José Antonio Sánchez Pazo
How long have you been working in Sherry and for how long have you been working at this Bodega?
I have worked with and enjoyed our wines for over 30 years. I began my career at the Viticulture and Oenology Station in Calle Córdoba and have worked for various bodegas in the area. I have now worked for 9 months at Delgado Zuleta as technical director and oenologist and am enjoying it even more – if that’s possible.
What made you want to become a Sherry winemaker?
While I was studying chemical sciences I had as a professor Luis Pérez, and it was he, who in his oenology course, showed me how fascinating the world of wine is, and he supported my idea that I had to work in a bodega. From then on I focused my efforts on being able to achieve that objective. In 1988 Wisdom & Warter gave me the opportunity to start work in Jerez, and I’ve worked in bodegas ever since.
What wine are you proudest of and why?
It is difficult to say which child you are proudest of or which you love most, and it is the same with wine. I have “adopted” (I’ve only been at Delgado Zuleta for a few months) some magnificent wines which have taken a long time to produce and which are of exceptional quality, and my objective at the moment is to maintain the high quality. So I am delighted with them all. Perhaps I have a special feeling for the Viña Galvana Cosecha 2016 because it is a wine I have been able to develop personally.
What is your favourite Sherry and why?
The wine I like most is Amontillado since it unifies the two types of ageing we have in this area: biological and oxidative. This gives the wines incredible complexity both on the nose and the palate. Moreover they are very easy wines to match to very many dishes.
What is your favorite Sherry wine pairing?
I don’t have just one as I believe our wines make a magnificent pairing with a wide variety of dishes, so I’ll give you a few:
Mantis prawn soup with a Manzanilla like La Goya or La Goya XL
Pâté with Amontillado Zuleta
Red meat with Quo Vadis?
Turrón ice cream with PX Monteagudo
Sherry is so unique to other wines -- what Sherry fact do you find most interesting?
For me the most important thing about our wines and oenology is that we are able to make many different wines from a single variety of grape, the Palomino, and furthermore we have another two varieties, the Pedro Ximénez and the Moscatel which allow us to make blends and achieve an infinite variety of nuances, colours, flavours etc. which result in an immense variety of wines.
All that is embellished by the solera system which allows winemakers to produce wines to suit the taste of any consumer; pale, dry, medium, sweet, dark…
I always say that the winemakers of the area have a palette of colours, aromas and flavours which, when well used, allows us to make a wine for any occasion and any consumer. We make top level wines every day and they should be given the respect they deserve.
What plans for innovation and development do you have and where do you see the future for Sherry?
As I mentioned earlier, I have only been at Delgado Zuleta for 9 months, and from what I have already seen, there is a definite appetite for innovation. I have found projects already in progress which we will continue with like the organic Manzanilla Entusiástica, which is the first organic Manzanilla in the world; Goya XL, the concept of Manzanilla pasada en rama; Tosca Cerrada, a project in collaboration with the prestigious sommelier Mario Rovira, etc.
In the short term we are going to revive some of the firm’s wines and brands which were outstanding, such as Amontillado Viejo Zuleta and Oloroso Las Señoras. Apart from Sherry, we are also working on new products which I believe will attract younger consumers, Lola rosé or our Vino de la Tierra de Cádiz Viña Galvana for example, and we are developing a range of products which we will launch little by little.
I believe that the future of Sherry lies in attracting new consumers, educating them and showing them how they should drink our wines, which are not “wines for grandmothers”, so we need to start them off with simple easy wines; we will have to do it.
What are your earliest memories of Sherry wines?
I am 55, and although I was born in Cádiz, I grew up in Jerez, so in my youth – I still consider myself young by the way – I remember walking along the streets of Jerez breathing in the aroma of wine both from the bodegas which were all over the city, and the old tabancos which used to exist and, thank goodness, are being revived.