Bodegas Sánchez Romate can be found in the historic heart of Jerez de la Frontera, and is one of the few bodegas still entirely owned by Jerez families. As well as being the home of sherry (the word 'sherry' is an anglicisation of Jerez), the city is home to many late gothic churches and convents, and is also the birthplace of flamenco, and some horse shows.
With its pretty streets lined with fragrant orange and lilac trees, it is no wonder that families have been flocking here for centuries to produce its most famous wines. Romate's founder, Don Juan Sánchez de la Torré, did just that in 1781, meaning it is now one of Spain's oldest wineries still in operation.
Their family-owned status means they retain both their independence (they still produce, age, bottle, and despatch all of their own produce) and can continue making wines according to their artisanal traditions. Their popularity went way beyond Jerez, however: they have also been the official purveyor to the House of Lords, the Vatican, and the Spanish Royal Family.
Sánchez Romate own vineyards in some of the best locations in the sherry triangle, benefiting from western Andalusia's glorious sunshine and cooling sea breezes. The white albariza (limestone) soil is perfect for sherry grapes (palomino and pedro ximénez) because they absorb and retain the winter and spring rainfall and supply it to the vine in the scorching summer.
Their winery of course uses the Solera 'steps and ladder' system, a method unique to Jerez, and Sánchez Romate has it down to a fine art. They make all types of sherry - fino, amontillado, oloroso, palo cortado, cream and pedro ximénez - and age each wine in traditional American oak for varying numbers of years depending on its type.
The flor that forms in the casks is vital to the sherry's taste, flavour-intensity and texture (flor attacks glycerol, which can leave sherry fat and uninteresting). The type of flor yeast present in each barrel varies greatly, as different types form depending on the temperature variation throughout the bodega and the strength of the air currents. We've worked with Sánchez Romate to select the best casks for our Society Fino and Fino Perdido.
One of our best-selling sherries is their Fino Perdido (or 'lost fino'), an exclusive to The Society. The name is a result of a change in Spanish classification laws: the term 'fino-amontillado' to indicate a sherry halfway between the two styles was declassified in recent years. The Fino Perdido - a sherry made in this style - was somewhat abandoned until our sherry buyer, Toby Morrhall, discovered it when visiting the winery. It's broad, rich, powerful style and delicious orange peel and nutty character has proven hugely popular with our members.
Sánchez Romate remains a benchmark of Jerez wines: with over 200 years of balancing tradition with a cosmopolitan lifestyle, they have always aimed simply to please their consumers, and to satisfy an essential need - the art of living.