Victoria Frutos Climent
How long have you been working in Sherry and for how long have you been working at this Bodega?
I started in 2005, and in November this year it will be 14 years, and always at José Estévez.
I studied agricultural engineering specialising in the food industry, then I did a masters in quality in the food industry, and after that a degree in oenology.
What made you want to become a Sherry winemaker?
I come from Barcelona, but my mother is from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and in my house there has always been great affection for Sherry. I spent every summer in Sanlúcar where my grandfather worked in a bodega (García de Velasco) and I fell in love with that world.
Being a winemaker by profession is wonderful, but if on top of that you have the good fortune to work with these unique wines which have such a long history, that is a luxury.
What wine are you proudest of and why?
I am proud of all our wines, many of which were already in existence when I was born; it is a very big responsibility to find yourself working professionally with them because it is like a legacy has been left in your hands, and you have to respect it and maintain it for future generations.
Perhaps I have a special affection for our Manzanilla la Guita, because Estévez bought the bodega in 2007 and in 2008 I took charge of the wines along with Eduardo Ojeda. It was very hard work because we had a great deal to do until we could achieve a wine exactly as we liked it, carefully selecting its origin (Pago Miraflores mainly) and respecting its history.
What is your favourite Sherry and why?
Amontillado Tio Diego.
Amontillado in general is a special wine because you have to start with a Fino and then it goes through oxidative ageing to become an Amontillado.
The grapes used to produce Tio Diego come from a single vineyard; a 17 hectare parcel called Viña Macharnudo Alto, and are fermented in butt. The wine goes through 8 criaderas of biological ageing and 3 criaderas of oxidative ageing. It is a wine with an average age of 17 years.
The biological ageing lasts about 10-11 years and the oxidative ageing lasts about 6. No second fortification is necessary as the wine grows stronger as it concentrates with age.
It is a very elegant Amontillado as it has such a lot of biological ageing, yet very complex at the same time.
What is your favorite Sherry wine pairing?
An Amontillado or a Palo Cortado with mushroom risotto in winter and in summer Manzanilla with salmorejo.
Sherry is so unique to other wines -- what Sherry fact do you find most interesting?
These wines are unique in the world, for their origin, the characteristics of our albariza soil, their amazing versatility and for the processes used in their production.
What plans for innovation and development do you have and where do you see the future for Sherry?
We plan to make different types of wine but all based on our albariza soils, our best grape variety, the Palomino, but without any tricks, just expressing what the soil gives us.
The future of Sherry has to start with a change to the price of the wine. The price of a bottle simply has to go up and so does that of the grapes. For a good future we must put the value on our wines which they so richly deserve.
What are your earliest memories of Sherry wines?
There has always been Sherry in my house and when I used to spend the summer in Sanlúcar I loved the smell of wine in the street when I passed any bodega. My most serious contact with Sherry was when I tried an Amontillado for the first time. I was hugely impressed by how many nuances and sensations there were in that wine.