Wine Advocate 96
"The dark amber-hued non-vintage East India Solera is essentially an old Oloroso blended with an old Pedro Ximenez, which gives it a sweet character. It offers more mature notes of maple syrup, brown sugar, spice box, raisin and chocolate beer nuts, and its terrific balancing acidity cuts through the sweetness. This delicious effort is best drunk after the meal.
Lustau made its reputation in the foreign markets with its extraordinary single cask Almacenistas which had been accumulated by the family over many years as their soleras are among the oldest in Sherry. The family also owns over 500 acres of vineyards. These are all remarkable efforts for their stunning value. While they are still under-the-radar for most American wine lovers, I encourage readers to give them a try as they are great introductory reference points for how profound sherry can be. I first wrote about the extraordinary sherries of Emilio Lustau many years ago, in the early days of The Wine Advocate. The portfolio of under $25 a bottle selections represents remarkable value for their complex, well-made personalities. Lustau includes a bottling date code as purchasers would want to buy Finos and Manzanillas as young as possible. It is difficult to describe the glories of sherry, but I’ll try. These Solera Reservas are all great reference points at a low price point from Lustau. None of the Almacenista soleras, which are single cask and very limited bottlings, are reviewed since they are priced over $25 a bottle, but they can be as profound as any alcoholic beverage in the world." ~ RP
" Perhaps the best value dessert wine in the Lustau portfolio. This extraordinary Cream Sherry seeks to replicate the ancient style of Cream Sherry that was discovered quite by accident. Trading ships sailing to the Indies in the 16th century frequently carried butts (barrels) of sweet sherry lashed to their decks or in their holds as ballast. After travelling through the tropics, it was discovered that the heat and humidity had matured the wine and given it a wonderful smooth texture. Lustau has recreated this process by heating and controlling the amount of air allowed in the warehouse where the East India Solera is matured. The result is an exceptional dessert wine with a smooth, sweet taste reminiscent of figs, coffee, caramel and nuts and just enough acidity to give it balance. This mouth-wateringly delicious wine can be served on its own, as a digestif, or with desserts such as puddings, tarts, cakes or chocolate-covered nuts. ~ Winery notes
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"Simply staggering in quality... Sherries such as these remain among the last great unknown wine bargains of the world. They must be tasted to be believed!"
Emilio Lustau SA was founded in 1896 by Don José Ruiz-Berdejo. In the beginning, Lustau was essentially an Almacenista, a modest estate with small holdings that sold most of its wine to large exporting Bodegas. It was not until the 1950s that Lustau became Emilio Lustau SA, and it joined the prestigious ranks of a select group of exporters of Sherry. In the early 1980s, Emilio Lustau SA, then under the management of the late Rafael Balao, became one of the most innovative companies in Jerez, launching the "Almacenista" line and creating the distinctive bottle that we know today. Lustau is now widely considered one of the finest producers of Sherry, with their Almacenista line breaking new ground in hand-crafted, boutique wines. These Sherries, drawing on rare and marvelous wines held by small producers, are some of the finest Sherries made today.
Lustau offers a wide array of Sherries; bone-dry Finos are wonderful matches with garlic-y shrimp and langostinos. Racy Amontillados balance power with finesse and are wonderful with nuts, olives, cheeses, and jamon Serrano. Powerful Olorosos can be served during a meal and match well with traditional soups and stews. Of course, the wide range of dessert wines from Lustau are unparalleled; the elegant East India Cream Sherry is as soft as silk, the Moscatels offers a delightful citrus edge that keeps the wines lively on the palate while the dark Pedro Ximenez is best served as a "syrup" over vanilla ice cream, pancakes or waffles.