Intoxicating Tours: Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
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.
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 Wineries of Jerez de la Frontera
There are many wineries to choose from and you cannot go wrong with any of them. Here's a list of 10 bodegas to help you decide which one you would like to dip into your sherry experience in.
- Bodegas Lustau: Calle Arcos, 53, 11402 Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz
- Gonzalez Bypass: Calle de Manuel Maria Gonzalez, 12, 11403 Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz
- Sandeman Jerez: Calle Porvera, 3, 11403 Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz
- Coleccion Joaquin Rivero: Calle de los Cordobesses, 3, 11408 Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz
- Bodegas Urium, S.A: Calle Muro, 28, 11404 Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz
- Alvaro Domecq SL: Calle Alamos, 23, 11401 Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz
- Bodegas Paez Morilla SA: Av Medina Sidonia, 20, 11401 Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz
- Re Fernando De Castilla: Calle Jardinillo, 7, 11404 Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz
- Grupo Estevez - Marques Del Real Tesoro: Ctra. Nacional IV, Km.640, Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz
- Sanchez Romate Hermanos SA: Calle Lealas, 26, 11403 Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz
The Fire of Flamenco
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, such as these:
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