Jerez de la Frontera - European Wine City
Many cultural phenomena that are seen internationally as distinctively Spanish are largely or entirely Andalusian in origin. These include flamenco, fairs, bullfighting, and certain Moorish-influenced architectural styles. Jerez presents all of these experiences in a deep-rooted setting.
On our first excursion to the city center we passed through many kilometers of olive branches and livestocks. Conveniently most of the wine cellars are situated in the nucleus of the city. A recent edict in the 1800´s allowing free introduction of foreign capital to the area had attracted names like Domecq, Osborne, Gordon and Terry from all over Europe. These merchants not only sold wine, they also produced it and to this day we can indulge in the luxury experience. Jerez de la Frontera, Spain has long been known as "Sir City" for its snobity from the middle-class families who developed the wine business and being the city that host the largest number of titles of nobility in the province.
The cuisine of Jerez adds its wide range of wines to the preparation of its most typical recipes; meat, shellfish and fish are cooked in sherry or Jerez-style, which indicates the inclusion of fino, amontillado, oloroso or Pedro Ximénez. Soup with tomatoes, gazpacho, and stew with chickpeas are followed by "torrijas" (bread with wine and fried food) and "tocinos de cielo" (egg yolk cakes). The vinegar, wines and brandy must be from the Jerez denomination of origin to get the authentic tastes.
Types of Sherries
Although some Jerez wine cellars are going back to the system of añadas (vintages), Sherry wines are differentiated not by year, but by type, which are the following:
Fino - Straw- or golden-colored, a sharp but delicate (almond-like) aroma, dry and light to the palate, with aging under the "velo de flor" and an alcohol content of around 15%.
Manzanilla - Straw-colored, sharp aroma, dry and light to the palate, with aging under the "velo de flor" exclusively in wine cellars located in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Its alcohol content is around 15%.
Amontillado - Amber-colored, with a sharp but subtle (hazelnut-like) aroma. Smooth and light to the palate. Its alcohol content is around 17.5%.
Oloroso - Initially dry, amber-to mahogany-colored, with a pronounced aroma as its name, "oloroso" (fragrant), would indicate. It has a full body ("nuez", or nut) and its alcohol content is around 18%.
Palo Cortado - Wine of a bright mahogany color, almond-like aroma, dry palate, balanced, elegant and very persistent. It combines the smooth, delicate and sharp characteristics of Amontillado and the thick and true wine qualities of Oloroso. It is a wine that is hard to find because the vineyards that grew the grapes ideal for producing it were wiped out by the Phylloxera epidemic of 1894. Its alcohol content is around 18%.
Pale Cream - It is a smooth wine, with a pale color, and a sharp but delicate (sweet) aroma. Its alcohol content is around 17.5%.
Cream - A sweet wine, made from Oloroso, dark-colored. It has a sharp but subtle aroma and a full body. Its alcohol content is around 17.5%.
Pedro Ximénez - A dark mahogany-colored wine, with deep raisiny aromas. Smooth and sweet in the mouth. Full, vigorous, and perfectly balanced. Made from Pedro Ximenez grapes that have been set out in the sun for drying. Its alcohol content is around 17%.
The tabancos are establishments in which Sherry wines were drank and in which flamenco from time to time was the soundtrack. These tabancos were the place that men celebrated their virtues and gathered together with full bottles and glasses on the wooden tables. This was a popular cultural phenomenon for years, now they are back in fashion, and although there are not as many as before, they are still genuine, and are still the best places to have a glass of good quality wine from the land. With this, the Tabancora Route has been born, by the hand of the City Council, the Regulatory Council and the establishments of the city. See below a list of the tabancos in the city.
Tabanco El Pasaje
Tabanco Cruz Vieja
Tabanco Las Banderillas
Tabanco San Pablo
Tabanco El Guitarrón de San Pedro
Tabanco La Pandilla
Tabanco La Bodeguita