Wineries

COOPERATIVA CATÓLICO AGRÍCOLA

Brief History

The Cooperativa Católico Agricola (Agricultural Catholic Co-operative) was founded in 1922 by Chipiona priest Don Francisco de Lara y Araujo. Shocked by the hardship suffered by farmers who had no way of selling their grape harvest, he saw the need for a co-operative venture, in the spirit of the labour mutualisation movement of the time. A total of eighty-six men joined the Co-operative, driven by the vision of a better future; a handful of men who laboured with bricks and mortar to lay the foundations for a dream.

The Co-operative was built in Av. Nuestra Señora de Regla, but because of the increase of tourism in Chipiona town centre, it was later relocated to the outskirts of the town. Nowadays the Bodega is on two sites. The first is the production plant, located on the “Polígono Industrial La Lagunilla”, on the Sanlúcar-Chipiona road, where around two thousand 500 litre casks of sherry and “mosto” are produced each year from the Palomino grape, and around 600 casks of Moscatel wine. The second, where the wines are bottled, stored and aged, is located on Avenida de Regla. Here you can find the “soleras” and various wine shops.

In recent times the Cooperative has diversified its activities, taking advantage of the bars, restaurants and shops in its premises, and consequently generating added value for its members and for the people of Chipiona.

Processing cellar

The extremely high quality of the processing plant guarantees the production of the various wines and sherries produced by this bodega under the brand “Los Madroñales”: Moscatel, Fino, Cream or Oloroso. During the production process, they make “Mosto” (unfermented grape juice or fresh wine that has not been aged), which is highly valued by customers. All the wines are produced using traditional methods, enhanced by the new technology required to ensure maximum quality. A product truly symbolic of Chipiona is the “Moscatel de Pasas”, made from the “Pasil”, where the grapes are laid to dry for twelve days before use, giving a truly rich wine imbued with the sweet flavour of raisins.

Ageing and bottling

The organic Fino sherry “Los Madroñales” is pale, dry and fragrant, with a unique flavour made possible by the microclimate of the Guadalquivir River. It is much appreciated and is matured for three years in American oak casks before being sold.

The Moscatel is also aged in American oak casks. There are three types:

– Moscatel Los Madroñales: This is the standard Moscatel, a young and fruity wine with pale and dark varieties, aged for a year or more. It is a very fragrant sweet wine, pleasant to the palate.

– Moscatel Selecto Los Madroñales. This is the oldest variety, aged for at least eight years. It has a rich dark colour and lots of body and character.

– Moscatel de Pasas Los Madroñales. This is without a doubt the star product It is made from raisins and aged for at least two years in American oak casks, during which time its colour turns from light to dark mahogany. There is nothing quite like this warm but delicate wine, either in Spain or the rest of the world.

The cellar also has a bottling plant made up of stainless steel tanks, capable of producing 1300 bottles an hour. This use of the latest technology, together with the tradition and character of the wines, makes possible the high standard and appreciation in today’s market of the wines produced by this bodega.

Website: www.catolicoagricola.com

BODEGA JOSE MELLADO MARTIN

This winery was founded in 1974 when they bought the first cellar (now known as Bodega Alobasto) on Calle Castillo, eventually producing 1,500,000 litres of wine a year. In 1980 Mellado Martin acquired the company Florido Hnos, situated opposite Bodegón Alobasto, and it is in this cellar where they started aging and bottling their own wine, marketed later under their own brands, the most famous being Playa de Regla.

With some of the brands the founder paid tribute to his tragically deceased relatives: Oloroso Tio Roberto, Cream San Miguel, Moscatel Pasa Viña Blanca, and Moscatel de Pasas Soleras de la Abuela. The last one finally came on the market in 1985, achieving one of his greatest dreams: bottling a really high quality and prestige Moscatel, in tribute to his mother.

Other products bearing the brand are Fino Playa Regla, Moscatel Playa Regla and Jose Mellado Martin Vinegar.

A new bodega was built on the road to Rota in 1990, where the company centralized and modernized its business, always keeping alive the traditional production processes.
Subsequently they have opened bodegas on the Avenida de la Diputación and in the Market Square.

The outstanding wine from this bodega is the Moscatel de Pasas “Playa Regla Soleras de la Abuela”, which was very well received in the market, improving in quality every year and from the start enjoying good reviews from magazines in the sector. It picked up the prestigious Zarcillo Oro in 2007 in Valladolid (the third most important international award).

Visiting hours (by appointment only):
Monday to Friday from 08.00 to 15.00 and 18.00 to 20.00.
Saturdays and Sundays from 09.00 to 14.00.
Phone: 956 370 197
Website: www.moscateldechipiona.com

BODEGA CESAR FLORIDO

This is one of the earliest family wineries in the Marco de Jerez, dating from the 18th Century, and certainly the oldest in Chipiona. It produces a range of wines specific to the area: Fino, Cream, Oloroso, Amontillado and especially Muscatel, all of exceptional quality.

The Bodega César Florido is located on three different sites:
1. Calle Padre Lerchundi 35-37, comprising the company headquarters, office, grape-pressing plant, bottling plant and stock of ageing wine.
2. Calle Ladislao Carrascosa 19-23, where the wines are stored and aged.
3. Calle Castillo 17-19, where the stock is held.

All three facilities are located in the historic centre of Chipiona, where you can taste and buy the full range of wines produced by the company:

– Moscatel de Pasas: This is without a doubt one of the most celebrated moscatel wines in Spain. It is made from 100% Chipiona muscat grapes, dried in the sun using the “Pasil” process.
Its complex aromas are quite spectacular. Dense in the mouth, its powerful sweetness and texture of syrup makes it one of the best wines in the world.

– Fino César: This pale dry sherry comes from Palomino grapes harvested in Pago Miraflores and Balbaina, obtaining an extraordinary quality and finesse. Once in the bodega, it remains in casks under the traditional system of “criaderas and soleras” and marked by the regulatory council Jerez-Xérès-Sherry for at least three years. Its taste is classic, with some of the memories of old wood. In the mouth is light and soft, full of flavour and with a slight touch of the sea air. Drink it very cold!

– “Cruz del Mar” Cream Sherry: A sweet, dark oloroso wine, with dark colour. It has a deep, dusky flavour, a lot of body and is aged for four years minimum.

Awards and Honours won by Bodegas César Florido:

1900.- Universal Exposition. France. Gold Medal (Amontillado Peña del Águila)
1918.- Chicago, Bordeaux, Paris and Cádiz. Four Gold Medals. (Moscatel Triumphator)
1933.- Chicago. Gold Medal (Amontillado Peña del Águila)
1998.- Challenge Internacional Du Vin; Medalla Plata (Moscatel Pasas)
1999.- Challenge Internacional Du Vin; Medalla Oro (Moscatel Dorado)
2000.- Challenge Internacional Du Vin; Medalla Plata (Moscatel Especial)
2002.- Madrid. World Wine Fair. Silver Medal (Moscatel Pasas)
2003.- Radio Tourism. Gold Medal (Fino César)
2008.– Córdoba. Prizes Mezquita. Mezquita Silver. (Moscatel Especial)

Contact:
Bodegas César Florido
c/ Padre Lerchundi, 35-37
11550 Chipiona.- Cádiz
Phone: + 34 956 371 285
Fax: + 34 956 370 222
Website: www.bodegasflorido.com
Visits: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11.00 to 15.00.
Price: 4-6 € per person.

THE HISTORY OF MOSCATEL

This type of wine is bought by foreigners from all over the world, because they are people who like sweetness more than the Spanish people do, and pay for it as much as the owner wants.. In France and in Flanders it is widely used, but where it is more appreciated is in England”. (Carmona Bohorquez, 1638)

The production region of the wines protected by the D.O. (“Denominación de Origen”)
JEREZ-XÉRÈS-SHERRY”, includes land in the municipality of Chipiona, where the vast majority of Moscatel (or Muscatel) fortified wine is produced.

Moscatel is Chipiona’s most celebrated product. Other wines may look similar, but do not possess the same aroma or flavour. This is a result of the weather, the type of growing terrain, the techniques and experience used. The fact is, so far, no other Moscatel in Spain has this delicious and characteristic aroma.

Moscatel wine has been found in many parts of the world since ancient times. Originating in Africa, it is also known Muscat of Alexandría, Muscat Gordo or Spanish Moscatel.

The name comes from the Italian word “Moscatello”, a type of grape which has 18 varieties. It is said to grow better in coastal locations. The fat, sweet, white Muscat grapes are grown in Italy, Southern Portugal, and mainly in several Spanish regions, such as Cataluña, Levante, La Mancha and Western Andalucia. The variety grown around Chipiona is called “isidoro” or “isidori”.

After harvesting, the grapes are dried in the sun, usually for 15-20 days depending on the conditions. They lose much of their moisture but retain the sugar, becoming moscatel raisins.. Alcohol is used to prevent fermentation. This mixture produces a premium wine but with a high price, because a large quantity of grapes is needed to produce it. . It is customary therefore to mix it with the “listán” grape, producing a wine which is 18º alcohol and 8º liquor.

The colour of Moscatel wine, contrary to popular relief, is not black but pale gold. The dark colour comes from the “burnt” wine of Rota and Chipiona. This mixture is recognized by the regulatory board and besides giving colour to the wine, reduces its sweetness.

Moscatel was called the “bastard wine” in Ancient Times, because it does not follow the same rules as the regular winemaking process (alcohol is used to prevent fermentation). Historically, although the first news about viticulture comes from 1448, the type of cultivated vineyard was not specified, but presumably Moscatel wine was cultivated from the beginning because we know from contemporary records that already existed, it was exported and was much appreciated by foreigners. We can deduce then it had to be prestigious or famous many years before that.

This takes us back to the beginning of the agricultural production in Chipiona, which increased significantly in 1480 due to factors such as domestic consumption and exportation by sea. The repopulation project of Rodrigo Ponce de Leon (Marquis of Cadiz) required the new residents to plant vineyards. The same Marquis said, some years later, “Where before there was wasted and uninhabited land, now the population increases every day, and agriculture grows, mainly vineyards…”

Nowadays Chipiona has about 150 growers, who produce 270.000 kilos of grapes to be turned into 79.000 litres of muscatel wine, which has received awards in both international and national competitions. In late July and early August Chipiona celebrates the Moscatel Festival, which includes performances from famous singers and wine tasting (organized by the Town Hall).

In an interview with 112 year old Joan Riudavets Moll, a citizen from Cataluña (Northern Spain), Mr. Riudavets said he drinks a glass of Moscatel wine to inspire him.

Until a few decades ago there were dozens of winemakers and bodegas in Chipiona, nowadays only three of them have survived: Cesar Florido, Mellado Martín and the “Católico Agrícola” Cooperative.
Juan Luis Naval Molero
President of the Cultural Association Caepionis.