Wandering for producers of Brandy, Marsala, Rum, but above all Madeira and Sherry, you will undoubtedly have come across barrels stacked like a pyramid. This very scenic arrangement of barrels is not a picturesque choice, but reveals one of the most fascinating and illuminating methods of aging wines.
This winemaking technique allows for preserving the centuries-old regional experience in a bottle.
Conceived in Sanlucar de Barrameda
We are talking about the Solera method (or Criaderas y Soleras) and everything seems to have originated in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, on the mouth of the Guadalquivir river, in wonderful Andalusia, the home of the delicate Manzanilla.
The barrels are arranged one above the other in rows, the lower one is called “Solera”, the upper ones are called “Criaderas”, so you’ll have the first Criadera, the second Criadera and so on until the top one Barrel.
Each row contains wine produced from different harvests. Every year, part of the wine is bottled from the Solera (maximum one-third of the total), then the Solera row is filled with the wine taken from the upper rows (each row is filled by the upper one), the last row on top is filled with the wine coming from the last wine harvest.
The history of a company in a bottle
The resulting wines are pure poetry, the allegory of a perfect community where the experience and structure of the elderly, blend harmoniously with the freshness and energy of the youngest. In fact, each bottle contains the entire production history of the company, including the most distant vintages which, although to a small extent, contribute to the unique character of the wine.