The wine rests in order according to its different degrees of ageing.
The barrels are lined up in rows of three or four rows, each one of which constitutes a scale.
The row of barrels closest to the floor is called the “solera” and contains the oldest wine.
Each year a small proportion is removed from the solera for bottling, which is replaced with the same quantity from the next higher tier, called “first criadera”, which contains a slightly younger wine; the first criadera is replaced with the same quantity from the “second criadera”, which in turn contains an even younger wine; and so on until the last criadera, which is replaced with a quantity of the wine harvested from the last harvest.
At Álvaro Domecq we make between three and four “sacas” per year for the biologically aged wines, since the process of sacas and spraying favors the ageing process.
For the oxidative ageing wines, Olorosos, Amontillados, Palo Cortados, Cream and Pedro Ximénez, we make a single annual saca, to let them rest and age.