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Amontillado de Sanlucar Almacenista Cuevas Jurado, Emilio Lustau
Emilio Lustau was established in 1896 and was initially a small family concern until the founder`s son-in-law placed it on a business footing.
The firm is perhaps best known as pioneering the Almacenista system, whereby individual dry sherries are produced from small private holdings. These are bottled under Lustau`s name but with the individual bodega's name on the label as well. Today they are amongst the most sought-out Sherries in the region.
The firm also produces superb wines from its recently acquired 170 hectare Montenegrillo vineyard.
It is a high yielding variety that is widely planted in Spain producing mostly insipid thin, dull wines lacking in fruit and acidity. However it thrives on the predominantly chalk based soils of Cadiz where it produces large bunches of golden yellow grapes, which ripen in early September. The resulting must is transparent in colour and somewhat neutral in flavour, but the subsequent wine can develop a coating of flor before maturing in the solera system and produce a whole range of intense and aromatic sherries.
It is also grown in South Africa, California, and Australia where it is fortified to make sherry-style wines.
Amontillado sherry begins its life as a Fino sherry, but it is subsequently reclassified as amontillado, if the layer of wine yeast (flor) fails to develop adequately during the barrel (solera) maturation. Amontillado is fortified to between 16º and 18º, so that it does not oxidize too quickly. It is fuller and darker than Fino (amber-coloured), with a smoothly-textured palate, suggestive of hazelnuts, over nuances of sea salt. Amontillado spends longer time in the solera than Fino (10-15 years typically).
Amontillados are versatile. Delicious on their own they are equally an accompaniment to soups, especially light meat soups such as consommé. But they also go with seafood, game dishes and meat terrines. The strong acidity backbone of the Amontillados enhances both sweeter aromatic dishes such as tandoori, chilli and oriental dishes and stronger flavours of ham, nuts, olives and cheese. Served cool, but not too chilled.