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Country of Origin: Spain
Location: Jerez de la Frontera
People: Estevez Family, Owners | Jose Ramón Estévez, General Manager | Eduardo Ojeda, Winemaker & Production Manager
The origins of this historic bodega date back to 1264 when Don Alfonso Valdespino was one of 24 knights responsible for expelling the Moors from Jerez. As a reward for his efforts the king gave him land grants in the city of Jerez and thus began Bodegas Valdespino. Although commercial activities are recorded as far back as 1430, the company was not registered until 1875. In 1883 the House of Valdespino became a purveyor of sherry to the Royal House of Spain and in 1932, they also became purveyors of sherry to the Royal House of Sweden.
In 1910, they trademarked “Sacristia” which is the area in the bodegas where the best casks of sherry are kept. Other bodegas now use this term, but it is only Valdespino who have the right to use it. What makes Valdespino unique? The heart of Valdespino is its vineyards. It is the only sherry house to have single vineyard wines. Macharnudo Alto Vineyard is one of the ‘grand cru’ vineyards of Jerez. It is 56.2 hectares, located 5 kilometers in the northwest of Jerez, in the middle of the region in within the famous Pago Macharnudo. It is located 135 meters high over the sea level, directed to the southeast with a 10% level. The vines are grown on albariza soil or bright white chalk.
Some Valdespino wines are still fermented the traditional way, in aged oak barrels; the norm for most houses today is stainless steel fermentation. They are also one of a few estates that take the solera system to the extreme going way beyond DO minimum regulations for all the categories. As an example fino sherry is required to have 2 criaderas (nursery levels of the solera) and the DO average tends to be 3 – Valdespino’s Fino Inocente has 10 Criaderas!
Luis Gutierrez for Wine Advocate
"I’ve often called Valdespino 'the Romanee-Conti of Jerez.' Well, there, I’ve said it. To me they represent quality and tradition at the very top of the Sherry hierarchy. The winery, soleras and brands are old, registered in 1875, but with documentation about their commercial and winegrowing activities going back to the 13th century. Their recent history starts in 1999, when Jose Estevez purchases the company from the Valdespino family. Today Valdespino is the jewel in the crown of the Grupo Estevez, which also includes Real Tesoro and La Guita, who stock and age 35,000 botas of Sherry and own 800 hectares of vineyards, 56 of which come from the Pago Macharnudo, on pure white albariza soil, one of the best vineyards in the Marco de Jerez, and 17 hectares from the heart of Macharnudo are still fermented in bota today and form the core of brands like Inocente, Tio Diego, CP or Cardenal. All the wines were carefully and slowly moved to the new facilities of the Grupo Estevez on the outskirts of Jerez, where they continue their development under the supervision of Eduardo Ojeda, technical director, winemaker, who as a wine-lover is very aware of his role preserving these old soleras, wines and traditions."
Rated Top 100 Wineries of the Year by Wine & Spirits 10/15/2015
Rated Top 100 Wineries of the Year by Wine & Spirits 11/30/2013
SFGate.com: Sherry's Great Hopes, Found at Its Fringes
The World of Fine Wine: Amontillado - A Draught from Paradise
The New York Times: Your Next Lesson - Fino Sherry
The Vine Inspiration: Valdespino and the Marcharnudo Maze
The New York Times: Sherry Sidles Out of the Drawing Room
Bodegas Valdespino Facebook