Our journey as importers began with an initial expedition to Spain in September of 1983. Slowly awakening from decades of slumber, Spain’s wine industry promised much to avid young aficionados of European terroir. The journey was carefully planned, and had as its final objective a pilgrimage to Sanlúcar de Barrameda to experience the intricacies of that greatest and most enigmatic of dry white wines, Manzanilla.
The trip was framed by two architectural landmarks, beginning in Barcelona with a visit to Gaudi’s (very unfinished at the time!) Sagrada Familia. Two long weeks on the road—filled with adventures involving the first meeting of an American in the small pueblos of Spain’s highland backcountry—culminated near Sanlúcar on the Atlantic in Chipiona, home of Spain’s tallest lighthouse, a classic of the mid-19th century. A solitary walk along Chipiona’s popular beach and subsequent lunch at the foot of the lighthouse consisting of fried fish (pescaíto frito) with chilled Manzanilla have provided a lifelong memory that has served to lift spirits even on the most difficult of days.
In 2016, emergence of Bodegas Yuste as a leading producer of Manzanilla offered a revitalizing challenge and opportunity that we could not resist. Paco Yuste, dedicating his family’s resources from the beverage distribution trade, built his Manzanilla business over 25 years, in the process saving classic bodegas and soleras from demise at the hands of developers, large shippers and impatient bankers.
2015 acquisition of the iconic Aurora brand and solera provided the impetus for export launch. Aurora Manzanilla by Yuste was quickly recognized for its outstanding quality with a Gold Medal at the 2016 International Wine Challenge, the only such Gold in its category.
La Kika Manzanilla Pasada, from a 19th-century solera with wines averaging over ten years old, is named for Paco’s mother Caridad (“Kika”). It is bottled on order directly from cask and represents Manzanilla at its historic finest.