The origin of the wine of Jerez is found in the Phoenicians being the first to cultivate the vine in the south of Spain, so in the settlement now known as Doña Blanca establish their first and early wine. This town is considered the first formal place where wine was produced in Western Europe. The wines of this distant region of Hispania were appreciated by the Romans, who changed the name to Ceret, and the wine of the Vinium Cerentensis region, perfecting cultivation techniques, the use of barrels and some primitive bottles among other innovations. In 711 AD the Arabs from North Africa invaded the Iberian Peninsula for a period of 800 years and changed the name of the City to Sherish, deriving phonetically as it is now known as Sherry. In 12 Alfonso X gets the Reconquest of the territory, calling the city Xerex de la Frontera, for being on the border with the Kingdom of Granada. for this he was accompanied by one of his trusted men, named Fernán Ibáñez Palomino. From there derives the name of the most Jerezana grape of all: La Palomino Fino. It is from the twelfth century when exported to England undergoes a great revolution. The growing demand for Sherry wines by English, French and Flemish merchants forces the city council to enact the Ordinances of the guild of the Raisin and the Harvest of Sherry, the first regulation that regulates the details of the harvest, the characteristics of the "boots" (barrels), the breeding system and commercial uses. The sale of Sherry wine in the Indies was frequently hindered by the action of pirates who took over the cargoes of the fleet and sold them in London. The most important booty was obtained by Sir Martin Frobisher, from the fleet of Sir Francis Drake, who in 1587 sacked Cádiz and took away 3,000 wine boots. The arrival of that booty in London made sherry fashionable among the English Court. Of the popularity of the wine of Jerez in those days they give an idea the works of William Shakespeare, who in company of his friend Ben Johnson gave account of a good amount of bottles of wine of Jerez in the Bear Head Tavern. At the end of the 19th century, as happened in almost all European vineyards, the phylloxera epidemic devastated the vineyards of the Marco de Jerez. An insect imported from America destroyed the Jerez vineyard, clogging the roots of the vines. The recovery of the Jerez vineyard was relatively rapid and meant the definitive selection of grape varieties that are still used today in the production of Sherry wine. In the last third of the nineteenth century, the winemakers of the Marco de Jerez had been present at all the international forums in which what was to become the subsequent legal scheme of defense of the Denominations of Origin. In 1933, with the publication of the first Spanish Wine Law, the existence of the Jerez Denomination of Origin is already recorded. In 1935 the first Regulation of the Denomination of Origin Jerez and its Regulatory Council was published, the first to be legally constituted in our country.
Marco de Jerez
It is the southernmost wine region of continental Europe, with a climate of approximately 300 days of sunshine per year, with a rainfall of 620 liters per m2, and the two predominant winds: Levante (Warm and dry) that comes from the interior, and Poniente (fresh and humid) from the Atlantic Ocean, which, together with the soil, the grape and its care, are its characteristic features. Sherry wine is made in the triangle formed by Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda, based on 2 grape varieties: Palomino and Pedro Ximénez. Sherry Frame Wines are usually aged by a very special method: that of criaderas and solera. By virtue of this system, the wine that is bottled is extracted from a last aging scale, formed by a certain number of boots (barrels) which is generally the one closest to the ground, hence the name of the solera, in which the oldest wines are contained. The quantity extracted from these boots is replaced by the younger wine contained in the upper row of boots, the first criadera, and this in turn by the wine of the second criadera, still younger, and so on. The result: exceptional wines that maintain, year after year, the highest quality The nature and capacity of the vessel used in the production of Sherry wine has evolved throughout history. Initially and for more than two thousand years it was constituted by ceramic containers: amphoras and jars. Currently, the preferred and most generalized one consists of the American oak wooden boot of 600 liters (equivalent to 36 arrobas) of capacity. This type of oak is preferred to any other for its particular contributions to Jerez, The wooden boot is a container that is not completely watertight or inert, because the wood is permeable to oxygen and also adsorbs the water of the wine that transpires into the environment from the cellar. This perspiration causes a loss of wine volume in the boot, the more intense the lower the humidity level of the cellar. The loss due to this effect is called "shrinkage" and is of the order of 3 to 4% per year of the total volume of wine stored.
- Manzanilla: dry white wine made with palomino grapes and aged with a layer of yeast called veil de flor
- Fino: white and dry wine, is obtained from the total fermentation of grape must of the Palomino variety. The base wine thus obtained is topped up to 15% vol. of alcohol, in order to favor the development of the flower veil.
- Amontillado: It is a very unique wine, from the complete fermentation of palomino grape musts, fruit of the fusion of two types of aging, biological and oxidative.
- Oloroso: It is a wine made with palomino grapes, alcohol is added up to 17 °, thus preventing the development of the flower veil, with which the wine ages exposed to oxygen. The result is a very structured and complex wine.
- Palo Cortao: These are wines from extremely fine palomino musts, initially headed at 15% vol. and identified with a "stick" or oblique stripe
Generosos de licor
- Cream: It is a wine of mixture or pitch, obtained from dry oxidative aging wines, usually sweetened with Pedro Ximénez wine. The most common is to use a base of oloroso, which gives it an intense character and a lot of body.
- Dulces Naturales
- Pedro Ximénez: Pedro Ximénez is made from the grape of the same name, which is passionate in the sun to obtain a must with an extraordinary concentration of sugars. Pedro Ximénez is probably the sweetest wine we can find in the world. And yet, its aromatic complexity and flavors make it fresh and harmonious.
- Moscatel: It is made with grapes from this variety of the coastal areas of the Marco de Jerez with colors that range from golden to very intense mahogany and very different textures, depending on the sugar content.
VOS y VORS
The Regulating Council of the Denomination of Origin Jerez-Xérès-Sherry created in the year 2000 two special categories of Sherry Wines with Qualified Oldness: Wines over 20 years old or "V.O.S." and Wines over 30 years old or "V.O.R.S." wines over 20 years old use the initials V.O.S., corresponding to the Latin mention "Vinum Optimum Signatum" (Selected Wine as Optimum) and also coinciding with the English expression "Very Old Sherry". In the case of wines over 30 years old, the initials to be used are V.O.R.S., corresponding to "Vinum Optimum Rare Signatum" (Wine Selected as Optimum and Exceptional) and also coinciding with the English phrase "Very Old Rare Sherry".