Just had a week in a (very hot) Jerez. What follows is some of the more interesting bottles with some minimal tasting notes.
All wines tried were from the local region and all were bought, bar two, from Licores Corredera, an excellent wine shop in the middle of town, with an extensive stock and reasonable prices.
Firstly, sherry and manzanilla.
La Ina remains my favourite of the widely sold sherries, even better with a plate of jamon. €4 for a half bottle in a local tabanco. The ham cost more.
Of the manzanillas we tried, including Solear and La Gitana, I preferred San Leon – just a bit more intense. €3.10 for a half which makes it slightly more expensive than the other two.
A new sherry shop had opened round the corner to our apartment. The stock, including wine, was rather ordinary in range – nowhere near as good as Licores – but they did sell Urium which I’ve never tried and one which is promoted in the UK. Pretty good and the equal to any other en rama tried in England, like Tio Pepe.
Out for a walk one morning I spotted a ‘despacho des vinos’, (shown below) open in what used to be, as I recall, a Lustau bodega. The old boy in front of me was buying five litres of fino from the barrel, at €2.75 a litre. I went for a half bottle of Bertola for much the same price. Rather ordinary, I’m afraid.
The final sherry tried was the best. This was a Colosia en rama, from El Puerto, another sherry town. Very pure, powerful yet refined and elegant. A pleasure to drink and a bargain at €12.60 for 50cl.
This was another El Puerto wine – the vineyard once belonged to someone called Forlong – and was an assemblage of syrah, merlot and tintilla. A good drink but not especially distinctive, around €8.
The next was highly recommended by the equally recommendable Jerez-Xeres-Sherry blog but I found it uninteresting despite it being Tempranillo, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Tintilla with 11 months in oak (€6.40). Made by Barbadillo who supply many restaurants with their very drinkable white Castillo.
The next was a very interesting wine, made from 100% tintilla de rota, as it happens the subject of one of our early blogs, nearly 5 years ago. This grape is usually blended and, on it’s own, made for a powerful, complex drink. Perhaps a little young (this was the 2014). Best slightly chilled, as are all the reds, €10.
The final red of interest is Cortijo de Jara, tried twice, in the same restaurant, the excellent Riva, near the cathedral. (The white was blogged a couple of years ago).
Tempranillo, Merlot and Syrah, very soft and fruity, easy to drink. €13 in the restaurant, so about half that retail.
Next some white wines:
These were both chardonnay but neither was easily identifiable as such. Both very good, clean and crisp with the Barbazul just preferable, having a bit more body and character. (they also make an excellent red). From Licores the Barbazul was €6.60 (€15 in El Almacen, a good tapas bar, as shown) and the Entrechuelos €4.28.
The final white was a lovely wine, Ojo de Gallo made from palomino, the sherry grape. Very rich, stone fruits, hint of bitterness, very elegant, about €8.
I also tried a couple of bottled beers. The first, from Valencia, supposedly made with sea water, was bottle conditioned. Couldn’t detect any sea water. The second (below) was much better, made in Jerez, although I’d have preferred more hop and less malt. About €2.50. Given that a small glass (cana) of Cruzcampo is around €1.10-20 in the bars you can see why craft beer production hasn’t really taken off in southern Spain.
Conclusion: Jerez remains a great place for a holiday (I’ve been about 10 times), especially as Ryan Air didn’t cancel our flights. Lots of interesting wine and food. The town has been through a rough time recently and still has massive debts but there were some signs of a revival. Always good to go back.