Curro from “La Blanquita” and the Secret of the “Blanduras”3 November 2016
The “Pago de los Tercios” is a strip of albarizas between El Puerto de Santa Maria and Jerez de la Frontera, bounded by the road that joins Jerez and Sanlúcar. “Balbaína” and “Los Tercios” occupy the heart of the imaginary triangle that many scholars refer to, putting as vertices of it, the three municipalities of the D.O. Jerez-Xerés-Sherry. “Los Tercios” is also an historical “Pago” of Pedro Ximenez. In that land commands, a heavy, feudal and hearty figure. An old winegrower who owns one of the largest vineyards of the contour: “La Blanquita”. This soul-young octogenarian treasures an extraordinary wine culture. But when he speaks about “life itself”, he leaves astonished even the most erudite of the sociologists. His name is Francisco Barba, but we all know him as “Curro from La Blanquita”.
To Curro many friends go to learn, share our experiences in the field, or just to taste his wine and participate in his social gatherings of painters, writers, winemakers and even politicians, that appear there without notice, with the only condition to drink until losing count of the wines you drink and always invited by him.
This vintage I needed his advice about an intense “night dew”, in Jerez we call it “blanduras”, equivalent to a vaporous and light rain on the land. The harvest has been particularly unproductive and I was worried about a possible rottenness of the grapes due to the excess of humidity.
Curro asked me to meet at 5:30 in the morning at his vineyard -at that time, with his 81 years, he begins to work every day-. It was still dark when I arrived; he invited me to have a glass of brandy and took my arm saying: “Calm down Jose Antonio, the secret of the “blanduras” is that thanks to them, the skin does not lose acidity, so the wine gets balanced, especially if it is sweet … Do not worry. Now have another glass of brandy, tomorrow the sun will rise and the grapes will dry up. Although this year has more “blanduras” than ever, the sun will help you… “. And I left his vineyard calm and convinced to keep going with my harvest.
At the end, as Curro said, the sun came out… We were able to combine maturity with natural acidity. And although we all know that the life of a wine depends on its acidity, “very few know that in Jerez, that acidity before depends on the “blanduras”. Thank You Curro.