Ás de Mirabrás
Ás de Mirabrás
Refreshing old vine Palomino from the chalky Albariza soil around Jerez de la Frontera
Ás de Mirabrás is the new white wine from Bodegas Barbadillo, an offshoot of the Mirabrás winery. It's a fresh, sapid, white wine from old Palomino vines grown in chalky albariza soil close to the sea in Jerez. Complex and refreshing.
Seafood, Rice dishes, Cheese, Vegetable dishes
More about Ás de Mirabrás
Who makes it
One of the most established wineries in the Jerez region, Barbadillo’s history stretches back to 1821 when two empresarios from Burgos, Benigno Barbadillo and Manuel López Barbadillo, established themselves in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. They launched their first manzanilla, Divina Pastora, a few years later but it wasn’t until 1954 that the winery was formally established.
Nowadays, Barbadillo farm some 500 hectares of vineyard and have over 30,000 barrels for ageing their wines. Their range covers the two DOs of Jerez-Xèrés-Sherry and Manzanilla - Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and they also bottle and sell Vinagre de Jerez and Brandy de Jerez. The aim of the Mirabrás project is to explore the full potential of the winery’s oldest vines and open up the world of traditional sanluqueña and jerezana winemaking to winelovers everywhere.
About the grapes
Palomino Fino – often just referred to as Palomino - is a white grape variety which originated in Andalucía and is most closely associated with Jerez where it covers about 95% of the total vineyard area and is the key grape used to make a whole range of wines, mainly fortified but some still wines too. In the Canary Islands it is known as Listán Blanco
Palomino tends to give quite high yields, with clusters of medium-sized grapes with quite thin skins, which can make it vulnerable to fungal diseases like mildew or botrytis. It is very resistant to high temperatures and drought, hence you’ll tend to find it in dry, warm climates. Palomino grapes are quite low in acidity and sugar and wines can have a tendency to oxidise (ie spoil on contact with air), which is not a problem for sherry producers but makes producing quality table wine more of a challenge.
Still, dry wines made with Palomino tend to be quite light and balanced. The variety really comes into its own when it’s subjected to crianza biológica, or biological ageing in botas or butts under a veil of the famous flor, the white film of yeast cells native to the region of Jerez which float on the surface of the wine. The flor stops air getting to the Palomino wine and encourages a bewildering array of delicious aromas and flavours to develop. These vary depending on the wine style (Fino, Manzanilla, Oloroso, Palo Cortado etc) but can cover everything from saline and nutty notes, fresh dough, almonds, spice, leather, orange zest, dried fruits or tobacco.
Where it's made
Jerez, or the Marco de Jerez as you’ll sometimes see it referred to, is the triangle of territory between the towns of Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda in the province of Cádiz in Andalucía in southern Spain. The area is best known, of course, for its various styles of fortified wines which are bottled under two DOs: Jerez-Xérès-Sherry and Manzanilla - Sanlúcar de Barrameda. But the area also produces still (ie non-fortified) wines too, usually from the ubiquitous Palomino Fino grape, and many of these are bottled under the Vino de la Tierra de Cádiz label, not a Denominación de Origen as such, but part of the broader IGP or Indicación Geográfica Protegida category.
Jerez is famous for its white albariza soils which are rich in calcium carbonate, clay and silica and with subsoils which are good at retaining water. The 7,000 hectares or so of vineyards are divided up into various pagos – extensions of land which contain various vineyards. Some of the pagos have a long history and variations in micro-climate and soil composition means their names have become synonymous with different wine styles and profiles: look out for names like Macharnudo, Macharnudo Alto, Miraflores, Balbaína, Carrascal or El Hornillo for example.
The climate in Jerez is warm, with hot, dry summers and gentle winters with, surprisingly perhaps, quite a high rainfall. The proximity of the Atlantic and the breezes in the region help keep the climate humid. This, coupled with the design of the bodegas where the wines are aged – high ceilings, east-west orientation – creates a unique set of conditions which help make the wines of Jerez so special and unique.
How it's made
The wine is made with a selection of Palomino grapes from different albariza plots in the historic pagos of Almocadén, Cerro Pelado, Macharnudo Alto, Santa Lucía and Balbaína. Once at the winery, the must is fermented in stainless steel tanks before being bottled.