Sevilla - Jerez de la Frontera
Jerez de la Frontera Travel Blog› entry 10 of 14 › view all entries
Jerez gave it's name to 'sherry', the type of wine that is produced in this area. In the 19th century British investors built the sherry industry in Jerez resulting in a society that evolved from many years of Anadalus and British intermarriage. And the town certainly feels very different from the three former Muslim strongholds we've visited during the past week.
Today's hotel was the Gaudalette, were we arrived in the late morning after a short one hour drive.
And then it was off to the main attraction of the day, one of the sherry bodega's. With so many to choose from the most obvious choice for a family called Sander is ... Sande(r)man. It's also the one that was most familiar to us since our childhood had been filled with many TV commercials about the mysterious 'Don' in his Spanish hat and Portugese cape (representing the sherry and port of the two countries).
The Sandeman bodega offers tours in various languages for 6,50 Euro, including a taste of three varieties of sherry made by the bodega (Fino, Amontillado and Oloroso). There's a small museum explaining the production process and history of the brand Sandeman but the guide of the tour, Veronica, was even nicer. And thus we discovered the secret of Sandeman, who's actually a Sandewoman, since Veronica came dressed in the Don's hat and cape. She explained the production process and difference of the varieties of sherry before offering us the three glasses to sample each one. We found the higher the alcohol percentage, the sweeter and the better the sherry. We therefore preferred the Sandeman Armada (an Oloroso) above the first two glasses.
This afternoon we kept the strolling and sightseeing to a minimum and instead spent most of our time on terraces at squares watching the locals and tourists pass by. There also was the strange coincidence of the city having an Edgar Allan Poe year in 2009 while Mark and I had been joking about the author's 'Cask of Amontillado' story earlier on in the bodega. In this tale a man is walled in alive by one of his enemies after being invited to taste some of the great Amontillado stored in the cellar. Among the many banners around the city representing Poe's stories was an excellent depiction of Sandeman's Don holding a trowel instead of a glass of sherry. If only they had sold these as T-shirts !
We had tapas at the far from classy La Vega cafetaria. The tapas were cheap though and tasty enough. After this we grabbed a cab back to the hotel. The strolling, sherry, beers and sunshine had exhausted us, so we called it a relatively early night. Mark and I ended the day with a cool Voll-Damm instead of the regular Licor 43. ;-)