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My only real tasting note to post from the NorCal Party.
Sugar cube coated in carmel/chocolate, finish forever, perfectly balanced, not a flaw, not even a detractor in any way in my opinion, sweet tooth definately required. No rating, there is no comparison. I was all excited 'cause I thought Winebrat was going to bring a nice 80 to 120 year old Madeira, boy did I underestimate this guys generosity. When I saw the 1730 on the label I thought it was a brand name [Roll Eyes] An absolute treasure for me. Thank you again for sharing a wonderful, wonderful wine. [Big Grin]

[ 08-13-2002, 07:37 AM: Message edited by: stealthman_1 ]
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I bought the wine at a sherry store in Jerez Spain. The sherry store was a block away from Sandeman's sherry bodega. I won't disclose what I paid for it, but it was well worth the hall through the country. It was recently bottled so no worries about old corks. They bottled it with a tee cap. The label was brand new. I would have taken the bottle home as a souvenir but somebody walked away with it at the end of the evening [Frown] .

[ 08-14-2002, 05:30 PM: Message edited by: winebrat ]
I hate to cast a shadow of suspicion over the forum, but "1730" IS a brand name. If the bottle is black and the 1730 is serigraphed on the bottle in big reddish stylish print, then it's by no means a vintage date. The price should have been high but not ruinous depending on its real age ($30 to $100) and the producer could be either Pilar Aranda or Garvey, especially the latter. Garvey has bottlings of all types of Sherry in a 1730 lineup both in V.O.S. (20+) and V.O.R.S. (30+) levels of age. Notice the "+" which means anything over 50 years of age (which is in fact the case of Domecq's top bottles, for example) can only aspire to be identified as VORS though almost twice the age.
This is by no means intended to disappoint you: consider that if I'm right any of you could repeat the experience either by visiting Spain or by checking out the sherry retailers around your area...Besides, I bet the U.S. pricing of sherry will not be brutally unfair, as sherry producers are kind of desperate for promotion abroad. [Wink]
Well, I am disapointed. I think I paid about $140us. And I was taken. The Spanish man at the store spoke perfect english so their was no chance of confusion. He took me. Damn I hate being a tourist sometimes. It was still awesome though. Sorry for the confusion. This was by no means intended on my part to fool anybody. A few of the people sitting at my table are friends of mine and they know how I collect and share older Port, Madeira, and Sherry. I thought I stumbled upon something great [Frown]

"1730" must be Pilar Aranda, NOT Garvey (they use a "1780" label, sorry).
Therefore you need not feel taken in at all, as I don't know what $ they fetch. $100 is about as much as I remember seeing for a superb PX (and apparently that's what you got anyway, why care about the date??) but I ignore to what extent the absurdly diminutive production of these wines (often 150 bottles per year) may have provoked a boost in prices.
Of course, you know what your enthusiasm was about and you're free to feel disappointed, but in general I'd say there's no such a thing as the product you dreamed about. Vintage sherry is very rare, and the old dates in labels usually refer to the date when the solera was initiated. The fact that it is refreshed evry now and then makes it impossible to be certain about exact age of blends, but the best often average 40-60 years.
My favorite PX for my money average 30 and I can't imagine any better.
Having said that, PX from Montilla-Moriles (not exactly sherry region, but not an inch behind) sometimes carry a vintage date (1975 latest release, for 14$), and the museum releases of Bodegas Toro Albalá include wines from as early as 1939 (for a hefty couple of hundred, and no one is quite sure they're any better that younger stuff).
You see, Sherry is not Madeira in the sense that AGE (on an "older is better" basis) need not be so desirable after a certain limit. I have many old olorosos of about 20-40 years of age that are somewhat aggressive/spirity in the mouth (due to extended aging in wood, and evaporation). The nose is glorious but I don't enjoy drinking them as much. With a PX the problem is certainly not that, but a vintage PX from 1730 (if it existed) ought to cost several thousand bucks and be only 10 times as interesting as a 30-50 year old solera version, just for the sake of age, an auction rarity. Meanwhile you should be able to enjoy the best solera versions from (Spanish prices) 20-70 €. IMHO you ought to be happy, at least about prospective repetitions/incursions in this field. [Big Grin] ?
If "almost" means you didn't buy it then my purpose has backfired. Of course I ignore what you're being asked for, but that winery has disappeared completely (the solera ran dry) and there's no human way of getting any more of that wine, which incidentally ought to be excellent, and doubly expensive as an extinct rarity.

Now in general:

I've always been rather suspicious of Sherry bodegas saying things like "the only reason why we don't get higher ratings in the US is that Americans are so obsessed with vintage dates that they simply won't recommend a wine when they believe there's no way of guaranteeing the consistency of the product (whereas in fact the solera system of course guarantees the homogeneity of the product like no other)" but now I'm getting to verify this in person: Why all this fuss with mediaeval dates on bottles? If you like the contents why do you feel disappointed with the non-vintageness of it?
Do you ever drink Aussie stickies? Why do such terms as "Museum Release" or "Rare Special" sound less tricky than "Solera 1910"? If you enjoy Chambers muscats enough to pay what they fetch and you travel to Rutherglen, ask the guy the real average age of the product and get something like "this is a solera from ---- but no vintage stuff," will you stop enjoying the wine?

Sorry, I re-read and see I may be sounding overexcited, but it seems to me that you're questioning a system that's older than our greatgrandparents on the basis that it simply isn't "chic." All I can say is there is no vintage Sherry/Montilla for sale in the regular trade any older than the first decades of this century, and when it comes to dry vintage sherry I think one of the very few houses doing it is González-Byass, where the current releases are around the late 60s-early 70s. If that doesn't blow your nose away the vintage date on the label won't either.
For 19C vintage stuff decidedly try Madeira.
I get your point, Gastronauta. I was unaware that this winery no longer existed, and this could very well explain the asking price. Do you happen to know when they closed? And please don’t get me wrong, the Solera system IS a great way to ensure constant quality. It is just that I am more used to a year on a bottle to be a vintage (harvest) year.

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