Gonzalez Byass Palmas Sherries – 2012 release

by Andrew Hooper

We are delighted to offer the second release of Gonzalez Byass’ rare and delicious Palmas range of sherries.

Since the 1880s Gonzalez Byass has used the Palmas system to classify its highest quality Finos. The traditional ‘palma’ chalk mark was made on the barrel to indicate wines of exceptional finesse and delicacy of aroma with the youngest given ‘una palma’ up to ‘cuatro palmas’ for the oldest and rarest casks.

Very limited quantities of these exceptional sherries are drawn from the cask in the Autumn and bottled unfiltered and unclarified – ‘en rama’. The Una, Dos and Tres Palmas are sherries originally from the famous Tio Pepe solera but that have retained their delicate coating of flor despite their increasing age. The oldest and rarest, the Cuatro Palmas, is around 40 years old and is from one of six exceptional barrels in the Gonzalez Byass cellar, two of which have now been bottled leaving only four more possible future releases.

Quantities, especially of the Tres and Cuatro Palmas, are very limited.

All are bottled in 50cl bottles.

You can of course just go to the site and type in ‘palma’ in the search field to see them all, and to add odd bottles to any order.


‘Una Palma’ 6 bottles £71.70
A six year old Fino selected from a number of casks ageing under a layer of Flor. Aromatic and delicately textured this is very dry, but less austere than many Fino with an elegance that makes it very easy to drink.

‘Dos Palmas’ 6 bottles £95.70
An eight year old Fino selected from a couple of Fino casks still retaining a delicate layer of Flor. Moving into a Fino/Amontillado style this is more intense (than the Una Palma) and much more concentrated. The flavour is fuller and drier and very long on the finish.

‘Tres Palmas’ 6 bottles £207
It is very rare for a Fino to still retain a layer of Flor after ten years but this is taken from the very small number of barrels that do. This is on the cusp of still being a Fino, and moving really into Amontillado territory, and yet the wine still retains some of the freshness and lighter body of a Fino.

‘Cuatro Palmas’ 6 bottles £299.70
An extremely rare forty five year old fino sherry (although as last year this is labelled ‘amontillado’ for political reasons) drawn from one of six casks known as ‘Museo Solera’. Deep in colour, intense on the nose, rich and nutty, this is totally awesome. Bone dry and yet richly textured with tremendous length.

The Una, Dos and Tres Palmas are fine delicate Finos to be enjoyed immediately or, at least, within 6 to 9 months of bottling.  The Cuatro Palmas may be kept for up to 2 years before opening.



Should you be tempted by more than one of the Gonzalez Byass Palmas, why not treat yourself to a mixed half-dozen…

3 bottles ‘Una Palma’ and 3 bottles ‘Dos Palmas’

2 bottles ‘Una Palma’, 2 bottles ‘Dos Palmas’ and 1 bottle each of the ‘Tres Palmas’ and ‘Cuatro Palmas’

To order, call your local LEA & SANDEMAN or order on-line.

Anthony Rose wrote of his experience of being part of the selection process in The Independent on Saturday “…the opportunity to join in the blending was not to be missed… Una is the most delicate, Dos more yeasty and brioche-like, Tres starting to develop nuttier, buttery notes…. For the rarest, Cuatro Palmas, we chose the nuttiest, most concentrated, amontillado-like of the six remaining barrels aged 40 plus… …Check now if you’re interested because they’ll fly.”