Here’s the question. Which wine takes 40 years to make and sits outside in barrels to bake in the sun? If you answered Mount Palomar’s Solera Cream Sherry you would be correct. This process originated in Spain’s Andalusia region and requires a multi- generational commitment. Here’s how it works.
When it comes to Sherry, older is better and Solera is an aging and natural baking process that consists of typically 5 steps over 5 years. The simplest way to explain this process is to imagine a stairway with 5 steps. On the first level you have the wine from the first year’s harvest. The next year’s harvest is placed in barrels on the next step up and so on for 5 consecutive years. This is the Solera. After 5 years Mount Palomar may bottle from the Solera. Tradition dictates that this wine is only bottled from the bottom row using only half the wine thus leaving this row of barrels half full. The row above refills the row below it with the new vintage entering the top of the Solera. The wine works its way down the Solera with none of the vintages ever actually being depleted more than half way. Solera is a continuous process that cannot be stopped for the Solera Date to be viable. Mount Palomar’s Solera is the oldest Sherry Solera in the US and was started in 1974, which is also their Solera Date. This means that a little bit of each Sherry vintage goes into every bottle since 1974. Cream Sherry refers to the amount of residual sugar, usually between 8 and 12%. The grapes used are Palomino and Pedro Ximenez which are estate grown.
Mount Palomar is one of only 2 remaining wineries in the US that feature the outdoor Solera process. Otherwise you will need to travel to Jerez in Spain’s Andalusia region on the extreme southern tip of the country. This makes Mount Palomar unique in the US. Check them out at www.mountpalomar.com. They are located at 33820 Rancho California Rd, Temecula, Calif. While there, be sure to have lunch at Shorty’s Bistro and tour their extensive park-like grounds. Future expansion is imminent with additional facilities that will include an outdoor amphitheater, hotel, restaurant and underground production facilities for their fine wines.
We are proud of our long relationship as a supplier of labels and packaging to Mount Palomar. AWC Packaging offers licensed and bonded cold-storage, for wineries and breweries as well as a fully stocked inventory of every packaging item used by the wine industry. Give us a call at 951-272-1080 and we will strive to exceed your expectations.