Sherry Wine tour in Jerez – Best Bodegas – Andalusia Spain

If penicillin can cure those that are ill, Spanish sherry can bring the dead back to life.

– Alexander Fleming

Gonzalez Byass 25

What comes to your mind when you hear the word, Sherry? Something that is sweet and dark? Some drink that shows up only on exclusive occasions before returning to the confines of the drinks cabinet, till next time.

Let’s get into it. Sherry is a Spanish fortified wine with more than 3,000 years of rich tradition to accompany. Wine when added to a distilled spirit (i.e. brandy) becomes a Sherry.

The word itself is an Anglicization of the Spanish word Xeres. The exclusivity of Sherry can be gauge from its protected designation of origin status in Europe. All the Sherry wines must legally be from the geographical region of Andalucía known, also known as the Sherry Triangle. Additionally, the words Jerez / Xérès / Sherry are registered by Spanish wine producers and anyone using them outside the production area will face legal consequences.

The thin layer of yeast placed on top of the sherry wines barrel is called Flor, it splits all wines produced by the Sherry Triangle into two principal categories.

The process starts with fermenting the must, extracted from the white grapes produced in Southwestern Spain. This is achieved by adding  yeasts or pie de cuba.T his results in a young wine with an approximate 13.5% alcohol. Additionally, right after the fermentation, flor will start developing on this young wine. Flor is a thin layer of yeast on top of the sherry wine barrels. This waxy foam of layer protects the wine from air exposure and keeps the character of the Sherry intact. After that, a carefully quantified selection is made to fortify the wine by adding a distilled spirit to it.

Oxidative Sherry

This Sherry is brewed partially or entirely without flor i.e. Amontillado and Oloroso.

In recent years a lot of research has been put in place to decode the microbiology of sherry wine making and the impact of a flor veil on top of the Sherry wine barrels. All of this is because of the fame attained by the biologically aged Sherries.

Wine aficionados opine that to cherish the real character and blossoming taste of this wonderfully idiosyncratic wine; it’s essential to serve it with the right kind of savory food.

3 Types Of Sherries To Try.

“If it swims, serve Fino; if it flies, serve Amontillado; if it runs, serve Oloroso”

Jeremy Rockett, Marketing Director of González Byass – Spain’s most well-known sherry bodegas.

FINO

Fino in the Spanish language means refined. It is traditionally the driest and also the palest type of Sherry. It is consumed soon after the bottle is opened because air can cause them to lose their characteristic flavor in a matter of hours.

It is said by wine aficionados that no wine blends that well with savory food than a properly aged Fino Sherry. For that very reason, an ice-cold Fino is a natural companion of Tapas (wide variety of Spanish appetizers)

That’s why the cuisines and wines of Andalucía have developed a very close bond over the centuries.

AMONTILLADO

Amontillado is a type of Sherry that after being aged under flor is then exposed to oxygen. It results in a Sherry that is darker in color than Fino, but is comparatively lighter than Oloroso.

Amontillado is naturally dry by nature. Although, occasionally sold with medium to light sweeteners. The sweetened Sherry cannot be labeled as Amontillado.

This type of Sherry is generally served chilled and mostly with food like chicken or rabbit. Traditionally, it is served with a thin gravy soup.

OLOROSO

Oloroso in Spanish means scented is a type of Sherry that’s been aged for a longer period of time than Fino or Amontillado resulting in a richly blended and darker wine containing alcohol levels between 18 to 20%.

Oloroso is not for the weak hearted as they are the most alcoholic Sherries. They are also dry by nature. Just like Amontillado, more often than not Olorosos are served in a sweetened form known as Cream Sherry. However, these sweetened versions cannot be labeled Oloroso.

Jerez

THE BEST BODEGAS IN JEREZ

Oxford defines bodega as a cellar or shop selling wine and food, especially in a Spanish-speaking country or area.

BODEGAS TRADICION – website

Cozy, friendly and quintessentially Spanish. Bodegas Tradicion prides itself in bottling only the most refined and fully-aged wines capable of giving sensory pleasures to its Winers and Diners.

The Bodegas Tradicion guarantees that their wines include no artificiality of chill-filtration, sulphites, cooked-wine, cold stabilization or caramel while maturing and bottling their signature wines.

The beauty of their Sherries is that they taste as good alone as they do with the right kind of dishes.

LUSTAU – website

Lustau’s origin goes way back to 1896. When, Don José Ruiz-Berdejo started operating a winery in his backyard to sell them to the bigger houses that bottled and exported the wines.

In the 19th century founder’s son-in-law, Don Emilio Lustau Ortega started expanding the business and the range of wines produced. Later in 1990, the Lustao Company was sold to Luis Caballero. That sale further allowed the company to grow and allowed it purchase six bodega buildings which were restored in 2001 and 2003 and now house all of the Lustau Wines.

Lustau markets as many as 40 different wines found within 8 categories and ranges. They are particularly famous in foreign markets i.e. the USA.

SANDEMAN – website

Despite its increasing popularity, experts believe that wine tourism movement is only operating at 20% of its projected potential and can easily be double in the near future. It can be said that SANDEMAN is playing its significant role even in that 20% wine tourism.

A crucial factor escalating the movement is wine roads, through wine-producing regions and through the major spring event of Open Cellars which attracts millions of tourists.

These Sherry Wine Tours in Jerez offers an opportunity to see how and where wine is made and can also spot the difference by tasting it at its source.

These tours also offer visitors an opportunity to get to know about the traditions and culture blended into wine making and the country life.

One can say that while the primary focus of the tourists is on tasting sensuous Sherries they also, subconsciously discover the uniqueness and scenic locales of Spain.

To conclude proverbially in Spanish,

Friends and wine should be old.

Foodies: Why Andalusia should be in your travel list?

Andalusia is a melting pot of various cultures and cuisines. Since ancient times, it has seen the Christians, the Jews, the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs – basically all the heavyweights of world history, congregate and leave an indelible mark on the region and its culture. A proof of this rich and varied heritage exists nowhere as prominently as in the cuisine of Spain’s south – the Andalusia gourmet.

Keeping alive the glorious reputation of producing some of the finest food, are the Andalusian chefs who are widely regarded as one of the finest in business today. You can easily get a taste of their skills in a five star restaurant, as well as at a cozy chiringuito on one of the several beautiful beaches found in the region.

To keep it short, It is an excellent culinary model where imagination, tradition and modern culinary science, all converge. The following list of only the best dishes from Andalusia’s gastronomy reveals as much. So, for all the foodies looking for their next adventure in the upcoming holidays, we present the Andalusia gourmet region as the place to look toward!

Top Culinary Offerings from Andalusia

First homemade Salmorejo of the year. Salmorejo Berlin Kuchen

Salmorejo

A denser form of the quintessential Andalusian dish, Gazpacho (chilled tomato soup), Salmorejo is also the more fulfilling version of the two. Like the famous Gazpacho, it is made of tomatoes, garlic and olive oil but along with a heavy dose of bread crumbs. Although several variations of the dish exist throughout Andalusia, you will always find the Salmorejo served with a liberal dose of hard-boiled eggs, jamon (cured ham) and sometimes, tuna (especially in the coastal areas).

Salmorejo originated in the city of Cordoba but it quickly became one of the most famous foods in Andalusia. You will easily find most of the restaurants serving the dish as a refreshing lunch entree during the spring and summer. At other places, you might as well find Salmorejo being offered as an evening appetizer!

Jamon Iberico de Bellota

The jamon iberico (or the Iberian cured ham) is quite simply the best ham that is served throughout Andalusia and possibly, the entire Spain. The taste, the aroma and the texture of this Andalusian ham is what foodies crave for in their meat.

The secret?

Note the word de Bellota, which denotes that the ham you are eating comes from pigs fed on a diet comprising solely of acorns!

These speciality pigs are raised in the oak forests of Cordoba and Huelva mountain ranges and are one of the most sought after for the flavors they offer. The Iberian cured ham is a result of as many as twelve months of curing and processing, and pays off handsomely in terms of taste and aroma.

If you are in Andalusia, there is simply no way you can leave without trying the jamon iberico – probably the most exclusive and exceptional item on this list!

Pescado Frito

Also called, Pescaito Frito, which translates to “fried fish”. This Andalusian staple dish recipe is as simple as its translation. All it contains is fish coated in flour that is fried in olive oil and then, served with a lemon wedge along with salt sprinkled lightly all over it. But don’t be fooled by its simplicity. It counts among the best fried fish recipes across the world!

Along with cod and sole as the more popular ingredients, you can also find some chefs mixing calamares (squid), adobo (marinated dogfish) and puntillitas (baby octopus) to make the Pescaido Frito. No matter the ingredient though, the taste remains unbeatable.

Remember when in Andalusia, Cadiz is the place where you want to go to try out the Pescado Frito. You can find it being served in a paper cone on the streets, as well as on the menu in the more sophisticated restaurants in the area. Legend has it that Pescado Frito was actually the real inspiration behind the now world renowned English meal, fish and chips!

Chicharrones

Chicharrones are a popular dish in Spain (typically in Andalusia), Latin America and basically, every other country in the world which has some affinity to the Spanish culture or cuisine. These are very similar to the French rillons, in that the end result is the same fried chunks of succulent pork.

People in Andalusia generally make chicharrones using chunks of pork belly that are fried or saute-d over high heat in their own fat. Once prepared, you can enjoy them along with a smattering of cumin powder and some lemon juice squeezed on the top.

Expert’s tip: A bottle of chilled San Miguel lager is what you want when having those juicy chicharrones!

Sherry From Jerez

Brought to you straight from the so called Sherry Triangle (an area encompassing Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto de Santa Maria and San Lucar de Barrameda), is the world famous Spanish Sherry. The British have been addicted to it (the cream sherry to be exact) since 1587 and one can’t really blame them!

The secret to this one of its kind pre-meal aperitif lies in the place of its origins – the Cadiz province. A unique combination of the local soil, damp climate and the Spanish solera system, along with the Palomino (white grape) is all that goes in making this splendid version of fortified wine. Some of the best styles of the Spanish sherry include Oloroso, Fino, Manzanella, Amontillados and the sweet tasting Pedro Ximenez.

Vinegar from Jerez

The Sherry Triangle is also home to one of the most flavorful vinegars – the Sherry Vinegar. It is a gourmet vinegar that is produced exclusively within the same triangular area that gives us one of the oldest wines in the world, the Sherry wines. Most forms of the Sherry vinegar are aged using the same Solera system as the Sherry wines and their production and quality is monitored by the Consejo Regulador of Spain.

The vinegar made from Sherry is considered to be a gourmet ingredient and adds a very distinctive and crisp taste to several recipes in both Spanish and French cuisine. Typically, you will find Sherry vinegar being used in a variety of stews, casseroles, soups, sauces and salad dressings.

Andalusia – A Feast for Senses

The gastronomy of Andalusia has such variety that it is impossible to cover in a single article. And it’s not just the food, equally enticing are the great diverse landscapes and cultures that are present there. If you are a true foodie, you will never get tired of sampling the region’s terrific dishes and wines. And if you are lucky enough to be in time for a food-themed festival, you will discover new meanings to the word “feast” in its complete sense!