The SOMM Journal

June / July 2015

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Page 36 of 100

36 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } JUNE/JULY 2015 { spain } IN EUROPE, SHERRY IS SIPPED PROPERLY CHILLED AT all times of the day and night and for all sorts of reasons. During one of my trips to Jerez, Spain it seemed as if every restaurant and patio café sported bottles of Tio Pepe Fino in buckets of ice. Cool, crisp, with notes of cucumbers and lemon and a slight spicy bite in the finish, small wonder Tio Pepe (a flagship product of González Byass and named after the founder's uncle) is the best-selling Sherry in the world, even in the U.S., where it reigns supreme within a limited category. That category is about to expand dramatically, thanks to Mauricio González-Gordon, fifth generation of the founding family and Chairman of González Byass, which is still fam - ily-owned. In fact, González Byass and its wholly-owned U.S. import subsidiary, Vin Divino, are getting ready to take Sherry further into the spotlight. One of their strategies is to get customers to realize that Sherry is a wine. "I normally drink Sherry in a white wine glass," González says. "For a restaurant, that makes it easier to serve Sherries, because they always have white wine glasses. After all, it's the same degree of alcohol with which we drink a lot of our wines today, and if you leave it in an open bottle, it's going to oxidize." Another strategy to extend Tio Pepe's influence in America is its use in cocktails, which González believes is an easy entryway to discovering Sherry. They've also been introducing newer, drier Sherries, such as the limited-edition unfiltered, unfined Tio Pepe En Rama. Although González Byass has been a Sherry house since 1835, it has expanded its portfolio to include some of Spain's most underpriced yet elegant wines, such as the silky Vilarnau MV Brut Cava ($12.99): Viñas del Vero 2008 Secastilla ($36.99), a single- varietal old-vine Garnacha full of peppery red fruit; and their flagship Beronia 2008 Rioja Reserva ($18.99), offering the rich - ness of blueberries and plums, and Beronia 2006 Gran Reserva ($28.99), with marzipan earthiness. Sherry—and Spain— in the Spotlight Maurico González- Gordon, fifth genera- tion of the founding family and Chairman of González Byass. Tio Pepe pairs magnificently with Ibérico ham. Viñas del Vero 2008 Secastilla ($36.99) is a single-varietal old-vine Garnacha. MAURICIO GONZÁLEZ- GORDON LEADS THE CHARGE AS GONZÁLEZ BYASS EXPANDS by Richard Carleton Hacker PHOTO: CAL BINGHAM PHOTO: HARDY WILSON PHOTO: CAL BINGHAM

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