Few know that the sherry classification Amontillado—referring to golden, dry, smooth sherry—translates literally to “coming from Montilla." The Spanish wine region of Montilla-Moriles, the Pedro Ximénez (PX) wine capital of Andalucía, is perfectly suited for growing PX grapes thanks to its elevation, soil consitution, and warm climate—elsewhere, the grapes tend to be more delicate and prone to blights and mold.
Founded in 1729, Bodegas Alvear is the the oldest winery in Andalucía, and a famous producer of PX wines and PX vinegars. Today, Alvear—in the hands of the eighth Alvear generation—is a privately held company with 50 family members as partners. Headed by cousins Fernando Giménez-Alvear, the general manager, and Maria Alvear, the export manager, the company continues the family's centuries of experience in making award-winning, sherry-style wines of Montilla. We are proud to be associated with this family, their tradition and their quality.
Interestingly, the PX grape makes two different traditional types of wine (and thus vinegar). The dry fino-style base is derived from freshly harvested PX grapes. The sweet PX is different because of the harvest: the clusters of grapes remain on the vine much longer and when they start to shrivel, they are sun-dried on mats to further concentrate their flavor and sweetness. The wines are vinified under the velo de flor (a unique yeast indigenous to the soil in Montilla, which produces a dry nutty flavors), before undergoing 10 years of fermentation and aging in the exacting solera system, where they are slowly blended cask to cask and developed into versatile vinegars.