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.
Located in central Jerez this is the oldest bodega dating from 1730, it’s set in a 16th-century former convent with 19th century gardens. They have regular English-language tours throughout the day.
Located in the old maritime district of Sanlucar de Barrameda, this bodega has been producing sherry since 1860.
Well known for its ‘Don’ logo depicting a shadowy caballero in a flowing cape and wide-brimmed hat. They have a bodega and visitors’ center in the heart of Jerez.
This is the company that puts the black bull signs beside roads through the country which have now become such an icon of Spain. They have two bodegas at Puerto de Santa Maria.
There are many more dotted in and around Jerez. Find on you like the look of and head inside. The only problem you’ll have is carrying your purchases home.