As we approach a season that’s steeped in tradition, it feels fitting to be relaunching our Adnams sherry range, from the historic Montilla-Moriles region. Taking inspiration from our colleagues in the brewery, this project is a true collaboration.

Partnering with Sopla Poniente and working very closely with the team in Spain, we’ve taken a fresh approach to our sherry range. We thought outside the box and Sopla Poniente has helped us unearth a trio that showcases the classic styles including a Fino, an Amontillado and a PX, all made from 100% Pedro Ximénez grapes. Although sherry isn’t just for Christmas, they’ve landed just in time and with a palate ranging from dry through to sweet, there’s something to savour at every festive occasion.

We found our brand-new partner in the rugged beauty of the Montilla-Moriles region of Andalusia. The undulating vineyards are made of white sandy loam albariza, which is rich in calcium carbonate. These soils add a freshness to wine and retain moisture, which helps the grapes reach extended maturity. The region is considered the ‘cousin’ of the Jerez-Xérès-Sherry region, but shares its traditions and techniques, producing wines of very similar style. Following fermentation, they are aged in a solera system, where they are blended as they age and develop distinct characteristics.

Poniente is a small négoce – a négociant or merchant. They seek out small or old bodegas, or particularly interesting soleras to work with, and their range is made up of interesting ‘parcels’ of wine from both Jerez and Montilla. Their passion for the unique and historical is key, as they unearth hidden gems and bring them back to owner and winemaker Pepe Rodríguez de Vera, whose signature is on the bottle. “I have been studying with Pepe on my Master of Wine Course, and Sopla Poniente felt like a great fit for Adnams and the project,” said Dan, our retail wine brand manager. “They went and found some great wines on our behalf from their network of partners, and then we selected the ones we felt were most suited to Adnams and our customers.

Adnams collaboration with Sopla Poniente was crafted at the legendary Bodegas del Pino which has been producing fortified wines from Pedro Ximenez since 1935. Today, three generations later, they are the world’s largest producer of PX. Here, craftsmanship and 88 years of history and tradition is combined with technology and modern oenological methods.

Our wine buyer Sophie is excited to finally share the range: “For this project we wanted to co-brand the wines to highlight Sopla Poniente and their credentials. This collaboration gives a firm nod to tradition, but with a modern twist. I certainly feel whisked away to a Seville tapas bar with the Fino and Amontillado! As for the PX, it’s super rich and decadent and will pair perfectly with chocolate.”

The 7-year-old Fino is pale gold in colour, with clean aromas of yeast, fennel and white fruits. It’s a deliciously dry Fino, with notes of saline and almond on the palate. It’s light yet complex, with a long umami finish. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks, before aging in soleras and old American oak. It’s great with tapas, fish and seafood appetisers, or smoked meats and cheeses. 

Our 12-year-old Amontillado is amber with golden reflections and displays classic aromas of wood, nuts and spices. It is dry, elegant and well-structured with flavours of dried fruit, bitter almond. Aging begins under flor, followed by oxidative ageing in American oak. Pair this wine with mushrooms, smoked foods and salted specialities like anchovies. 

When producing our PX, grapes are hand-harvested in late August, and sun-dried for five to eight days, before being aged for 24 months. It is bright mahogany in colour, and has an elegantly intense nose of raisins, dates and a touch of citrus freshness. It is full bodied, velvety, and deliciously sweet without being cloying. This adds to its nutty and dried fruit character. It’s the ideal accompaniment to cheese boards, ice cream and rich desserts. 

The three wines are 15% abv and are packaged in 50cl bottles. As it is a collaboration, the label design uses elements of the design for the Adnams Estate Range alongside cues from Sopla Poniente’s own branding. It features the Venenciador - local legends in Southern Spain’s wine culture. They extract wine from casks using a special tool called a venencia. It enables them to reach the clean, bright wine in the centre of the vessel, avoiding any sediment, and then skilfully pour it for tasting. The process lets the wine breathe, so tasters can fully appreciate its complexity. All that remains is for you to skilfully open a bottle, and then do the same.