Sherry and Andalusia: Unrivaled home to ancient vine culture in Iberia
Sherry and Andalusia
The Sherry region is located in Spain’s Southwestern Andalusian coast and the Southernmost point of continental Europe. The wine produced here most certainly does not lack in character. Jerez de la Frontera is the center of Sherry production. The best vineyards gently roll over low hills that arc north and west of the town of Jerez. The vineyards of Jerez spread over an area of about 22,000 hectares in an almost flat desolate landscape, swept by the prevailing winds from the Atlantic that bring rain, and sometimes from the other Southeasterly wind, the Levante that blows on the land to severely dry it up again.
Sherry occupies the most prestigious area of production, which spreads within a triangle area, from an inland point north of the town of Jerez de Ia Frontera to the small towns of Puerto de Santa Maria on the Bay of Cadiz and Sanlucar de Barrameda on the Atlantic shore at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River. The river Guadalete crosses the area, passing Jerez and running into the Bay of Cadiz. At the heart of the district, the triangle formed by the three main towns is known as 'Jerez Superior' or 'Superior' by Sherry's local DO governing body. The DO rules explicitly demand that bodegas in the PDO buy a proportion of its grapes from Superior Sherry.
Why we like this wine region
Jerez de la Frontera is one of our favourite destinations in Andalusia. This region of southern Spain has much more to reveal than you may initially realise! Life in general, and around vineyards in particular can be vibrant almost all year round. A journey in the South is always a moment of contemplation. When exposed to this unworried and easygoing lifestyle, one likes to understand the intricacies of all sorts of emotions that visitors can be exposed to.
The thrilling experience of the first visit in Jerez and Seville was such that we returned looking for a more profound experience. After returning several times, one of us decided to settle near Jerez. A clear indication that this place had become our gateway to Andalusia, and to the fabled destinations of Seville, Cordoba, Granada, the natural sites like Doñana National Park, Los Alcornocales, Sierra Morena and Sierra Nevada parks. Settling in the South gave us access to many Sherry bodegas and century-long history institutions, some of whom were founded by renowned British Catholic families. Jerez is a slowly growing tourist destination. There are many well known Sherry bodegas, some small houses, along with some very famous names. With dozens of orange trees displaying flamboyant white blossoms. In spring, millions of waxy white azahares flowers scent the air and perfume the streets. There are plenty of opportunities for coming across noticeable Moorish influences, with numerous eye-catching churches.
Jerez has a second claim to fame: the exceptional Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art. This is both an institution in Spain and worldwide. Here, Arabic and Andalusian horses have been dressed for years. It is worth seeing a horse dance performance and their abilities to bond with their rider, magnificently choreographed under the rhythm of flamenco guitar. It adds to the intensity and can only make us want to venture further into taverns and flamenco clubs hidden in small cobbled streets and squares, until late in the evening and continue into the small hours of the night.
Just a little word of thanks for your Slowwines people! I thought our trip got off to a bad start, as upon arrival at the airport in Madrid, the rental car agency never seem to have heard of us! We called the Spanish office straight away and in less than half an hour, we had a nice car to start our self-drive tour to Ribera del Duero. Instructions were clear, this wasn't just a map an a few directions. The tour itself was perfectly timed and measured! We never drove long distances and arrived at the scheduled visits without hurrying! That was pure pleasure.
My sister and I are from the United States and were in Salamanca for a week visiting my niece. We noticed a pamphlet advertising a one day Sierra de Salamanca tour and thought we would give it a try....I am so glad we did! We had an absolutely picture perfect day visiting several quaint villages and touring an organic winery.
Helena and Pierre were fantastic hosts. I hope to return one day to experience a longer tour. If you love wine, do yourself a favor and contact Slowwines.
- Majestic Seville
- Cathedral cellars in Jerez
- The Jerez “Fiestas de la Vendimia” or harvest festival
- The Jerez ' Feria del Caballo' or horse festival
- The high-altitude vineyards of inland Malaga
- New generation of winemakers
- The Tabanco Route
- Andalusia's Moorish or Mudejar heritage
- The Alcazaba in Málaga
- The Moorish Alcazar in Seville, now a Royal Palace
- The Giralda in Seville, a large former minaret