ‘off the branch’, is a local term used for sherries in their purest state. It is basically like drinking sherry directly from the barrel, unfined and unfiltered. As Antonio Flores, Gonzalez Byass’s chief winemaker put it at a recent tasting we attended, “the wine only passes through a sieve… to catch the flies”. The result is a deliciously fresh fino with so much flavour and texture that is unique every year.
Back in October Antonio painstakingly sampled each of the 600 fino cask destined to become Tio Pepe, looking for certain characteristics which would encourage the growth of the healthiest flor and in turn produce the best and richest fino to produce the following year’s En Rama. Over the winter months, Antonio carefully monitored the casks, assessing the wines until April when the 60 barrels with the healthiest flor and structure are selected to be bottled ‘En Rama’.
For this year’s selection casks were taken from two of Ganzalez Byass’s many cellars in Jerez, Robello and Constancia. The cellars of Robello are dark, humid and rich with acetaldehyde which gives the distinctive yeasty and almond like aromas that are so synonymous with fino sherry. The cellars of Constancia are cooler and less humid producing sherries with lighter more delicate flavours. When blended together the majority of the barrels came from the Constancia cellars which helped balance the richness of those from Robello.
Tio Pepe En Rama 2015 Edition – £15.95
Buy it here before it’s too late!
What’s it really like? Our tasting Notes:
If you are familiar with fino sherry the first thing you will notice is that the Tio Pepe en Rama is much darker in colour than any regular fino. This is because when wines are filtered and clarified not only are some of the flavours stripped but some of the colour as well. All the extra colour in this En Rama equals extra flavour.
Nose: Rich and powerful on the nose with lots of bready, yeasty aromas. It’s like breaking open a fresh baguette and giving it a good sniff. The acetaldehyde characteristics are very prominent; bruised apple and blanched almonds. There is also a very noticeable toasty note going on. Very nice indeed.
Palate: The first thing to notice is the texture, it’s quite grippy in the mouth with rich flavours of apple and pear skin. There is quite a biscuity thing going on, and those toast notes continue. The fruit flavours are so light and refreshing making this a joy to drink.
Overall: Antonio Flores of Gonzalez Byass has once again created a beautiful and exciting En Rama. With only 16,000 bottles released this is a wine that any sherry lover needs to try each Spring upon release. It is a wine that is so fresh and alive; it will pair perfectly with an array of food, especially shellfish and tapas.
It’s a bit of a shame that something as good as this only comes around once a year but, as they say, all good things come to those who wait.