If someone asks, “what is an Amontillado”?
Amontillado is a wine with a distinctly Jerezano character even though the name originates from the nearby town of Montilla Moriles, to whose wines it is similar. In the glass, it typically displays a perfect balance between biological and oxidative ageing.
Making and ageing Amontillado
As far as González Byass amontillados are concerned, the curious transition from biological to oxidative ageing happens slowly and subtly, time being the driver of the change.
After four years ageing in oak butts and interaction with the yeasts that make up the layer of flor, Tío Pepe Fino continues its ageing process in the intermediate Viña AB solera. There, the layer of flor begins to weaken after a few years, its effect wanes and gaps begin to appear on its surface that allow oxygen through that will eventually transform the wine. This transformation happens slowly, subtly and gradually until, after 12 years ageing, the wine becomes perfectly rounded and harmonious.
Tasting notes for Amontillado
Fino amontillado is a beautiful colour: old gold with hints of copper. Rich and complex on the nose, it displays prominent notes of wood and nuts with touches of toast, along with tobacco, spices and an infinite number of subtle aromas.
The wine is salty on the palate, with a very long, flavoursome aftertaste.
According to Antonio Flores, this wine represents the beautiful balance between life and death (of the yeast).
How and when do you drink Amontillado?
There is a broad spectrum of amontillados, from the finos amontillados and amontillados finos, to old amontillados and very old amontillados – a wealth of flavours in the glass that can marry exceptionally well with all sorts of food: grilled seasonal vegetables, bowl food and hearty soups; seafood, rockfish and intensely flavoured wild tuna and also cheese, cold meats or, simply, a beautiful evening.
Because fortified wines tend to come to room temperature very quickly, we like to chill them, although that is a matter of taste…now, take you finest crystal glass and enjoy an amontillado served at 8o or 9oC.
González Byass’ amontillado par excellence is Viña AB, which has aged for at least 12 years.