The Base Wine
Palomino grapes are hand picked and then gently whole-cluster pressed. Native yeasts ferment the must in neutral oak barrels and the wine is topped at dryness. In winter, the wine is fortified to 14.5% before it is blended into the solera in springtime.
Solera is a process of aging by which wine is fractionally blended in such a way that the finished product is a mixture of ages with the average age increasing as the process continues over time.
A solera consists of levels or "criaderas." Each year a portion of wine is bottled from the bottom layer (also called "Solera") and wine from the second layer is blended back in to maintain the same fill height. In turn, wine from the 3rd level is transferred to the second level and so on. This process makes room for new wine to be blended into the top level.
Fino-style sherry is defined by the influence of "flor," a veil of buoyant yeast that forms on the surface of Palomino wine as it ages. This flor is a strong antioxidant and protects the wine from browning while contributing its characteristic aromas and palate impact. To survive, the flor scavenges nutrients, trace sugars, as well as ethanol, which it converts to aldehyde. A common misunderstsanding is that the aldehydic qualities of fino sherry are from oxidation (like with most wine styles), when in fact the aldehyde is produced metabolically.
The solera process of fractionally blending keeps the flor alive for many years by nourishing it with the nutrients of younger wine.
The Flor of Evangelho solera has three criaderas, with the oldest wine dating back to 2017. The solera will develop greater nuance and complexity as its overall age increases.