Vino de Jerez or Sherry is produced in the Sherry Triangle of Andalucia, in the towns of Jerez, Sanlucar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa Maria, with most bodegas or wineries clustered around Jerez de la Frontera.
Some believe the word sherry comes from the Arabic for Jerez which is Sherish. Others say it is an anglicizing of the word Xeres (Jerez) and in fact the industry began with Irish and Scottish entrepreneurs about 250 years ago. Either way it is a particularly popular drink in the Spanish area of Cadiz and also in Britain and Ireland.
Spanish sherry must, by law, be produced in the area of the province of Cadiz near Jerez de la Frontera so this is where you’ll find a multitude of sherry bodegas, many of them open to the public for tours and tastings.
There are two types of sherry: sweet and dry. Sweet sherries are ‘over-matured’ to bring out the sugars and include Moscatel and Pedro Ximenez. Dry sherries are produced by putting the grapes through a complete fermentation process. These include Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso, Raya, and Palo Cortado. Blended sherries, somewhere between sweet and dry, are Manzanilla and Cream Sherries.
Famous bodegas to visit are:
One of the biggest producers of sherries but still family owned and located in central Jerez. They produce the famous Tio Pepe fino sherry and revitalized the industry with an elegant marketing campaign in the late 20th century attracting a new generation of sherry drinkers.
Photo courtesy of Misha via Flickr.