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González Byass makes history with its Amontillado Viña AB "Estrella de los Mares"

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Amontillado Viña AB “Estrella de los Mares” has returned to the González Byass cellars. This Sherry has spent 10 months touring the world aboard the Spanish Navy’s “Juan Sebastián de Elcano Training Ship” on a voyage that has commemorated the first circumnavigation of the world, by Magellan-Elcano, 500 years ago.

Jerez de la Frontera, June 2021.- González Byass has written a new page in the history of the world of wine, with the return to its cellars of an Amontillado Sherry that has crossed the planet’s seas and oceans on board the Spanish Navy’s “Juan Sebastián de Elcano Training Ship”. The wine that made the journey was Viña AB “Estrella de los Mares” (Star of the Seas), whose name refers to the star that guided mariners at sea. González Byass loaded two half-butts of the wine onto the Spanish Navy’s training ship for it to make the “round trip”, a sherry makers’ tradition that consisted of sending butts on long voyages for the sea to enhance the wine’s development.

The two half-butts, each containing 250 litres of the wine, were loaded onto the 93rd midshipmen’s training voyage, which sailed from Cádiz in August 2020 and commemorated the first circumnavigation of the world, completed by the Magallanes-Elcano expedition 500 years ago. On that occasion, which was a feat of universal significance, Sherry worth five hundred and ninety thousand ‘reales’ was loaded onto the ship, according to the provisions ledger preserved in the Archivo de Indias. Five centuries later, thanks to the Spanish Navy, the Jerez winery has again sent a Sherry off to sail around the world, reviving an ancient custom whilst enabling the wine to develop in extraordinary fashion.

During the voyage, factors such as temperature, pressure and, above all, the continuous rolling of the waves subjects the wine to intense micro-oxygenation that accelerates the process of oxidation and extraction of the components of the wood. This has a positive influence on how the wine ages and develops, markedly improving its quality. In the old days, the effect of these various factors caused the value of the wines, known as vinos “mareados” (this is a word play as mareado means queasy but here clearly means ‘sent to sea’) or “there and back” wines, to quintuple.

As a result, many winery owners in the area used to send their wines on a “round trip” to increase their market value. With the arrival of steamships, the practice became defunct until 2018, when González Byass, in partnership with the Spanish Navy, loaded two butts of XC Palo Cortado onto the training Ship.

Now, after a journey across the oceans that took it to Montevideo (Uruguay), Punta Arenas (Chile), El Callao (Peru), Guayaquil (Ecuador), Acapulco (Mexico), Honolulu and Guam (U.S.A.), Cebu and Manila (Philippines), Tidur, Makassar and Jakarta (Indonesia), Goa (India) and Salalah (Oman), this jewel has returned to the González Byass and will now be bottled.

The result will be Viña AB “Estrella de los Mares”, a wine that, through a combination of the circumstances surrounding the voyage and evaporation causing part of the content of each butt to concentrate, has developed spectacularly. Time and the environmental conditions have imbued the wine with a deep amber colour and increased its complexity. Markedly influenced by its long biological ageing, its salty component has been enhanced by the sea air. This is an exclusive, rare wine that signals González Byass’ commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the first round-the-world trip by sailing ship.


Signing the Delivery Manifest at the González Byass Cellars

The two half-butts were received at the González Byass cellars in Jerez de la Frontera, where González Byass President Mauricio González-Gordon and the training Ship’s Captain, Santiago de Colsa, signed the Delivery Manifest. The document certifies that the wine travelled on and successfully completed the 93rd instruction voyage by the Juan Sebastián de Elcano. To mark the occasion, the Jerez winery’s winemaker, Antonio Flores, led a tasting of the Amontillado Viña AB and the Amontillado Viña AB “Estrella de los Mares”, reviewing how the wine had developed as a result of the voyage.

Others attending the event included González Byass Vice-President, Pedro Rebuelta; González Byass CEO, Jorge A. Grosse; Admiral of the Fleet (ALFLOT) Eugenio Díaz del Río; José Núñez Torrente, Admiral-in-Chief of the Cuartel General Marítimo de Alta Disponibilidad (General Maritime Rapid Deployment Headquarters) and Ricardo Hernández López, Admiral at the Cádiz Arsenal.

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