Valdespino is one of the oldest bodegas in the region of Jerez, Spain, with a history of sherry fortified wine production going back to the 13th century.
In 1264, Alfonso Valdespino was one of 24 knights who fought for the city of Jerez alongside King Alfonso X, against the Moors (Arabs). As a reward for his loyalty, Alfonso was given land, and vineyards in particular in Andalucía, on the coast near Jerez de la Frontera.
The Valdespino house is said to have started trading wines in 1430 and the formal ‘company’ we know today was officially founded in 1875. Just eight years later in 1883, Valdespino became an official supplier of wine to the Royal Houses of Spain (Real Orden de Proveedores de la Real Casa) but also of the crown of Sweden. It has always been known as a house using traditional winemaking techniques, which stayed in the Valdespino family until 1999.
Today Valdespino belongs to the Grupo Estevez family, who also owns the Bodegas Marqués del Real Tesoro and produces the famous La Guita Manzanilla, and purchased the bodega Valdespino in 1999.
Valdespino owns 750 hectares of their own vineyards in the Jerez region (1,850 acres), which is extremely rare in this region and allows them close control over grape quality.
The jewel in the crown of Valdespino vineyards is the coveted and iconic Macharnudo vineyard.
This site at one of the highest altitudes in the area 135 meters above sea level) also benefits from extremely pure albariza chalk soils. Located northwest of Jerez has been owned by Valdespino since 1264.
Macharnudo allows Valdespino to be virtually the only bodega to make single vineyard sherries like Fino Inocente and Tio Diego Amontillado.
Valdespino is also renowned for their VOS (Very Old Sherries) with over 20 years of ageing and VORS (Very Old Rare Sherries), with over 30 years of ageing.
The bodega also owns Macharnudo’s neighboring grand cru vineyard, Carrascal whose inland location has made it prized historically as the source of Sherry’s richest wines including the Oloroso Su Majestad.
Valdespino’s Range of Sherry Wines include:
- Fino Inocente
- Jerez Fino Seco
- Amontillado Tío Diego
- Palo Cortado C.P.
- Palo Cortado Cardenal
- Oloroso “Su Majestad”
- Amontillado Coliseo VORS
- Moscatel Promesa
- Moscatel Toneles VIEJISIMO
- Oloroso Don Gonzalo VOS
- Oloroso Solera de Su Majestad VORS
- Pedro Ximénez El Candado
- Pedro Ximenez Niños VORS
- Isabela Cream Sherry
Watch Valdespino’s Sherry Wine Reviews in Video
Sherry Reviews & Tasting Notes of Bodegas Valdespino Wines
Valdespino Inocente Fino Sherry, Vino de Jerez
Score: 93/100 points
Inocente is a classic Jerez Fino made by the most traditional method, that of the criaderas and solera system.
The grape juice, which comes from a single vineyard called Inocente among the firm’s holdings in the famous Pago Macharnudo, is fermented in butts made from American oak and is aged under a veil of flor yeasts for over eight years.
Overall Review Notes & Tasting Impressions
With a bright lemon-yellow color, this Fino is intensified by shiny gold hues, looking overall rather intense for the style.
The aromatic profile is pungent and vibrant, filled with a wealth of iodine salty notes of sea spray combined with powerful aromas of apple cider, walnut and floral honey. Ripe fruit characters give a comforting feel, jammy apricot, ripe mango, fig and dried pineapple.
The powerful nutty notes are complemented by a wealth of buttery notes, brioche as well as mixed spices.
There is so much going, so much to smell in many directions! The whole smells like a gorgeous buttery pudding stuffed with abundance of dried fruits but lifted by the distinctive Fino character of sea breeze and green apple. A captivating nose.
The palate reveals both an intense power with an imposing oily texture for a Fino, together with a elegance and finesse of flavor delivery that highlights the wine’s complexity and balance.
Bursting flavors of all sorts of nuts give the wine a distinctive delicate bitterness, augmented by obvious notes of yeasty oak from the long ageing in Solera under flor.
The rich and oily body is outstanding for a Fino, supporting and balancing the salty acidity and the opulence of spicy flavors superbly.
A complex, extremely long Fino, with many more layers of flavor complexity than most sherry wines in this style, yet keeping the freshness, the zingy citrus and salty feel we love and expect from it.
Valdespino Palo Cortado Viejo C.P. Single Vineyard Dry Sherry, Spain
Score: 94/100 points
Taking its name ‘CP’ from Calle Ponce, the street where the solera was once stored, this is a classic single vineyard Palo Cortado.
This rare style of Sherry derives its own name from a chalk marking on the barrel to denote the contents. The grapes come from 50-year-old vines in our single vineyard Inocente in the famous Pago Macharnudo Alto area.
A very watchful eye is kept on the development of the young wine and any which shows the special characteristics needed, will be selected to follow a different path. This wine will then gradually flow through the 4 CP criaderas and solera ready for bottling with an average age of 25 years. Availability is limited.
Overall Review Notes & Tasting Impressions
With a delightful amber color, this Palo Cortado features an astonishing deep and captivating aromatic profile.
Sweet fennel and caramel are intricately married with honey, herbals scents of thyme and rosemary, vanilla and Bourbon, jammy apricot and sultanas.
The nose is such a unique, deep and powerful experience, yet so complex and layered you are lost for words as to how to describe it. Unlike anything I’ve ever smelt before. Yet, so tempting and salivating.
To try and picture the aromatic, let’s say it smells somewhat like the most extraordinary Christmas pudding you’ve ever smelt…
White pepper and an infinite myriad of sweet spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and many more, come with the buttery, yeasty, and briochy goodness of ageing under flor, incredibly combined with the rich fruity and jammy characters of sun-ripen grapes aged in barrels for 25+ years…
The palate is just as stunning. Dry for sure with a freshening acidity that underlines delicate flavors of orange peel and lemon juice, but feeling smooth and rounded, salty and mineral the more the wine evolves and develops on your taste buds.
An immense explosion of walnut and almond flavors happens from the mid-palate on, like a bitter almond liqueur without the actual aggressive bitterness, always kept on the fruity side by the apricot jam, fig, dates and other dried fruit characters.
Words seem useful to describe what is in reality an immensely deep tasting experience. Well, deep but also light and lifted, spicy and fruity, herbal and lively, all at the same time….
Simply one of the rarest and most unique wine tasting experience I’ve ever had. So distinct from anything else, yet so enjoyable for the educated palate who enjoys a complex and mind-provoking combination of flavors coming from virtually everything that’s tasty and enjoyable to eat and smell in the living world, from fresh and dried fruit, herbs and spices, dark cocoa and coffee, to yeast and baking scents, soy and mushroom, and through many more hard-to-describe sensations….
Valdespino ‘Promesa’ Moscatel de Jerez, Sherry, Spain
Score: 91/100 points
Moscatel is a highly aromatic grape which grows near the coast in the Chipiona area and makes fragrant and aromatic sweet Sherry. The production process is similar to that used for the Pedro Ximénez whereby the grapes are picked super ripe and dried in the sun to concentrate their natural sweetness.
While sweet, Moscatel is less so than PX but every bit as fruity. The wine is aged in the solera system for over 8 years, and then some of it goes for bottling, while the rest supplies the solera for the legendary top of the range Moscatel Toneles.
Overall Review Notes & Tasting Impressions
With a rather deep amber color, this Moscatel from sherry comes with an appealing caramel color reminding of the very ripe, almost raisined Muscat grapes it was made from.
The aromatic profile is certainly dominated by notes of blond raisin and sultanas, but it’s more herbal and lifted than just fruity. It’s also herbal, much like a herbal and vibrant, slightly smoky honey, with an outstanding aromatic intensity.
White pepper with touches of nutmeg, molasses, dried apricot, and the distinctive signature elderflower floral character of Muscat, still vibrant and pungent despite the overall power of the nose. A complex, sweet-smelling and tempting wine…
The palate reveals this is indeed a very flavorsome Muscat wine, overflowing with rich scents of apricot jam, dried fig and dried pineapple, honey, caramel, golden syrup and potpourri. An intricate mixture of herbs, slightly medicinal, a little waxy and soapy, yet explosive, layered and utterly complex.
This is a half-sweet wine, sweet indeed, but not syrupy, with good-enough acidity to keep things fresh and interesting and underline zesty citrus and lemon flavors.
The finish highlights the notes coming from the ageing into sherry barrels, with deepening hints of savory yeastiness, soy and fennel.
The whole is a power house of flavors. Hardly do you ever taste such a concentrated juice of sultanas combined with mixed spices, herbs, and delicately savory notes.
Somewhat of the perfect dessert wine, perfect at least for matching with a Christmas pudding, rich and opulent dessert. But also, a wine to enjoy on its own nonchalantly as a digestif, for itself and for the comforting and warming effects of its opulent flavor profile…