In the second half of the eighteenth century Juan Sánchez de la Torre, a successful businessman and well-known philanthropist, came to the town of Jerez de la Frontera with the idea of dealing in its famous wines. By this time Jerez was already flourishing as the town at the centre of wine production and had been for many years. In fact there is evidence to show that wine was being imported from this region back in the fourteenth century.
In 1781 he set up his own bodega. He was soon to become much respected amongst the people of Jerez for the quality of his wines and the importance of his social and cultural works. With his assistance, education culture and the arts prospered. Through marriage the Romate family became involved with the Sherry trade.
More than a century ago now, in 1887, the Sanchez Romate Hnos. house laid down its first brandy solera. This Solera was brought into being in order to satisfy the needs of the Sanchez Romate family and a few intimate friends for a brandy of truly exquisite quality. The astonishing quality and excellence of the product led to the commercialisation of their brandy. Sanchez Romate Hnos built up their soleras in order to meet the demand of their product, without lowering the quality in the slightest.
Thus the Brandy Gran Reserva " Cardenal Mendoza" was born. Named after Pedro Gonázlez de Mendoza (1428-1495), son of the marquis of Santillana, humanist and statesman at the time of the Catholic monarchs, who became archbishop of Toledo and primate of Spain in 1482. Confidant of the Catholic monarchs Isabelle and Ferdinand, Who also played a big part in the discovery of America and the re-conquest of Spain in the Battle of Granada.
Until 1950 the firm, at the time managed by the Duke of Almodovar, remained in the hands of the family. In that year it was sold to a group of businessmen from Jerez.
Now over 200 years old Sanchez Romate Hnos. is one of the oldest bodegas in Spain and one of the few that remain in the hands of a Jerez family. This has allowed it to maintain its independence and respect for tradition.
This tradition of quality led Sanchez Romate to being awarded a royal warrant by King Alfonso XIII, They have also been purveyors to the Spanish Royal family, the House of Lords in London and the Vatican.
The bodegas where Sanchez Romate wines and brandies are aged and elaborated are located in the historical centre of Jerez de la Frontera, an internationally renowned town in the province of Cadiz, the southernmost of Spain the tip of the European continent.
The height of the ceilings in the bodegas helps maintain a stable temperature all throughout the year, as well as providing the adequate ventilation
The bodegas are orientated to the west so as to provide the smallest amount of sun light possible, the highest amount of humidity possible as well as good ventilation. The orientation and the elevated height of the windows impede sunlight ever reaching the casks.
Even the floor in the bodega is extremely important; it is composed of "tierra de albero" so as to maintain the humidity levels (70 %). In the hot seasons the floor is watered up to twice a day.
The walls in the bodega also contribute to the microclimate of the bodega. The walls are constructed using the traditional "canto" method and are over sixty centimetres thick.
All these factors contribute to a good crianza.
Sanchez Romate has its own vineyards on some of the best lands within the region for the wines covered by the Denomination of Origin "Jerez-Xérès-Sherry"
The vines are planted on the famous open, gently undulating horizons of Sherry vineyards, in which should be noted the unique chalky white albariza soil. Albariza (alba = white latin) is the ideal soil for the production of sherry for the following reasons:
The "albarizas" date from the tertiary period and were formed by the sedimentation of marine diatoms in the seawater of that period. They are therefore rich in calcium carbonate, containing between 30 and 40% and are typically composed of some 50 to 60 % of clay, 30 to 40 % mud and 15 to 20 % sand. The soil readily absorbs air and water. One of the great virtues of the soil is that it dries up without cracking, sealing in and slowly releasing water to the deep-rooted vines during the long rainless summers. The yield is relatively low compared to other types of soil, amounting to eight or nine butts (of 500 to 550 litres) per "aranza" (0·475 hectares or1·174 acres), but other types of soil with larger yields produce wine of coarser quality. One of the drawbacks to the high fertility soil however is prolific growth of weeds, so that it requires more tilling than other soils.
Cardenal Mendoza Non Plus Ultra
In commemoration of their second centenary Sanchez Romate Hnos. set aside 40 butts of "Cardenal Mendoza" to celebrate. This brandy came to light in 1981.
There are very limited amounts of this precious brandy and because of this a very small number of people are fortunate enough to gain access to it.
To see, smell and to taste this brandy is to open a door into history.
Non Plus Ultra is presented in en exclusive handcrafted glass decanter.
Appearance: Very dark mahogany, luminous, transparent, gleaming, exciting.
Aroma: Very round, clean, elegant, distinguished, old Oloroso, with hints of raisins and plums.
Taste: Perfectly balanced, warm, very smooth, with traces of old mahogany, long after tasteogany.
Size: 70 CL