Sherry - Spanish Sunshine in a Bottle! (part 1 - Introduction & Regions)
By Michael Johnson
Sherry is a fortified wine, made in Spain from three types of grapes:
Palomino, Pedro Ximénez, and Muscat (Moscatel). Sherry-style wines made in other
countries often use other grape varieties.
Sherry differs from other wines
because of how it is treated after fermentation. It is first fortified with
brandy and then if destined to be fino style a yeast called flor is allowed to
grow on top. Oloroso style is fortified to a strength where the flor cannot
grow. (In contrast, port wine is fortified to a higher percentage of alcohol
than sherry, effectively preventing the growth of any yeast.)
JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA or JEREZ for short, the Scheris of the
Moors, one of their fortresses in Spain, was long a walled city of great
strategic importance. Today it is a busy town, and the hub of the Sherry Trade.
It stands upon the main road from Seville to Cadiz, some 9 miles north of Port
St. Mary at the top corner of the Bay of Cadiz and at the mouth of the
Guadalete; and 12 miles east of Sanlucar, upon the left bank of the
Guadalquivir, immediately before it flows into the Atlantic.
JEREZ has given
its name to Sherry, the wine of Jerez (both names Jerez and Sherry being
corruptions of the old .Moorish name of the town, Scheris), which Shakespeare
and all Elizabethans loved and praised above all others. To the Victorians,
Sherry and hospitality were synonymous: few, indeed, were then the homes without
a welcoming decanter of Sherry upon the mahogany, awaiting the pleasure of your
company. Today, in spite of the notorious fickleness of fashion; in spite of
high taxes and of bureaucratic controls, Sherry, the wine made from the white
grapes of the Jerez vineyards, still is still first favorite among all the wines
imported into Great Britain.
Andalucia no longer comprises three kingdoms as it once did, nor
is it any longer the great Moorish Province that it was once, but still is the
richest and sunniest part of Spain, stretching from Castile, in the North, to
the Straits, in the South; and from the Mediterranean, in the East, to Portugal
and the Atlantic in the West.
SEVILLE the capital of Andalucia, is one of the
fairest cities in the world, but sea-going ships have long ceased to come up the
Guadalquivir to its once busy quays with the gold and goods of the Indies. The
inexhaustible wealth of Andalucia is in its fertile soil and genial climate, its
wheat, oil and wine; its oranges, figs and other fruits; its light-hearted,
Vines flourish and wine is made in many parts of
Andalucia, but the vineyards which produce the finest and most distinctive white
Spanish wine, Sherry, that which brings solace and joy to all men and women of
taste and discerning thirst, are the vineyards scattered twixt Guadalquivir and
Guadalete, during the last lap of their seawards run, the first reaching the
Atlantic at Sanlucar de Barrameda, and the other the Bay of Cadiz, at Port St.
More of this series will be published over the next few days, or to complete
the series straight away, visit www.thewinelover.org
About the Author
Michael Johnson loves a glass of wine. He also likes to write, so a website about wine seemed to make sense. Visit www.thewinelover.org for a free wine eBook, more articles, information about wine and a new forum.
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