Bodegas Tradición was created with the aim of giving back the value and respect to the oldest noble wines and brandy from Jerez, by means of using the traditional methods of maturation which have provided our region with a worldwide recognition for centuries.
In addition to its history, the evolution of viticulture, vinification and ageing according to changes in its surrounding environment, many other factors exist that make Sherry a unique wine in the world.
Geographic Location: The region of Jerez is situated in the province of Cadiz, in the Southeast of the Iberian Peninsula. The influence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Guadalquivir, Guadalete and Sierra de Cadiz rivers are key to understanding the uniqueness of our wines.
We must distinguish geographically two concepts: production zone and ageing zone. The former is where vines that bear fruit apt for wine production can be cultivated and they are the following areas: Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Chipiona, Chiclana, Puerto Real, Rota and Lebrija (province of Seville). The ageing zone is restricted to the city limits of Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
Even though vine cultivation is widely extended, the ageing zones are restricted to the towns of Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
Towards the end of August or beginning of September the harvest commences, it is a hot period when the grapes are to the point of full maturity and the sugar and acid content is ideal for producing Sherries. After they are picked, the grapes are taken to the lagares or pressing area to be picked-over and pressed. After the fermentation of the must into wine through the transformation of its sugar into alcohol, we have a 12 – 13% alcohol wine and it will be clarified in a tank. In this first classification of the wine in the tank, the winery foreman or capataz, together with the oenologist, will use their olfactory and gustatory skills to decide the type of ageing that each wine needs. If they find that the wine is subtle, elegant and light, it will be designated to be aged as a Fino (or Manzanilla in Sanlúcar). However, if they find that the wine has more body, is more potent and aromatic, it will be destined for ageing as an Oloroso.
Next comes a very important part of the vinification process of Sherry, the fortification. A wine is fortified by adding a wine spirit to raise the alcohol content. The origin of this practice seems to stem from former necessity to stabilize the wines so that they could withstand a long voyage, but in the present it forms a part of the legacy of knowledge that permits the characteristic ageing of Sherry.
Once the fortification process is finished, the first months of ageing begin. This is still considered part of the vinification phase in Jerez, called the sobretablas or on the planks phase, where the wine is put into barrels known as botas, or butts, in Jerez. The most widely used barrel today is the bota bodeguera, which is a 600 liter, American oak butt. Bodegas Tradición uses a 625 liter butt called the bota gorda. Contrary to other wine-making regions, new wood is not used in Sherry. Instead, the barrels must have been filled with wine from the zone for at least three years to extract all of the tannins found in the wood, etc. The older the butts are considered the best; Bodegas Tradición only uses those that are at least 40 years-old. The sobretablas phase lasts between 6 months and a year, after which a second classification will take place. In the crianza, or ageing phase, which some compare to the raising of a human being, the wines will be directed down one road or another according to their potential and with the goal to bring out their best traits.