The history of XC Palo Cortado “de ida y vuelta”

González Byass introduces the 1990 vintage XC Palo Cortado, in tribute to the five hundredth anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the globe by Magallanes-Elcano and to mark a return to the old tradition of “There and Back” Jerez wines.

Mauricio González-Gordon, President of González Byass

González Byass is delighted to introduce the 1990 vintage XC Palo Cortado, in tribute to the five hundredth anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the globe by Magallanes-Elcano and to mark a return to the old tradition of “There and Back” Jerez wines.
Our wine sailed on board the “Juan Sebastian de Elcano” training ship in two half-butts, on a round trip that set off from Cádiz on 11th February 2018 and docked back at the same port on 11th August the same year.
Once the ‘There and Back’ wine had returned to the winery after its voyage, it was bottled. The entire amount yielded 600 bottles. With the bottle, you will find a copy of the ‘Delivery Manifest’ that certifies that the wine was loaded on to the ship and delivered at its destination, the letter below from our President Mauricio González-Gordon as well as Winemaker’s Notes from Master Blender Antonio Flores.

We would like to express our recognition and gratitude to the Spanish Navy for their kindness in allowing the tradition of ‘There and Back’ wines to be revived, with special thanks to the Captain of the “Juan Sebastian de Elcano” for his generous assistance in facilitating the fulfilment of our project.

Comments by Antonio Flores

XC Palo Cortado 1990 Vintage

When we set ourselves the challenge of choosing a wine fit for a sea voyage, we selected one of the Palos Cortados set aside for developing into a vintage wine, one that would still have enough potential for ageing without losing any of the organoleptic properties that are intrinsic to Palo Cortado. 1990 was extraordinarily dry and very hot, with an average temperature of 19.6oC and a scant 341L/m2 of rain falling over the year. The harvest was short and the grapes healthy and high quality. This particular Palo Cortado was made from must obtained from the free run juice and was aged in American oak butts made in Jerez. Amber with golden highlights and medium intensity tears, this wine is clear and bright. Heady on the nose, it displays prominent aromas of nuts – almonds and hazelnuts – and dried apricots. Intense yet subtle, it also displays hints of oxidation and a light liquorice note on the finish. The wine is dry and concentrated on the palate, with the tannins that developed as it aged evident in amongst flavours of nuts and notes of toast. The aftertaste is long, with both bitter and sweet notes. In summary, this is a balanced wine that has the potential to get even better.

Antonio Flores selecciona el Palo Cortado XC

Antonio Flores selects the Palo Cortado XC

“There and Back” XC Palo Cortado

When the “Juan Sebastián de Elcano” training ship returned to Cádiz from its voyage on 11th August 2018, there was a mystery to resolve: would the sea, the extreme weather conditions the changes of latitude and the movement of the sea have had any positive effects on our wine?.


The answer became apparent the moment the butts, which had spent six months at sea, below decks, one on the port side and the other on the starboard side of the ship, were opened. The Palo Cortado in our glasses was deep amber and persimmon coloured with glints of old gold, a greenish rim and orangey background. It was clear that the wine had risen several notches up the ladder of time and ageing, delivering a genuine scent of Jerez on the nose. Now the wine displayed a whole range of aromas including cedar, carob and nuts in an otherworldly combination reminiscent of both a winery’s special reserve cellar and a perfume shop.  

Rich and velvety on the palate, this wine is amazingly well-balanced, a Palo Cortado that was enriched by every phase of its voyage and returned as a treasure imbued with topaz, amber resin, Inca sunshine, clove, vanilla, the star-studded sky, the southern cross, sea foam, strong winds and salt. “There and Back” XC Palo Cortado pays tribute to the old saying “Mareado el buen vino de Jerez, si valía cinco, vale diez” (“Seasick – or rather, given that this is a play on the word ‘mareado’, ‘put to sea’ – the good wine of Jerez, once worth five is now worth ten”.

Antonio Flores, Master Blender González Byass


XC Palo Cortado “de ida y vuelta” is presented in a case that also contains a sample of 200 ml. of the same wine before traveling to facilitate comparison.

González Byass acknowledges and appreciates the kindness of the Spanish Armada in allowing the tradition of the “Ida y Vuelta” wines to recover.

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