The three points of the Sherry Triangle are Jerez de la Frontera (inland), Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María close to Cadiz (both coastal). Protected by it's D.O. status (Denominacion de Origen), sherry can only come from the vineyards within this tiny triangle. It's the chalky soil and coastal winds that combine to create the perfect terroir for sherry.
The three points of sherry's golden triangle are the cities of Jerez, Sanlucar de Barrameda to the west and El Puerto de Santa Maria to the south. Each area has its own microclimate that contributes to the character and style of its local sherry. Sanlucar, on the Atlantic coast, produces a special fino called Manzanilla which has a fresh, almost salty tang of the sea.
WHAT MAKES SHERRY?
Master winemakers are in control of the destiny of every young wine. The finest, most delicate wines become dry, crisp Fino or Manzanilla. Wines which don't have the required qualities become the darker, intense Amontillado, Oloroso, Palo Cortado or Pedro Ximenez.
The sherry making process all begins in the usual wine making way, with grapes crushed, put in tanks and yeast added. Sherry cellars are all at ground level and have lots of air circulation to keep the barrels cooler and prevent the wine from cooking in the baking hot 40c+ summer temparatures. The circulation of humid air assists the development of natural yeast growth called Flor. It is the presence of Flor that is so essential to the sherry process. The flor/yeast forms a thick layer in the barrel, reacting with the wine underneath in a process called biological fermentation. The young wines are fortified with wine alcohol to 15% ABV which helps to encourage the flor.
Sherry wine makers use the Solera method in perfecting their Sherry. This is a system whereby barrels are stacked in rows according to age. In a cascade effect, wine is drawn from the sequence of vintages and distributed through the tiers of sherry barrels from the youngest to the oldest. Sherry is basically a blend of many vintages. This provides consistency and depth of flavour year after year after year. The finished sherry is bottled from the lowest layer. The space left in that bottom layer of barrels is replenished from wine in the next layer, with this chain process repeated in sequence. A Fino Solera will have anywhere from three to seven "criaderas" or layers. Manzanilla Soleras can have anything up to 20 tiers. For the heavier sherries, the solera system is still used but wine is fortified to between 17°- 18°% ABV. The wine now undergoes oxidization, and the flor dies off by leaving the wine in contact with the circulating air, promoting fermentation and maturation.
In recent years some of the world's most renowned connoisseurs and chefs worldwide have led a renewed interest in sherry and in 2014 Jerez was elected European City of Wine, encouraging sherry's 21st century renaissance.
JEREZ - 3 nights
The beautiful old city of Jerez has three famous attractions - the famous Andalucían dancing horses, it's flamenco music and dance and of course the fabulous sherry wines. Spend your time here strolling the old centre, stopping at various wineries for tours and tasting. You'll be able to admire aristocratic palaces, traditonal Andalucían homes, the ancient walls and Islamic fortifications and splendid religious buildings. The shows of the Spanish Riding School are quite breathtaking. The Museo Taurino (bullfighting museum) is here, as well as the Palacio del Tiempo (clock museum), and El Misterio de Jerez has a museum dedicated to the history and culture of sherry. Jerez is also a centre for Romany culture, and you can follow the Flamenco Route of Jerez that highlights the best places to enjoy music and culture around the city, espcieally during the spring Horse Fair.
Jerez is home to some of the best ancient and modern wineries. The Bodegas Fundador Pedro Domecq is the oldest producer dating back to the C18th, having spectacular, hisotoric buildings. The combination of art, history and architecture here make the Sherry tours and tastings something special.
SANLUCAR DE BARRAMEDA - 2 nights (optional detour to Doñana)
Situated at the northern tip of the sherry triangle, on the Guadalquivir river estuary, Sanlucar produces the distinctivly dry manzanilla wine. The town is famed for its excellent seafood and Manzanilla is the ideal accompaniment having a slightly salty tang due to it's coastal location. There is a May festival of Manzanilla, the local beaches re magnificent. In summer the 1.8km sandy beaches are home to horse racing in August. The old port and fishing quarter, the Bajo de Guía, are where some of the local seafood restaurants are found.
DOÑANA NATURE PARK - add on
Doñana National Park is a very rewarding place to visit while you are in the area. This protected landscape is one of the last wild landscapes in Europe. Following the spring rains, the flooded park attracts millions of migrating birds and other animals. Various walking and jeep tours are available in the company of a specialist guide.
PUERTO SANTA MARIA - 2 nights
This attractive white washed town is set on the Bay of Cádiz, on a part of the Atlantic coast, known as the Costa de la Luz - the coast of light. Pinewoods, beaches and marshes characterise the landscape and it enjoys an enviable climate, with beaches of fine, golden sand. The restaurants and beach bars offer up a rich variety of seafood with views of the Atlantic - and paired with locally produced Fino sherry, you'll find yourself in a veritable paradise.
CADIZ - additional detour from PSM
Although not offficially part of the triangle, a visit to the ancient port of Cádiz is not to be missed. Relax by the Atlantic beachfront and indulge in some wonderful seafood. Winding through the city's old winding cobbled streets with pastel-colored façades, stop off in laid-back bars and see the famous fresh seafood market. You'll feel rejuventated by the easy-going vibe for which the city is famous.
JEREZ'S NO 1
RIOJA ALAVESA WINERIES IN 3 LOCALES
SANLUCAR / WINERY
PUERTO SANTA MARIA WINERY VISIT
PRIORAT VINEYARD VISITS
DAY 1 - JEREZ TASTING MENU WITH SHERRY TASTING
DAY 2 - ATLANTIC BEACH RESTAURANT
DAY 3 -
DAY 4 - LUNCH AT SANLUCAR WINERY, DINNER AT PRIORAT HOTEL
DAY 5 - BODEGA LUNCH
DAY 6 -
DAY 7 - COOKING EXPERIENCE & LUNCH WITH WINES
3 nights Jerez - 4* central accommodation for ease of visit the main sights.
2 nights Cadiz Costa - 4* rural hotel with swimming pool
2 nights Cadiz Town - Boutique Hotel with swimming pool
All accommodation booked on Bed and Breakfast basis. Upgraded rooms may be available on request.
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