Bodegas Barbadillo La Pastora - fino sherry at Trader Joe's
Anyone familiar with this fino sherry? I picked up a bottle today at the local Trader Joe's at the same price point as their usual Real Tesoro finos ($4.99). 17% ABV, imported by Latitude Wines, slicker-looking label than the rest of Barbadillo's sherries. Couldn't find much info at all about it on Barbadillo's website or other sources, so I'm mainly wondering if I have myself:
a) a really good wine that Barbadillo had a surplus of in Spain, so they're selling off a lot of it cheap (and possibly relabeled) in TJs;
b) part of a batch that turned out to be of worse quality than Barbadillo intended, so they're dumping it (possibly relabeled) on the silly Americans who don't know any better;
c) something in between a) and b), like a new wine that Barbadillo just started making but nobody knows about yet.
Also, the bottle is labeled as a fino sherry but Barbadillo is headquartered in Sanlucar de Barrameda - does that mean what I bought is actually a manzanilla?
Bought this because my regular sherry was unavailable. Figured, hey, real sherry from Spain! This will be great! Ha! Dry, astringent, harsh. Tastes like paint thinner or nail polish remover, downright painful to drink. I don't dare even use it to cook with. Revolting stuff. Avoid it!
I've actually been to San Lucar de Barrameda in Spain (Andalucia region), and this brand is not new... they've been around for over 200 years as a regional producer and have seemed to enjoy a bit of an upsurge with the interest in Spanish wines in the last decade. The larger town in the area, Jerez de la Frontera is the actual home/originator of "sherry" - wikipedia actually has a great page on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherry
Wish I had a Trader Joe's closer... I drank a lot of this wine in my time living in Spain, and have missed it!
It is very common for Sherry Bodegas to bottle for private companies under private labels. This is done more in the European markets than here in the US, but it's done. When they do that the price for the same quality product is much less because there is no money going to marketing. I've tried these wines and they are quite good, especially for the price. As to the Alcohol, fino's can range from 15% (the lowest permitted by the Consejo Regulador) to 17 or 18%. Very often the extra alcohol is to ensure that the delicate wines travel well. As to Sanlucar vs. Jerez, the folks from Sanlucar can make both Fino and Manzanilla but they can only make Fino in Jerez.
I bought the Pastora sweet sherry along with the Real Tesoro amontillado and found the Pastora to be better, surprisingly full bodied raisiny for a bottle at that price with a nice mild burn in the finish. It was like a mild Pedro Ximenez. I thought it was better than Harveys, to be honest, and like it enough that I am gonna go stock up on it tomorrow and buy a case..
at 5$ I'd buy it, and if it's good, I'd go back and buy some more, if it,s bad, I'd go back and tell the staff that it's a bad sherry and buy something else.
I would think Fino (and Manzanilla) are both AOC (or whatever the spanish equivalent) and that if a Fino is a fino and the Manzanilla is a Mananilla; even if the producer is in Sanlucar.
Cracked it open last night. It's not bad but you have to drink it cold. I think I'm just unused to this style (went to Jerez last year for a few days, but didn't try all that many wines outside of the tour at the Sandeman bodega). The alcohol is a little more obvious in this sherry than I'd like and I didn't get much subtlety, but I guess I'll try a few more finos before passing judgment on this one.
Fino Sherry is traditionally fortified to 15% ABV. US label law require such fino to be labeled "Light Sherry Wine." Many producers prefer to drop the "Light" designation in the US market by fortifying it higher. This practice invariably alters the balance for such delicate Sherries as fino and manzanilla.