The festivities commemorating conclude the V centenary of the first circumnavigation of the world by the Magellan-Elcano expedition, which set sail in 1519 and was completed by Juan Sebastián de Elcano and a handful of men on September 8, 1522.
An epic journey that allowed a new route to be opened to unite the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and thus go around the world for the first time.
González Byass has had the privilege of participating in the commemoration of such an important event, with the famous "Vinos de Ida y Vuelta". Wines that travel on board long overseas voyages to quench thirst and feed the crew, give meaning to religious services and, of course, marketing. These wines, upon their return and after months at sea, improved remarkably to the point of doubling their market price, which made this way of trading sherry wines proliferate. In the case of González Byass, we have extensively documented those that were carried out between 1837 and 1871. This practice became popular at a time when it was said; “el buen vino de Jerez, si al partir valía cinco, mareado vale diez”.
The improvement of wines at sea is reflected in such relevant works as, for example, the "Natural History" of Pliny the Elder of the 1st century BC. or in "The Works of Persiles and Sigismunda" by Miguel de Cervantes from 1616.
With the appearence of the steamboat, the winery tradition of sending these sailing wines "on a round trip" dissapeared, until González Byass, with the invaluable help of the Spanish Navy, recovers this winery tradition, to join us in this historical commemoration.
It was in 2018, on the 90th Midshipman Training Cruise of the Spanish Navy Training Ship, when we shipped the first of the three wines with which we have paid tribute to this feat.
XC Palo Cortado, an exceptional Palo Cortado that embarked on the School Ship in February 2018 to sail for 6 months and thus complete the 90th Instruction cruise that arrived in Cádiz on August 11, 2018. We were able to verify how the The continuous sway of the sea and the values of the Elcano crew were somehow transmitted to this sublime wine that returned to the winery tanned by the sun and salt.
In 2020, it was a cruise around the world, specifically number 12, completed by the brig-schooner, launched in the capital of Cadiz almost 100 years ago.
At the controls of the commander, Santiago De Colsa, it was a demanding cruise due to the global pandemic that kept the crew unable to disembark for 11 months. Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Miami were some of the ports of call on this tour of the world.
The Viña AB, a book Amontillado, was chosen to embark on August 11, 2020 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the Magallanes-Elcano world, docking in June 2021 in the city of Cádiz. Viña AB Estrella de los Mares is a wine whose selection in the cellar, by Antonio Flores, González Byass' winemaker, has not been by chance. A wine with the capacity to evolve and improve on its journey through the sea has been sought. That's how it has been, concentration of flavor and salinity in a wine that has grown, has been surpassed to reach the height of elegance in a glass.
The culmination of these years of homage is put by Tío Pepe, the most iconic wine from González Byass, which embarked on the School Ship on February 12, 2022 and which has traveled through the ports most linked to the history lived by the sailors of the expedition 500 years ago now. In Spain, the ship called at Barcelona, Santander and A Coruña, before heading to its base in the city of Cádiz with one of the most universal wines on board.
Its finesse and method of aging, under the “veil of flower”, made this adventure an oenological challenge that nature, the sea and the Spanish Armada have helped us to overcome in a remarkable way.
Upon the return to Cádiz, we were excited to see the noble effects of the sea in its constant swaying that causes, in the case of delicate fine wine, a curious phenomenon of "submerged aging" that gives singular characters to the wine with which we toast with the crew at home.
We taste these wines, in a unique historical space; General Archive of Indias, where the documents, relating to the first circumnavigation of the world, are carefully guarded; milestone that marked a before and after for the history of humanity, and of which we are proud to have formed part of its commemoration.
Our gratitude to the Spanish Navy and to the command and crew of the Juan Sebastián de Elcano Training Ship, on the XC, XCII and XCIV Training Cruises; as well as the direction of the General Archive of the Indies.
Training Ship "Juan Sebastián de Elcano"
"Ida y Vuelta" Wine Tasting Book
Place of the tasting in the Archivo de Indias
Speech by Mauricio González Gordon, President of González Byass and wine tasting with oenologist Antonio Flores in Archivo de Indias, Sevilla