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Intoxicating Tours: Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

Updated on August 4, 2015
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South of Spain

Cruising past white-washed houses, sun shining overhead, you drive through Jerez de la Frontera, which translates to Jerez on the border, into wine and sherry country, where the art of sherry-making became its hallmark. History has taken many twists and turns, and this region of Cadiz in Spain brought refinement to the craft of sherry production..In fact, this particular type of drink comes from only one region in the whole world - Andalusia, and the three towns it is associated with are Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa Maria and Sanlucar de Barrameda. Palomino, the grape that is used in producing sherry, is found widely in this part of Andalusia. From its ancient origins during the time of the Moors in Spain - around 711 AD - to the later settlers from Britain who founded the many cellars or bodegas in Jerez, sherry's history has been crafted through many centuries. The very name - Jerez - is derived from the name given to the town by the Moors - Sherish.



Dipping into Sherry Country

My trip took me into this beautiful part of Spain, and although not a sherry fan, how could I possibly miss a tour of one of these bodegas so immersed in the culture and traditions of a place? A hot Friday afternoon, an hour's drive from Seville, and I savored the scene as I drove into it. Picture-perfect surroundings of a very historic town, steeped in the tradition of not only sherry but also the sensual flamenco performing art, and the majestic gracefulness of horses greet the visitors.

Pulling into Sandeman Bodega, named after the famous don-like image, we made our way to the ticket counter. For about $30.00 each, we were treated to a vast array of sherry sampling by the cape-clad young women who guided us through the winery and brought us to a room with long tables set up for the ritual of wine-tasting. Meats and cheeses accompanied the fine tasting and we were offered each of the varieties, from the youngest to the most mature sherry.


Richly Historic Town
Richly Historic Town | Source

Bodega

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A rustic and captivating bodega experience
A rustic and captivating bodega experience | Source

From the Refined Art of Sherry to Equestrian Displays

Jerez de la Frontera's aristocratic flair from its rich heritage is showcased in its fabulous equestrian performances and absolutely beautiful horses of the famed Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art. If you find yourself in town on a Tuesday or Thursday in the summer months, saunter out to the Palacio de las Cadenas and be treated to a spectacular and graceful performance of these incredible horses, held at noon, perhaps before you wine and dine at a bodega.

The Fire of Flamenco

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The Flames of Flamenco

Andalusian traditions of Jerez intoxicate not just with wine, but with the heady spirit of the sensual and haunting rhythms and movements of Flamenco. Each year, from the last week in February to March 11, the Festival of Flamenco is held in Jerez. In addition, shows can be seen throughout the year at a tablao.


A Sinfully Rich Experience

Life has many pleasures and pains, many winding curves and detours. This short yet exhilarating experience of Jerez de la Frontera was one of the best parts of my personal trip to Spain. I say "one of the best" (not the only one!) because it permeated my senses; thrilling and enchanting in the colors, sounds, tastes and pulsating rhythms of life.

© 2015 Neetu M

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    • Anne Harrison profile image

      Anne Harrison 22 months ago from Australia

      Like you, Neetu, I am not a sherry fan, but am never adverse to trying something which helps me to appreciate a country's culture! I have never been to this part of Spain, but it is now on the list for when I return. Thanks for sharing, voted up

    • wordswithlove profile image
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      Neetu M 22 months ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Thank you, Anne, for reading and commenting on my hub. Yes, there are often things I may not personally care for, but so much of a culture comes on a plate, doesn't it? You get to know so much about a country's history through simple things like food and drink. :)

    • Shivendra Tiwari profile image

      Shivendra Tiwari 21 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Informative, interesting and I loved every bit of it.

    • wordswithlove profile image
      Author

      Neetu M 21 months ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Thank you, Shivendra. I am honored that you loved it. :) Nice to meet you, too.

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