Despite its name, Bodegas Tradición (Tradition) does not have a long history. It was founded in 1998 by Joaquín Rivero, a property magnate who managed to join the ranks of the wealthiest people in Spain. He revitalised his family’s wine tradition after securing 200 butts of very old wine -or botas, as they are locally known- and a historical building, formerly owned by the Domecq dynasty and located in the heart of Jerez.
Specialised in aging and storing brandy de Jerez and old wines classified as VOS (20+ years average age) and VORS (30+ years average age), Bodegas Tradición has recently started to produce an old fino aged 12 years on average (€23, 3,000 bottles). Dry and saline, this wine is used to top up Tradición’s amontillado, but the limited presence of such wines in the market led them to bottle a small amount as dry fino.
Launching the business with exclusively old wines in stock was a risky bet. In those years, with sherry’s popularity in the doldrums, they managed to sell only a few hundred bottles, a figure that nowadays has increased to 20,000. Nevertheless, their focus is quality, not quantity. The whole aging and bottling process is artisanal -each and every bottle is sealed manually and all front labels have their drawn-off date, lot and bottle number written by hand. Traditional high ceilings and sandy soils adorn the bodega, which has five criaderas (levels of storage) for all its wines except Palo Cortado, which has three, more common in Jerez.
As well as the old fino, the range includes several other wines and two brandies. All of them are elegant and complex. Amontillado Tradición VORS (€49, 3,600 bottles) has lived under a layer of yeast known as flor and with oxidative aging (with oxygen contact) for an average of 45 years and oozes elegance and concentration; Oloroso Tradición VORS (€49) gets its character from the 50 years it spends on average in old American oak butts -traditionally used in Jerez- that make the solera; Palo Cortado Tradición VORS (€63) is around 40-45 years old and combines complex sweet and almond-like aromas with nutty, saline flavors on the palate; at “only” 22 years old on average, Pedro Ximenez Tradición VOS (€59) is bottled found and at 15% to maintain freshness. Its 440gr of sugar per litre make it a good match for blue cheeses and sweet ice-creams.
They also have few butts of vintage añada sherry. A representative from the Regulatory Body of Jerez has to witness when these wines are drawn off for bottling – the butts are sealed with wax and ribbon at all other times. Tradition also produces two types of brandy: Viejo Solera Gran Reserva and Brandy Tradición Viejísimo Solera Gran Reserva, from soleras which used to belong to Agustín Blázquez, one of the leading producers in Marco de Jerez in the 19th century, which were later owned by Pedro Domecq.
As well as the unquestionable interest and quality of the wines, Tradición surprises visitors with an impressive painting collection. In 2006, a wing at the bodega was revamped to house the Joaquín Rivero Collection, Andalucía’s largest private art gallery with over 300 paintings by leading Spanish masters. Spanning the period between the 15th and 19th centuries, the collection includes the paintings of famous artists such as El Greco, Zurbarán, Velázquez and Goya, among others.
Tours of the winery are available from Monday to Friday as well as weekends upon request. The visit includes a tour of the cellar, the art gallery and a guided wine tasting.