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Emilio Hidalgo, El Tresillo 1874 Amontillado Viejo NV
Manuel Jesus Nieves
An extraordinarily complex, savoury, dry Amontillado from Emilio Hidlalgo, which has aged for around 8 years under Flor before 4 more years of oxidative ageing. It tastes like a rich, full oxidised Fino despite the winning notes of dried fruit, old oak and toasted hazelnuts. Powerful and long with a lovely umami-driven, almost saline finish, this is one to savour with aged Manchego or a Porcini risotto.
Clavel street has always been the headquarters of this sherry producer since its foundation in 1874. Emilio Hidalgo purchased the vineyards in the A�ina and Carrascal pagos and set up the business, which is still controlled by the fifth generation of the Hidalgo family.The winery was constructed in the traditional style of Jerez, with central patios, thick walls on its ageing cellars, albero (sand) soils, high ceilings and windows on the upper decks covered with esparto curtains that let fresh air in, avoid sunlight and generate the necessary moisture to maintain ideal conditions for flor and oxidative aging to develop.Their presence in foreign markets is still going strong;they even had a base in London in the early 20th century but they no longer own vineyards, sold by the third generation to focus on the work at the winery. Hidalgo buys the must already fermented (and sometimes fortified) from two or three regular suppliers, a fairly common practice in Jerez.Hidalgo's philosophy is focused on maintaining the family legacy and a style of making and blending wine beyond fashion trends and business strategies. Its most representative portfolio starts with Fino Hidalgo, aimed for the export markets and Fino La Panesa, a pungent, delicate and complex wine with little filtration. It comes from a solera founded in 1962, coinciding with the birth of Alfonso Hidalgo, a member of the family. The yeasts that form the veil of flor can be up to 2cm thick, which requires suitable levels of temperature, humidity and nutrients for the 15 years -a much longer aging time than the usual in finos- that this wine rests before being bottled unfiltered in several yearly take outs. This bodega produces two amontillados Tresillo and Tresillo Viejo 1874 from the same solera dating from that year and named after a traditional cards game. The first is biologically aged for some nine years before undergoing oxidative aging for an additional six years; the old amontillado, concentrated and full of character, has an average age of around 50 years. Oloroso Gobernador is an excellent value for money wine and is around 12 years old.
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