González Byass releases £1,000 pre-Phylloxera wine

Sherry producer González Byass has released an extremely old and very limited edition Moscatel wine from the 19th century for £1,000 a bottle – Pio X.

Just 100 bottles of the wine are to be released but as it was never fortified it is not a Sherry.

The very old wine is from a barrel dedicated to the pope Pius X (Pio X in Spanish) upon his election to the Holy See in 1903. The actual wine however is believed to have been produced in the 1850s or 1860s and certainly before the advent of Phylloxera, which hit Jerez in the 1890s.

The grape variety used to make the wine is Moscatel Menudo Blanco, a type of Moscatel that no longer exists in the region, and the alcoholic strength is just 9%.

The practice of laying down special wines to mark the coronation of kings and queens and elections of popes is a long standing tradition at González Byass.

The wine comes from one cask which contained a mere 90 litres after over 100 years ageing, which was enough for 120 bottles.

Just 100 bottles will be released with the other 20 being retained in the family cellars.

Chairman Mauricio González Gordon, whose great-grandfather was the one to lay down the wine, commented: “I feel a deep sense of gratitude to the company’s founder, my ancestor Manuel M. González, and his descendants, for leaving such wines for the enjoyment of today’s connoisseurs.

“This is a sweet wine which is a joy to drink. Pio X shows remarkable vigour, despite its lengthy ageing in cask. It is well-balanced and has both astonishing freshness and complexity with notes of dry figs, walnuts, tar, treacle, lacquer and coffee. It is a joy to drink.”

The UK is to receive half of the bottles released (50) with listings confirmed at various on- and off-trade accounts including Selfridges and The Connaught.

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