Sherry Or Jerez

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					Sherry Or Jerez?
It was the Phoenicians who introduced Sherry to the Iberian Peninsula,
and the Romans were only too happy to carry on the tradition. Even the
Moors, who generally abstained from alcohol, used it for medicinal
purposes, but when Francis Drake attacked Cadiz in 1587 and returned to
England with 3000 barrels, the tipple became an instant favourite with
Queen Elizabeth 1 and the English Court, beginning a British love affair
with the drink.
In the 17th and 18th centuries the demand for Sherry grew, and many
British entrepreneurs based their businesses in the area around Jerez in
Andalucia, creating such brands as Garvey and Gordon. In fact the name
'Sherry' comes from the English mispronunciation of the word 'Jerez'; the
Northern Europeans finding it difficult to get to grips with the guttural
'j' of the Spanish language. Later in 18th and 19th centuries famous
bodegas such as Gonzalez Byass, Domecq, Sandeman and Osborne were
founded. There are today, 64 registered bodegas in Jerez, El Puerto de
Santa Maria and Sanlucar de Barrameda.
In 1967, the Sherry growers of Jerez won an important legal battle
against producers of British Sherry. An Arabic map dating back 1160
proved that the area was then known as 'Seris', and were able to claim
rights of denomination of origin, which in effect meant that 'Sherry'
could only be produced under that name in their area, but let's face it,
they really do know how it's done, and the area is perfect for the job.
The chalky soil and humid climate combine to pro duce the distinctive
flavour of true Sherry.
Sherry Vines are always planted in rows that run north to south, to
maximise exposure to the Sun. The grape is of the Palomino variety which
doesn't actually produce a decent table wine, but is perfect for Sherry.
It skin takes on a golden colour when it is ready to harvest in early
September. At this time, a festival ensues. The grapes are blessed before
being crushed by men in traditional costume. Sherry is actually made from
a mixture of vintages, to try to maintain a constant quality. The casks
are purposefully not filled o capacity, to allow for oxygenation.
The tradition of exportation continues, with 80% of the produce being
exported to countries worldwide, in particularly Britain where the taste
for Sherry hasn't diminished. Other strong markets are Holland and
The main types of Sherry are, Manzanilla, a dry delicate Fino from
Sanlucar de Barrameda, Fino, an extremely dry, pale sherry, Amontillado,
a nutty flavoured, fuller Sherry, Oloroso with its deep mahogany colour,
Cream, a Sherry more popular outside Spain and the ever popular Brandy de
Jerez, a rich Brandy matured in old Sherry casks.
The bodegas allow access to visitors during certain hours. Amongst these
are Gonzalez Byass, Pedro Domecq, Harveys and Sandemans.
In 1928 an artist named George Massiot Brown approached Sandeman for
business. The company asked for designs for posters, and the remarkable
silhouette of the Don was born. Dressed like the Spanish caballeros de
Jerez in a Portuguese student's cape and wide-brimmed hat, the Don cuts a
dark, dramatic figure with his glass of ruby coloured Porto. George
Massiot Brown was well aware that French poster artists were very much in
vogue, so signed his artwork as G. Massiot to hide his Scottish origins.
Little did he know that The Don would be the very first iconic logo for a
wine. Recognised throughout the world, The Don represents the mystery and
sensuality that communicates the Sandeman brand. The Don continues to
prosper. In 1965 Sandeman began advertising on television, featuring the
Don, in a series of creative advertisements.
Now, the Sandeman collection is open to the public in a series of themed
exhibitions covering the key moments of both the evolution of Porto Wine
and of Sandeman, the company and brand. It's well worth a visit if you
happen to be in the Jerez area.
The original article, along with other interesting articles can be found
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