We’ve got a very special dry sherry in this week from Gonzalez Byass. It’s Tio Pepe En Rama 2024 release and with the weather warming up, probably, it won’t hang around for long. 

What’s the most refreshing drink on a summer’s day? There are many contenders for the title: a crisp G&T made with plenty of ice, a chilled lager poured into a frozen glass, or a Paloma, a blend of Tequila and grapefruit fizz. However, there’s one that for me tops them all, a well-chilled copita of fino sherry. When the mercury is rising, do as they do in Andalusia, and reach for sherry.

We’ve got a particularly fine fino to enjoy lazy Sundays in the garden with: Tio Pepe En Rama 2024 release. This is made by one of the biggest and best names in the region, Gonzalez Byass, and it’s a limited release of their bestselling Tio Pepe fino.

Gonzalez Byass bodega in Jerez

Gonzalez Byass bodega in Jerez home of Tio Pepe

What is En Rama sherry?

The word ‘rama’ literally means ‘branch’ or ‘on the vine’ which translates roughly as ‘in its natural state’. There’s no legal definition but the best way to think of En Rama is how sherry tastes straight out of the barrel before it is blended and filtered into a consistent product. The first sherry labelled En Rama was launched back in 1999 by Barbadillo but it was when Gonzalez Byass launched its Tio Pepe En Rama in 2009 that the style really took off. It was a revelation trying it next to the ordinary Tio Pepe, the world’s best selling fino. 

Martin Skelton from Gonzalez Byass told me that the sherry changed in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Finos used to be closer to amontillados in colour and flavour but with new technology such as temperature-controlled fermentation and sterile filtering they became the pale products like Tio Pepe or Manzanilla La Gitana that we know today. Don’t get me wrong, these are delicious wines: consistent, moreish and excellent value for money. En Ramas in contrast tend to be fuller, richer and darker, in short wines to savour slowly.

Tio Pepe En Rama 2024 release

I’ve been following the En Rama releases from Tio Pepe since 2014. They tend to fall into two camps: ones that are full-bodied and almost moving into amontillado territory and ones that are resolutely fino-like but with all the flavours turned up. The 2024 is definitely in the latter camp initially with a lean, salty edge to it but I drank it over five days and by the end it was showing its richer side while remaining as fresh as a daisy. It comes from the best barrels from the historic Constancia and Rebollo soleras. The latter being the founding solera behind Tío Pepe. So it contains minute quantities of the first wines.

Winemaker Antonio Flores commented: “This is a very expressive edition of Tío Pepe En Rama with more pronounced minerality than we saw in 2023. This is a breathtaking wine, and we are proud to continue this tradition for its 15th year.” 

I’m not going to argue with Senor Flores. The price is an absolute steal. Buy a bottle, chill it and enjoy in the garden with some olives and salted almonds. 

Tio Pepe En Rama 2024 release is available from Master of Malt. Click on links for prices and to buy.

Tio Pepe En Rama 2024

Tasting note for Tio Pepe En Rama 2024 release

Nose: Lean and lemony on the nose with saline notes, green apple and subtle toffee notes coming through. 

Palate: Very fresh and salty, lean and zingy, but with time you will begin to find richer notes like cooked apple, butterscotch and caramel. 

Finish: Toasted almonds on the finish.