Episode 287 of I’ll Drink to That has been posted, and it features Antonio Flores of Sherry producer Gonzalez Byass. Flores is the chief oenologist and master blender of sherry at González Byass, in the Jerez region of Spain.
Over the course of many IDTT interviews, something of a pattern has emerged: old world wine stories are family stories, new world wine stories are pioneer stories. In the old world, what is happening today is often a continuation of what happened before. Because a grandfather planted vines, the grandson has old vines today, etc. In the new world, there was usually a break with the family habits of the past as the current generation decided to explore wine. The root of a new world wine story is often the decision to do something different, to pursue a route that is apart from the previous family life in the family home. Antonio Flores of Gonzalez Byass presents an interesting amalgam of both of these scenarios, as this is very much a family story in the tradition of the old world, but in his life he found himself in very different conditions than his father. Miguel Flores, Antonio’s father, had been at González Byass for 50 years. He oversaw the firm at a high water mark for the Sherry market. The entire town around him was dedicated to the Sherry industry, from coopers to bankers to bottlers. Antonio took over from his father in 1980, at what turned out to be the beginning of a decades-long decline for Sherry. But Antonio is a smart and capable person. How did he keep faith with the high standards set by his father while at the same time engaging with what has become a New World outside of his doorstep? That is the first 10 minutes of this interview. I recommend staying for the whole thing, but if you listen to the beginning you probably won’t need any additional prodding.
This episode also includes a Warm Up from Erin on the history of Jerez de la Frontera.
Listen to the stream above, or check it out in iTunes.
I’ll Drink to That is the world’s leading wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @levi_opens_wine