Palomino Fino is an amontillado “sherry” produced from biodynamically grown Palomino grapes in the San Joaquin Valley. Our dry, nutty Palomino Fino is made using the same solera methods used in Jerez Spain where sherry is traditionally crafted.
Genuine sherry comes from Jerez y Sanlucar, a place in southern Spain. The word “sherry” came about because the English speaking founders of the wine trade there had a hard time with their Spanish consonants. As it wouldn’t be right to label “California Oranges” as Florida Oranges, it isn’t right to steal the name of a famous wine from another place. Using the same grapes and methods doesn’t make our wine sherry.
So what about the wine?
Sherry and Palomino Fino are anachronistic in today’s wine world. Their flavor comes not from grapes as in other wines, but to a significant degree, from a microorganism, the flor (as in flower) yeast which grows on the surface of the aging wine. In young wines (fino sherry for example) the flor contributes a fresh bread like character. Prolonged aging under the flor develops richness and complexity. Quady’s Palomino Fino spent 5 years in barrels under the flor. The aroma of flor aged wine is often described as “nutty”. It is a complex and wonderful aroma but difficult to describe. It seems to explode from the glass. When you drink Quady’s Palomino Fino there is a sense of captured time as in the genie emerging from Aladdin’s lamp.
The word “Amontillado” brings to mind Edgar Allen Poe’s Cask of Amontillado; a brilliant horror story written in 1846 in which Montressor lures his tormentor Fortunato into a crypt with the promise of a taste from a phantom pipe of rare amontillado sherry.
In 1846, sherries and amontillados were well known, valuable, and individuals actually owned pipes (a cask of about 140 gallons) of them.
Fresno County, an agricultural area known for its plump and juicy raisins, lies to the south of the important Madera wine appellation and is home to Gina Nonini and the biodynamic Palomino Fino grapes grown at Marian farms.
The solera produces only 85 cases per year.