Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Fancy a Sherry? – well just the one! ….. August 2011

Sherry tasting with a coffee chaser in Jerez
Being grounded in Cadiz with the Levante winds blowing gave us a chance to explore inland.  One day we decided to take the train  to Jerez de la Frontera, Spain's home of  Sherry.  It was a hot day and once we got away from the coast the temperature rose considerably.  By the time we had taken the long walk into the station at Cadiz, waited for the train, undertaken the journey, walked into the town centre and found the orange tree lined main square in pretty Jerez the only thing we could concentrate on was shade, food and cool drinks.  

On reflection we really should have checked the times of the Sherry Tours first as we narrowly missed the 2pm English speaking tour at the Bodegas González Byass, one of Spain’s biggest sherry distilleries and home to Tio Pepe sherry.  Tio Pepe monument in Jerez The next tour wasn’t until 5pm so we skipped the opportunity of learning all about the making of sherry and went for a stroll around this rather lovely town instead.  There is a rather small but impressive g 11th Century Almohad fortress - the Alcazar, a lovely church closeby and of course the cathedral.  In so many of these Spanish towns we have visited the Moorish and Christian buildings sit contently as neighbours and it always makes for an interesting blend of architecture and history.

Cafe lined pedestrian lanes led onto more plazas, and although it is a reasonably small central area we enjoyed exploring the shady streets.  Many of the buildings had very heavy woven wicker (I guess) roll down external blind for shutters, something we had not seen anywhere else.  They all looked rather old but I can’tJerez imagine them wearing too well with all the summer sun then winter winds and rain.

Eager to at least partake in some sherry of the region we took time out from our busy sightseeing to have afternoon coffee – and a sherry.  To be honest neither of us actually think we have ever had a sherry before, so we sat and read some info we had about now it is produced and supped away at our glass of Tio Pepe.  shady plaza in JerezSo in case you want to know ….

Sherry is technically a wine and is produced mainly in the Andulucian region of Spain.  It begins its life as white wine but then has some grape brandy added to it to fortify it, this also stops fermentation and makes it end up as sherry.  Ours looked just like a glass of a light white table wine but sure didn’t taste like it.  I suspect it is a taste that one develops with age, and quite clearly we are still way too young to fully appreciate its fine qualities!!!!  Needless to say we did not return with our bags full of Sherry, but we did however have an enjoyable day out.

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