The “solera” is an age old method of blending and maturing wines over a period of years to maintain uniformity of quality, age and character. Originating in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, the word derives from the Spanish “suelo” meaning ground or floor, since the final stage of the solera rests on the floor of the cellar, or on racks a few inches above it.
At Campbells, we use a modified solera system to age our Muscats and Topaques to ensure consistency of quality and we have a solera for each of the classifications of Muscat and Topaque. All Campbells Muscats and Topaques are aged in solera systems, many of which contain the wines of four generations of Campbells.
The solera is a series of up to five stages of casks which may be of varying size and placement. Each stage contains wine at successive stages of maturation. From the final stage, the finished mature wine is drawn for sale, and then each stage is progressively filled from the preceding stage with the youngest wine introduced at the earliest stage. So the wine moves slowly over the years through the casks until it reaches optimum maturity in the final stage. This in effect blends the individuality and variances of different vintages to create our unique and distinctive house style. It is also thought that the aeration and constant movement of the wine aids its development.
The wine introduced at the earliest stage is very carefully selected and allocated to the classifications in October each year from our reserves of young wine. The selection is based on Beaume, flavour and fruit weight according to the classification of the solera. The mature wine from the final stage can only be withdrawn for bottling if it passes the test of a triangular tasting. This is a blind tasting of the previous withdrawal against the current wine proposed for withdrawal. Provided there is no discernible difference in the three wines, a withdrawal can be made. This guarantees consistency of each classification of Muscat and Topaque.