Jerez, Spain
At a Glance
  • Single vineyard focued Sherry wines from Macharnudo Alto.
  • The Macharnudo Alto plot is extremly old – first given to Don Valdespino in 1264.  It has pure Albariza and vara y pulgar trained vines.  All work is done by hand and no chemicals are used.
  • Inocente Fino was at one point in time the only naturally cask fermented Fino left.
  • All the sherries are longer aged than the vast majority of their counterparts from other bodegas at similar price points.
  • Manzanilla Deliciosa is aged in the most important bodega building in Sanlucar called Misericordia which is at the top of the hill in the barrio alto.  The solera is also a single vineyard Manzanilla with fruit coming from Miraflores – the most important pago in the Sanlucar zone.
  • The chief winemaker for Valdespino is Eduardo Ojeda who has a vast knowledge in the history of Jerez and Sherry wines.

Valdespino is a tiny crown jewel of a winery that exists within a much larger wine and spirits company called Grupo Estevez. The goal of the winery is to use all the possible resources of the company to make some of the finest, most distinctive and artisinally-produced Sherries that are available today. This "spare no expense" approach applies to everythng from the entry-level Finos and Manzanillas all the way up to their uber-rare and amazingly complex VOS and VORS wines that hearken from ancient and well-kept soleras.

The origins of this historic bodega date back to 1264 when Don Alfonso Valdespino, one of 24 Knights responsible for expelling the Moors from Jerez, was rewarded for his efforts by the king, granting him land in the city of Jerez. And thus began Bodegas Valdespino! The estate was purchased most recently by Grupo Estevaz in 1999.

Today, Valdespino is unique in the world of Sherry for 3 main reasons:

  • Vineyards
  • Winemaking
  • Length of aging

The heart and soul of Valdespino, of course, is its vineyards. They are the only sherry house to make a series of wines from a single vineyard, called Macharnudo Alto. This parcel is considered one of the “grand crus” of Jerez because it is located at the highest altitude and on pure Albariza soils (bright white chalk). The single-vineyard Macharnudo wines are also considered part of the Grandes Pagos de España, an elite group of very special vineyard sites throughout Spain, and Valdespino is the only sherry house with this status.

In addition, all Valdespino wines are barrel-fermented in used oak and also allowed to decide their destiny naturally (biological vs. oxidative aging)! Almost all the houses in Jerez do the fermentations in stainless steel and inoculate the Flor to produce wines of a particular style. 

They are also one of a few estates that take the solera system to the extreme going way beyond DO minimum regulations for all the categories. As an example Fino sherry is required to have 2 criaderas (nursery levels of the solera) and the DO average tends to be 3 – Valdespino’s Fino Inocente has 10 Criaderas! This additional aging, of course, gives the wines an additional level of complexity, texture and concentration.

When it comes to food and wine pairings – sherry has a lot to contribute. One unusual aspect in this regard is that biologically aged wines (those aged under veil of flor) possess umami. This savory/earthy taste characteristic is very pronounced in the biologically aged wines of Valdespino because of not only their natural winemaking techniques but because the wines are aged well beyond the average for their peer group.