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Tag Archives: Jerez

Top 10 Things to do in Jerez – Other than Enjoy Sherry!

The history of Sherry is rich. For starters it is one of the oldest wines in the world, introduced to Britain when notorious pirate Drake, plundered Cadiz and filled his decks with over 2000 barrels as a gift for his adored Queen Elizabeth 1st. But prior to all that, the Moors tended the chalky vineyards around their occupied city of Sherish and made their wine of present day Jerez. For centuries, Britain was the main market for Sherry, sending their sons to oversee production- hence the many Anglicized names involved in the industry. A sometimes forgotten fact is that Sherry can only be called Sherry if it is produced within the DO of Jerez- likewise, Champagne can only be Champagne […]

The Never Ending Journey: 6 Years of Transformation

Not surprisingly, I’ve delayed writing this post for weeks, dutifully trying to answer the question, “what happened over the past 6 years and how does one summarize such an experience in one article?” Admittedly, it’s absolutely impossible. To write a one off post on how our lives have changed feels as inconsequential as writing a paragraph on the death of reason. Well, then again, if you merged both topics, you just might have something! If someone asked me 7 years ago if I would be prepared to live hand to mouth for half a decade in order to write about Iberian wine, in a country I had never been, speaking a language I had never uttered, to meet people from […]

Wine Blog Wednesday #70 Wrap-Up: Reaching Out of Your Comfort Zone with Spanish Wines

Por fin! With a considerable amount of hours logged, searching for those few eluding posts, we have finally completed the wrap-up post for Wine Blog Wednesday #70 – a truly successful event! We gave you the daunting task of stepping out of your comfort zone to find a Spanish grape, wine style or region that you weren’t familiar with. Instead of reaching for that traditional Friday night bottle of Rias Biaxes, we prodded you to give DO Terra Alta a whirl. If you’re a Garnacha fanatic, we urged you to pick up a wine made from Mazuelo instead. Or if you have absolutely detested Sherry in the past, having tried it only once in your life with poor results, we […]

New Correspondent Writer for Catavino: Oliver Styles

Editor’s Note: We have a new and very exciting correspondent writer to the Catavino crew, Oliver Styles! Oliver will be providing us his palate as he tastes through various Spanish and Portuguese wines from his current home in Zamora, Spain. Here, Oliver has provided us a bit of his long and adventurous history with Spanish wine, and hope you will give him a warm and very hearty welcome. It’s galling to think of it now, but within two months of joining UK wine magazine Decanter in 2003, I came within tasting distance of a Vega-Sicilia vertical going back to 1942. Although I was sent to a private Louis Roederer tasting instead, the tales of the ’42 were frustrating, even then, […]

Spanish Bullfighting: The Romance, the Drama and the Traditional Recipes

Recently, the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia (or Catalunya) voted to ban bullfighting; which consequently, provoked me to write an article. Since moving to Spain in 2005, I have attempted to understand the “corrida de toros” – the bullfight. I have tried to learn as much as possible, both the pro and con; and yes, I confess I have attended quite a few corridas. Portugal has its own bullfighting traditions, as does France and Latin America. There is even a type of bullfight on the Zanzibari island of Pemba, off the east coast of Africa – a relic of Portuguese colonialism. However, I’m only familiar with the way it is done in Spain. (Photo by Ferminius) In the part of […]

Fiestas de la Vendimia: Tasting Sherry During the Harvest Festival in Jerez

The Jerez “Fiestas de la Vendimia” or harvest festival, which first happened in 1948, is in full swing at the moment. This is one harvest festival which is worth a visit, especially if you are keen on Sherry. This year the festival started on the 5th of September and ends on the 20th, so three weeks packed full of activities. As Spain is a Catholic country, seeking a bit of divine intervention goes without saying. You know, to make sure the grapes come in OK, fermentation does not get stuck and everyone has fun at the festival. So, accordingly, last Sunday, following long-standing tradition, an old-school press was set up in the Cathedral square and group of traditionally dressed men […]

Bodegas Tradicion: Keeping the Best Traditions Alive

Editors Note: Our Correspondent Justin Roberts had the chance to do something both Gabriella and I wish we could have. Living in Jerez, he made a quick trip over to Bodegas Tradicion to give you a bit more background on this intersting winery that we talked about a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy. You don’t usually find an art gallery inside a sherry bodega, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Bodegas Tradicion. In 1998 this small bodega was set up by a Spanish property magnate and in a special gallery alongside the sherry he likes to rotate part of his large collection of paintings. On the day I visited these included the striking oil on copper called “Bandolero Torero” […]

Pedro Ximenez: A Wine to Savour Over a Candlelit Dinner

Near the 14th of February, there is always the temptation to crack open a bottle of pink Champagne as inspiration for a post – but that’s all been done before, so I was keen to write about something different. My wife, a modern-day Barbara Cartland, suggested something romantic about wines with 14% alcohol. This was a sweet idea, but I decided to go in for something even sweeter and write about the Pedro Ximenez grape. In Spain, the white Pedro Ximenez or PX grapes are normally raisinated before making the wine. The thin-skinned PX grapes were traditionally laid on Esparto-grass mats out in the sun for a few days before pressing. I’m not sure what they lie out on these […]

The Manzanilla of the North

OK, if you’re wondering about the title, then that’s what they call Old Pulteney, and if you’re still wondering, keep reading. On a trip to Scotland last week to meet my new nephew I could not pass up on a visit to a whisky distillery. Scotch and Sherry have strong connections on two levels going back many years – centuries even – so this post is not exactly off-piste for an Iberian wine blog. You can still see names painted on the sides of Sherry bodegas, which have a decidedly Scottish air. In El Puerto de Santa Maria it’s possible to sip a glass of Fino at the Grant bodega most Saturdays just after midday and until recently opposite the […]

Sherry House: Emilio Hidalgo, And Ways to Change Future Generations into Sherry Lovers

In recent weeks, I have visited the Emilio Hidalgo bodega twice, and since their wines are so good, a post has become just about unavoidable. This is a small, truly independent, family-owned bodega. It was started by the Hidalgo family in the mid 1800s and is run by decedents of the founders brothers Fernando and Emilio Hidalgo and their cousin Juan-Manuel Hidalgo. The business remains at their original site, in the old centre of Jerez and the bodega is made up of a series of traditional, thick walled bodegas separated by “patios”. This is an age-old system. When a breeze moves over the buildings, cooler air sinks down into the patios and then through the open doors around them into […]