17% ABV. Toro Albalá reserve select lots of their best vintage wines for later release under the Gran Reserva label. These rich and complex Pedro Ximénez wines are destined for a very long ageing in oak barrels. After filling and sealing, these barrels are left for decades in their single-vintage state. It's during this slow maturation that the wines undertake their delicious, savoury, rancio transformation (through controlled exposure to oxygen) which brings a kind of nutty, iodine character that infinitely complexes the sweet, fruit cakey wine but also gives it added freshness. Naturally, as the wines concentrate in flavour and texture, the colour darkens and the mouth-feel thickens. Vintages are selected for release after a minimum of 25 years in barrel and only when they have attained these classic hallmarks of aged PX. With 380 grams of residual and 17% alcohol this is a terrific vintage for this wine as the note below makes clear. - Importer Note
Founded in 1844, Toro Albalá is arguably the most important producer of Pedro Ximenez in the world today, with the finest vineyard holdings in Montilla (the region for Pedro) as well as the oldest, “legendary” stocks. Toro Albalá was the first Montilla producer to commercialize bottled, dessert-styled Pedro Ximénez in 1970, and remains the world's only specialist in 100% vintage PX.
The key to understanding Toro Albalá's reputation lies in their ability to balance the extraordinary sun-ripened richness and depth of old vine P.X. with a bright, savoury quality, which never allows the wines to veer into the cloying end of the spectrum. This is managed though strict quality control that few in the region can—or are willing to—match, from the old vines and great soils, through to their very long aging process. Additionally, one of the many eccentricities of this producer is their rare vintage-only P.X. wines (the overwhelming majority of P.X. bottlings are blends).
Toro Albalá is based in Aguilar de la Frontera, right in the bullseye of D.O Montilla-Moriles, the hilly Andalucían hinterland that forms 'P.X. country'. The D.O surrounds the two towns of Montilla in the north and Moriles in the south, both in the Province of Cordoba. This Estate had a rather sedate beginning back in 1844, then in 1922 José Maria Toro Albala purchased the property and made his mark by moving the whole bodega into a former electrical plant (hence the Fino Eléctrico). It was here that José Maria began to write the blueprint for the modern incarnation Toro Albalá; to harness the combination of excellent raw materials, modern technology and respect for the traditional Montilla methods and styles. Above all was a serious commitment to making the best dessert wine possible.
Toro Albalá’s old, bush vine Pedro Ximénez is planted on the bleach-white, chalky soils of the region. This albariza soil type is not unique to Montilla-Moriles—Sherry’s other capitals of Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Jerez de la Frontera share the spoils. However, the combination of these light soils, altitude, and the hot, dry climate—that can sufficiently ripen Pedro Ximénez—set Montilla apart from its maritime-influenced sister regions. - Importer Note
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