Montilla is the origin of the name Amontillado meaning ” in the style of Montilla.” And Be it Fino, Amontillado or Oloroso, Sherry is a complex, esoteric fortified wine with the versatility to go from apéritif to table wine to after-dinner sipper. Well known types such as Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso and more obscure wines like Palo Cortado and Rayas are still made very much in the ways of times long past. Because the grapes are exposed to unlimited sunshine they develop a high sugar content leading to above average alcohol contents after fermentation. In turn this permits wine makers to achieve around 15% alcohol content without having to fortify the wine with brandy as would be the case with Sherry made in Jerez. A quite distinct character emerges being entirely natural and defining the whole taste of the PX grape. Vital to the making of Montilla wines is the Solera system whose origin and antiquity is obscure. It is an unique blending and ageing system needed to ensure continuity of style, character and quality of Andalucian wines. There are several stages of ageing the new wine – the oldest stage being the Solera stage, the next oldest is the First Criadera , then the Second Criadera and so on. Solera is a system by which Sherry is aged. It is comprised of a number of groups of barrels called criaderas. Barrels are filled 5/6th of the way in order to allow the flor to grow. The criaderas are stacked on top of each other. Wines are taken from each previous criadera to refill the next oldest. Fresh wine is used to top off the barrels. Most Finos and Manzanillas spend at least 5 years in this system while Amontillados and Olorosos spend more than 10 years. There is rarely a vintage on these wines, but they can contain elements over 100 years old.