Bodegas El Maestro Amontillado 1830
A winery founded in 1832 by Jose Antonio Sierra, who was a master carpenter. As a master carpenter he was responsible for building barrels for all the major Sherry houses. Recognized as one of the top coopers in the area, he longed to become involved in the Sherry trade itself. In 1832 he set about building a small winery with the aim of making the best Sherries possible. As this business was dominated by the nobility, a start-up such as his was not very welcome. After many hardships he was able to establish and grow his business becoming one of the top Almacenistas (stockholders) of high quality Sherries. Poking fun at his struggle, the label depicts an allegorical fox hunt with the “Nobles” hunting the fox (Maestro Sierra).
Pilar Pla Pechovierto currently owns Maestro Sierra. She is assisted by Ana Cabestrero and Juan Clavijo who is the Capataz (more below on the job description of a Capataz). Doña Pilar is a widow whose husband was a direct descendent of the Sierra family. She respected her husband’s wish that the winery remain in operation and over the last thirty years she has kept the winery open, selling very limited stocks of wine to a few of the large Sherry houses. Because the wines have virtually remained unmoved due to the almost non existent business, the stocks at Maestro Sierra are some of the oldest in Jerez
The other important aspect of the winery is that since the wines have seen little sales the stocks have remained virtually untouched for the last thirty years. The soleras at the winery are easily over 60 years old and some might be close to 100 years old. The larger houses have pillaged their old soleras, leaving them with little old wine. Unfortunately the legistation only allows for wines to be labeled as old as 30 years old (VORS). They also maintain an inhouse cooper to uphold the tradition of their heritage. By anyone’s standard the crown jewel of Sherry is Maestro Sierra.