El Aljibe (Cadiz), Andalusia
Following the arc of history, winemaker Alberto Orte along with his business partner Patrick Mata embraces his family’s rich tradition of solera system wines from Montilla-Moriles to create this unparalleled project from El Aljibe. They had already started the winemaking company Compañía de Vinos del Atlántico and New York wine importer Olé Imports (now merged with a Portuguese partner as Olé & Obrigado).
Alberto Orte was born in Madrid but is now living in El Puerto de Santa María. He had been actively producing (unfortified) wine in the sherry region, Vara y Pulgar (Tintilla) and Atlántida (Vijariego blanco) among others. Poniente sherries are the product of the thoughtful blending of precious, treasured soleras and criaderas from the 18th and 19th centuries, refreshed in the traditional method each year with wine from their own organically farmed estate vineyards (San Cristóbal, San José y El Aljibe) in the Pago Añina, one of three more known pago sites in Jeréz designated as Jeréz Superior. The winery is an old casa de viña, located amidst the vines of El Aljibe, that dates back to the early 19th century. It takes its name from the well (aljibe) which used to provide water to the surrounding area. Located halfway between Jerez and Sanlúcar, it combines environmental elements of both cities.
Since 2016 they are producing their own mosto, from a rigid selection of over 200 old clones of Palomino Fino, farmed organically. This mosto is fed once a year to the last criadera of the Fino, which in turn feeds the Amontillado and other soleras. San Cristóbal is an interesting plot as it includes more than 20 grape varieties, some of which largely forgotten, trained in the traditional pruning method vara y pulgar.