Williams & Humbert, Very Sweet Pedro Ximenez, DO Jerez, Jerez de la Frontera, Andalucia, Spain, NV
Pedro ximenez production
Commonly abbreviated to PX, pedro ximenez is famously used to produce luscious naturally sweet wine, but also at the other of the spectrum, less notable dry versions, generally at low price points. It is produced in DOs Jerez and Montilla-Moriles.
In its luscious form, the grapes are picked over-ripe, then sun dried, concentrating sugars, acids and aroma/flavour precursors. The resulting must is high in sugars, which fermentation struggles to cope with, this is arrested by the addition of high strength alcohol, which ensures biological stability, and contributes to balance in the wine. Ageing is oxidative, in solera, which over time leads to increasing complexity and concentration, whilst remaining balanced by the concentrated acidity.
According to Luyten (2), little PX is grown in near-coastal DO Jerez, where the climate is more humid than ideal for grape drying, whereas Montilla-Moriles, being well inland, provides a much drier, more suitable climate. It follows that DO Jerez permits the use of Montilla-Moriles PX in refreshing its soleras. In fact almost all Jerez PX solera wine is fed by fresh wine from Montilla-Moriles.
This wine: lot no. 17166, varietal pedro ximenez, 12 year old solera, natural cork stopper, 500ml, 18% abv, widely available, ~£9 (11/17)
Consumer tasting note: rich aromas of warm prune and fat raisins, then roast coffee and toffee with a dried citrus lift; full-bodied and lusciously sweet, with flavours of christmas cake, prune and raisin, dark toffee, and an edge of pickled walnuts. A long finish. No need to decant.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity brown, showing tears.
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, fully developed, with aromas as they come, of warm prune, warm raisin, roast coffee, caramel, dark chocolate, dark toffee, and after a little time hints of dried citrus.
Palate: luscious, medium acidity, fortified high, full body, pronounced intensity, a velvety viscous texture, with flavours of warm prune, warm raisin, christmas cake, edge of pickled walnuts, dark toffee, roast coffee. A long length with a clean, yet mouth coating toffee-prune finish.
Quality: very good, well-balanced acidity with the high level of residual sugar and alcohol (so true acidity is much higher than medium), leaving a cleansed palate on spitting; showing strong intensity throughout, moderate complexity from extended oxidative ageing in wood, and a moderate to high level of concentration. Finishes long as expected.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: drink now, unsuited to further ageing in that it is fully developed and will not improve, but will keep for say 5-10 years.
- Pedro Ximenez – Consejo Regulador de las Denominaciones de Origen. [online] accessed 06/11/17.
- Luyten, R. DO Montilla-Moriles. [online] accessed 06/11/17.