Micaela Palo Cortado
Palo Cortado is a lesser know sherry style – unusual and rare – sitting between amontillado and oloroso.
Historically Palo Cortado would originate as a Fino that then went slightly wrong and failed to develop normally. These casks would then be taken out of the Fino solera: its Fino mark, a vertical line or palo, would then be crossed or cortado by a diagonal line. Its flor would be killed by fortifying the wine to 17-18 degrees and it would continue its life as a barrel that ages oxidatively.
Nowadays most Palo Cortado is technically a lightweight, delicate Oloroso. The first pressing, normally destined to become a Fino, is not allowed to develop a layer of flor, but fortified to the strength of an Oloroso and forced to age oxidatively.
Bodega Baron’s Palo Cortado was first released in 2016 as a final addition to their Micaela range. It is developed for one year as a Fino initially fortified at 15%, then to 19% and left to oxidise for an average of 25 years in 800ltr tondeles (American oak casks).
A slightly pale amber colour with coppery reflections. A caramel dominant nose with plenty of toasted hazelnuts and toffee, hints of honey and orange peels. The aroma has a great complexity, wherein the delicate salty, fino-like, sea breeze is discerned behind the intensity of oxidative ageing .
The palate is full and rounded; again toasted nuts are to the fore plus fruit cake and herbal notes. It signs off with hints of saline in a long, dry finish of smooth oak.
About the Producer
Bodegas Barón can trace its origins back to 1631 and thus be considered the oldest of sherry bodegas.
In its present structure it was founded by Manuel Barón Fernández in 1895 who acquired some old soleras from Anselmo Paz, an almacenista in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Manuel Barón’s wife, though, had a much older family history in sherry.
Today, ten generations later, the company is owned by Jose Rodriguez Jiménez and his sons Juan Luis and Jose. It has been in their hands since 1984 and the young brothers are a dynamic force, who in 2014 oversaw the makeover of the entire range with new styles and importantly new labels. It is both one of the oldest and one of the most progressive quality producers – and new to the UK market.
It consists of two bodegas: Molinillos, the oldest in Sanlúcar, whose central naves date back to 1631 and where the 150 year old soleras of Anselmo Paz are guarded. The larger, more modern, El Hato is used for storage and holds 10,000 butts. They own three vineyards (around 140ha), all on albariza soil: Finca Atalaya (previously owned by Osborne), Finca Martín Miguel and Finca Poedo; of which 50ha are in Sanlúcar de Barrameda for the production of Manzanilla.
Barón has rebranded its production into three contemporary brands – Micaela, Xixarito and Soluqua – all with modern, eye-catching labels.