Sanlúcar native Paco Yuste always has known where he was going and what he needed to do to get there.
Determination is one of three-hundred pound Paco’s primary attributes. Physical presence is another. He is not a man one gets in the way of, nor is he one easily dissuaded from his path.
After a long and successful career as an almacenistas, a specialty broker who buys young wines from farmers, ages them in soleras on his own premises and in turn sells mature selections to large producers, Paco Yuste has risen beyond this elite merchant status and added a new role to his resume. He has become a preserver of classic old Sherry bodegas, some containing rare soleras started over a century ago.
In California we’re getting acquainted with Paco Yuste through his amazing Aurora Sherries, available in our market for just over a year. But in Sanlúcar, Paco Yuste is a VIP with high visibility, someone widely respected for his thirty-year career as one of the region’s premiere Sherry merchants.
More recently Paco’s ongoing efforts to rescue some of Sanlúcar’s oldest bodegas from complete dilapidation have gained him an almost spiritual status to the locals as a preserver of a key part of their indigenous culture. Without Paco’s willingness to step in, it’s likely that a classic piece of Sanlúcar history would disappear forever. Here’s the back story.
Old-timers remember Paco Yuste as the man who brought Coca Cola to Sanlúcar. He made good money in this role and soon was able to indulge his real interest in life, producing fine Manzanilla Sherry. Paco’s roots are in Sanlúcar. Perhaps that’s why he overachieved quickly as an almacenistas.
His native understanding of Sanlúcar’s twin terroirs – both the Albariza soil, a gift of the nearby Atlantic, a major influence on the development of the region’s unique native flor, and the local bodegas where this singular flor has enjoyed steady cultivation for generations, seemed to come naturally to Paco. His Manzanillas were delicious and immediately sold very well.