The Mediterranean has just expanded out before me, lying there dark and still beyond the pine-covered ridges that define the boundaries of the valley. I am at the heights of the Penedés depression, around nine hundred metres above the sea, and behind me, to the north, flows the Anoia River, slowly meandering its way into Barcelona’s southern extremes in the El Prat Delta. Here, in the Penedés Valley and along the Anoia River, the grapevine has forever been at the heart of community and culture. Continue reading “The Love and Labour of Wine in the Penedés”
Sherry we say in English, Jerez in Spanish, Sherish they said in Arabic, a city that you can grasp in a glass and let roll through your lips in your mouth over your tongue. It is a city which has always been a lover of wine, always. Long before ‘sherry’ evolved into what it is today – an alchemical creation fortified with alcohol, oxidised by air and transformed by flor – and before the catavinos wine glass became the glass of choice for sherry lovers, before, even, the solera system of ageing wines, Jerez was always madly in love with the vine. Continue reading “Jerez de la Frontera: A City Long in Love With Wine”
“In Jerez”, a wine-maker once told me, “we live with our backs to the vineyard…” In Jerez, he went on to say, fame is attached to the urban wineries, the bodegas where the alchemy takes place. In other wine-producing regions, harvest and production take place on the same terrain, but in Jerez the sun, soil and salts of the earth which give birth to the wine are often forgot. Continue reading “The Landscape of Sherry (Photo Gallery)”
Jerez de la Frontera is a city for romantics, its drink a drop for lovers of the vine. And the greatest lover of them all – Shakespeare – was madly in love with Sherry. Continue reading “Shakespeare in Love (with Sherry)”
Sherry is a unique wine, and like anything that is original it will have both its fervent lovers and its disregarding detractors. Its followers find a world of diversity within the sherry spectrum, and the newly initiated will ask of their more acquainted friends a million questions. For both audiences, the connoisseurs and the amateurs, such questions may be answered in a tour around the vineyards of the ‘sherry triangle’, where they will learn that the originality of this wine lies in the originality of the land. Continue reading “Sunset Sherry: An Afternoon Drive through the Vineyards of Jerez”
Tradition is an invaluable body of thought and practise refined, perfected, and revised over generations, inherited by the young from the old. But tradition can be both a blessing and a burden, and habit can limit the imagination. To think freely you need to break out of old rhythms, try new things, experiment. Continue reading “The Au Naturel Pedro Ximénez: Visiting Ximénez-Spínola Vineyards”
Beltrán Domecq and César Saldaña together make up the heart and head of the Sherry world. Who is which is too hard to say – both house a bodega’s worth of knowledge in their heads, a lifetime’s worth of Jerezano lore in their hearts.