Gutiérrez Colosía is one of the smallest domains in the entire Sherry area. The bodega is run by the family: Juan-Carlos Gutiérrez, his wife Carmen Pou and their two helping daughters. This family is currently making one of the best finos of the appellation. They have always worked as an almacenista, in other words, they matured the wines in their 'naves de crianza' and then sold them on to large sherry houses who then marketed the wines. The quality of this almacenista was therefore a well-kept secret between the large houses. In 2000, however, it was decided to bottle wines themselves. The bodega itself has existed since 1838, but was owned by the Gutiérrez Colosía family between 1910 and 1920. The current generation of Juan-Carlos and Carmen have been at the helm since 1966.
The grape variety of the entire Sherry region is of course the Palomino. An otherwise very uninteresting grape, but which in this region gives an extra dimension by the exceptional solera-level. It is the 'flor de velo' or cow yeast that gives Fino its wonderful and complex palette of flavors. Only the sweet wines are made with other grape varieties: Moscatel and Pedro Ximenez. However, the latter grape is mainly imported from Montilla-Moriles.
Gutiérrez Colosía has its vineyards mainly on albariza soils in Jerez Superior (Balbaina Alta, Balbaina Baja and Los Tercios), these are the typical bright white soils. Albariza consists of more than 60% lime (calcium carbonate, a remnant of the oligocene - 33 to 23 million years ago - when this area was completely covered with water). When it rains, the soil turns into a thick paste. But when the sun comes through, the soil dries out to a smooth and reflective crust that retains moisture and protects the vines. In addition to the albariza, there are 'barros' (clay soils) and 'arenas' (sandy soils), but the grapes from these soils are mainly used for making Oloroso.
Its location and climatic conditions mean that nowhere else in the world can wine be made this way. The vineyards are close to the sea and during the summer the temperature is often around 40 ° C. In the afternoon, however, comes the 'marera', the sea breeze that blows over the vineyards and cools and moistens them. Either it comes from the east, from the Mediterranean (Levante), or it comes from the Atlantic (Poniente). Both winds are necessary to create a perfect microclimate for the growth of the flor on the wine in the barrels. The conditions for this growth are unique at Gutiérrez Colosía: the bodega is the only one that has its 'naves de crianza' along the banks of the Guadalete River and therefore takes full advantage of these conditions. This is also the domain with the best biological maturation.
The crianza or level is especially important for sherry wines. All the sherries are brought up through the solera system: different rows of barrels are stacked on top of each other, but the barrels are not filled in its entirety, so that there is a part free on which the flor can grow for the Fino. A part is bottled from the lower barrels. The drained portion is then topped up with wine from the barrel above it, which in turn is topped up with wine from the barrel above, etc. This gives us a complex mix of wines. The minimum solera is 3 years; this is also the one we choose at Gutiérrez Colosía. After all, the youngest Fino is also the most fruity and the freshest. The ripening with flor is called the biological ripening. The other wines undergo an oxidative aging, without the formation of flor on the wine in the barrels. This mainly constitutes the Oloroso. The Amontillado starts as Fino but is aged further with an oxidative maturation. The rarest is the Palo Cortado. This is at least 50 years old in this domain. The other wines of at least 50 years old are bottled under the name Solera Familiar: Amontillado, Oloroso and Palo Cortado.
The sweet wine based on Moscatel is a different story: the grapes are first dried on mats in the sun so that one almost gets raisins which are then pressed. The wine that is made with this also gets a solera maturation.