Classic aromas of Pedro Ximenez are Orange, Golden Raisins, Coffee, Dark Chocolate and Roasted Almonds

 

Pedro Ximenez is a white grape varietal from southern Spain in the region of Andalucia. It is known largely as 'PX' and is famous for the sticky Sherrys made in Jerez, also in southern Spain. It has been cultivated, as recorded in Andalucia since 1618 but it is most likely to be to have been cultivated in the region at least a few decades earlier than this. It is thought that the name of Ximenez comes from one of the most famous vintners in the region at the time of the 17th century.

At current standing there is 9,580ha of Pedro Ximenez throughout Spain though the fair majority of this is in the Monitlla-Moriles region in Andalucia. This is the historic home for Pedro Ximenez and here it makes both table white wines and fortified wines (not Sherry). A fair lot of the Pedro Ximenez grown in this region is grown here but sent down to the region of Jerez to be made into Sherry. The straight table white wines made from Pedro Ximenez are quite neutral in aromatics but have flavours of green mango, white nectarine and red apple when particularly ripe.

The Pedro Ximenez that makes its way down to Jerez for Sherry production are soon to be called 'liquid gold'. The grapes are picked then dried out to become raisins. This process of 'raisining' concentrates the sugars and aromatic compounds in the grapes as well as reducing the water content considerably. The grapes are then pressed, fermented and then made and aged as a Sherry. As the sugar content in the grapes (raisins) are so high the fermentation stops quite early as the yeasts can't handle all the excess sugar. This leaves a very high level of residual sugar leftover in the resulting wines, and Sherry wines. These 'PX' sherries are some of the stickiest and fantastic wines ever produced anywhere in the world. They are the liquid equivalent of raisins with adjoining aromatics of coffee, chocolate and brown sugar caramel. I often see them as "liquid date loaf."

There is also a touch of Pedro Ximenez planted in Portugal, Chile and Australia, though a fairly small amount in both countries. Portugal and Chile produce dry white wines made and Australia again makes sweet wines (both fortified and not).

 

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