Founded in 1772 by Englishman Thomas Osborne Mann in El Puerto de Santa María, the firm had early and close connections with the British Consul, Sir James Duff of the famous firm of Duff Gordon, and eventually acquired it. Both firms shared the same manager, Juan Nicolas Böhl de Faber, whose daughter Cecilia would become the famous author Fernán Caballero, while Thomas Osborne married his other daughter, Aurora. The firm grew in prominence and owned many bodegas in the Campo de Guia area of the town, and the family was the prime mover in the construction of the bull ring.
The bull became the company’s logo, and as a form of promotion for their Veterano brandy, once Spain’s best seller, ninety massive bull-shaped billboards was erected near major roads throughout Spain. Due to changes in the law, they can no longer carry advertising but everybody knows what they mean. With the success of their brandies, Osborne began to diversify and acquired Anís del Mono, Rioja Montecillo, Cinco Jotas Jabugo ham, Nordés gin, Sherry soleras from Bobadilla and very old Sherry and brandy soleras formerly belonging to Domecq. They also have a huge table wine making operation near Toledo and distribute a wide range of third party products.
The company – or more correctly group – remains in family hands, and while its focus has now extended far beyond Sherry, its bodegas still contain some wonderful old soleras, some dating back to the XVIII century. The more everyday wines are all excellent examples of their type and one, the Fino Coquinero, is of a type which has largely disappeared: Fino-Amontillado, an older Fino with hints of Amontillado character giving it more depth and seriousness.
Made by Osborne who are based in El Puerto de Santa Maria. Here the river Guadalete meets the Atlantic and the town has a maritime atmosphere which is beneficial for the flor yeast and gives the wine a little extra freshness. Like all Finos it is matured under a film of natural yeasts (flor) which keeps the wine pale and dry and gives it its...
Coquinero is local slang for a person from El Puerto de Santa Maria, where this superb wine comes from. It takes the notion of Fino to another level as it starts life as Fino Quinta and after ageing full term as a Fino it is fortified to 17% to remove the flor yeast and then aged again, this time oxidatively for a further two years in a separate solera....
Named after a famous Spanish victory over Napoleón in 1808, this is an excellent example of Oloroso. The word means "fragrant" and it certainly is. Flor yeasts do not appear on Oloroso wines so they are fortified straight away and aged oxidatively from the start. This imparts a warm Brown color and generous bouquet to the wine.
Oloroso 10 RF is a Medium Sherry, slightly sweeter than dry Oloroso and not as sweet as Cream. It is made with 90% dry Oloroso and 10% Pedro Ximenez which are blended together and then aged in solera till reaching an average age of six years. This is a very traditional style, especially for export, and is also very useful both for drinking and for cooking.