The founder of Gonzalez Byass, Manuel Maria Gonzalez, named ‘Tio Pepe’ after his ‘Uncle Joe’ who created his pale, very dry white wine in 1844. Uncle Joe also helps to find funding on the first wine house. Tio Pepe is the most sold fino sherry in the world. 35cl bottle was bought for a price of 6.90€.
Tio Pepe is produced from Palomino Fino, a grape variety that grows in the chalky soil of Jerez. After wine making, it has been matured for 12 months on ex-bourbon barrels. During maturation, the flora (yeast growth) is born and it protects the wine from the oxidation. After barrel maturation it is classified and then the solera maturation is started. It is aged finally for a minimum of 5 years in the solera system.
For those who are used to white wines’ light taste Tio Pepe could be quite challenging. Nose is fresh and perky, there are some notes of olives, apple and peanuts. Taste is dry, sour and tight, a bit yeasty. Olives, dry apples, some florals and a bit of lemon juice. Aftertaste is briny and has some grapefruit like bitterness. You can feel the salty sea climate where it has matured many years.
Tio Pepe is very dry and tight on the beginning, but after the initial shock it opens slowly. If you can stand the dry, sour and a bit bitter taste at the beginning, you might start to like this but perhaps more than a couple glasses is needed. It’s the best on a short glass as an aperitif, with added sparkling water it is good also with the dinner. You can also try it on cocktails on subtitutle of dry vermouth.