24 hours with Jerez-Xérès-Sherry
THE CATHEDRALS OF WINE
A touristic route through the oldest lands and vineyards in Spain, brought by the Phoenicians in 1100 A.D.
In and around the entire region of de Jerez de la Frontera bodegas are authentic cathedrals of wine, which depict the architecture, landscape and human history surrounding a bodega. Visiting some of them is like looking on a silent cathedral.
El Marco de Jerez offers a variety of proposals: wine tourism visits and tastings at the bodegas, wine pairing lunches, walks in the vineyards, Wine Spa, night tours, typical breakfasts, wine courses and tastings, vinegars and brandy, equestrian and flamenco shows. An entire selection of very attractive options.
9:00 - Breakfast with the sites of Jerez
To start the day off right before all the tours and experiences to come, the best is to go to the market in the Plaza Esteve and right in front in the cafetería La Vega you can find churros, fresh-made on the premises, while watching all the people come and go.
Next is to visit a bodega, you have more than 25 to choose from. The options are greatly varied, from tastings, samplings, breakfast, lunch, horseback riding and flamenco shows.
Among them all, which are near the market, don't miss González Byass, the most well-known and home to the famous Tío Pepe, the bodegas Domecq with a lot of weight and history in the city, or the bodegas Tradición that has one of the best collections of paintings in Spain with works from Zurbarán, Velázquez, Madrazo and Lucas Villamil.
12:00 - Touring the Region of Jerez
In car we leave the city and head toward Trebujena located near the mouth of the Guadalquivir River. It is famous for its musts that you should not miss tasting at some of the cooperatives in the town. Try it with delicious prawns or the famous eel from the bar El Litri (c/ Larga, 27).
After this we are off to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River and in front of the Doñana Natural Park. Through Barrio alto en route to the Bodegas Barbadillo, we can stop by the Palacio Ducal de Medina Sidonia (Plaza Condes de Niebla, 1), residence of the Dukes of Medina Sidonia, declared a monument of historical-artistic interest. It contains the archive called the Red Duchess (Duquesa Roja), Isabel Álvarez de Toledo, considered one of the best historical archives in the world. It has an Inn and a cafeteria with wonderful views of the mouth of the Guadalquivir and the Doñana Natural Park.
Close by is the XV Century castle where the Catholic Kings stayed on their visit to the city and from where the Catholic Queen looked upon the sea for the very first time. In front are the bodegas (c/ Sevilla, 6) in which you can find the Museum of Manzanilla Sherry to get your appetite going.
14:00 - The Best Tapas
The La Sacristía del Marco de Jerez Winery (c/ Rubiños, 23), offers tastings of wines from Jerez and Sanlúcar and you may also purchase products related to salt from the local company Max Meridia this is all part of the Taberna Guerrita, which also offers a varied selection of the cuisine of Sanlúcar.
Now it is time to eat. In and around the plaza Cabildo there are many places to enjoy an entire selection of gastronomic variety; in an old grocery store, subsequently converted into a tavern, which today is a reference for tapas in this city is Casa Balbino (Plaza Cabildo), where shrimp fritters are art as Ferrán Adriá signed when he was there. In the plaza is also La Gitana with an exquisite menu of seafood stews.
Close by is Barbiana (c/ Isaac Peral, 1) another historical spot in the city centre, which offers not only great fish and seafood but also its own house-made Crianza Manzanilla Sherry. For a little change, the Bar Juanito (Plaza de San Roque) offers dishes with a bit more meat such as Iberian pork loin. Another suggestion is to dine in the Patio Andaluz of the Bodega La Cigarrera, (Plaza Madre de Dios), the oldest in Sanlúcar (1758), if time permits; if it doesn't, stop by anyway.
16:00 - From up high
En route again and parallel to the coast of Cádiz, you come to Chipiona, here is where you will find the tallest lighthouse in Spain at 69 metres, el Faro de Chipiona, from 1867,which you can climb up to a magnificent lookout point. This place also produces a wonderful muscatel, a sweet fruity wine obtained from the muscat grape. You can find this at El Castillito (C/ Castillo, 11) or at the bodegas César Florido (c/ Padre Lerchundi 35-37) José Mellado (Ctra. de Rota km. 3).
In the nearby region of Rota the wine par excellence is the tintilla, a sweet, dark enological relic from the indigenous grape variety, the tinta; in the bodega El Gato (c/ María Auxiliadora,12) can be enjoyed with tapas. Ferris (Ctra. El Puerto de Santa María-Sanlúcar, km. 16) produces a tintilla reserve of exceptional quality. While you are at it, stop and see a singular monument, the Corrales de pesca, most likely Roman or Arabic constructions close to the shore that resemble small pools. During low tide fish and shell fish would become trapped and then caught by fishermen. The corrals on the Almadraba beach have been declared Natural Monuments.
19:00 - Manolo Prieto's Bull
In 1956 the advertising agency Sahuquillo was commissioned by Grupo Osborne, for the design of a symbol to represent the brandy Veterano on highway billboards. The artist Manolo Prieto, a consultant for the advertising firm, proposed the Spanish fighting bull (el Toro Bravo) still in use today and as of 1997 has been declared an Asset of Cultural Heritage. These are the bodegas of Osborne, Terry, Luis Caballero, Bodegas 501, etc.; those that made famous El Puerto de Santa María.
The city has been so tightly linked with America since the XV Century that it has left its mark on civil architecture, which is visible in many palaces and houses. Of equal note is the Castillo de San Marcos (X-XIV Century), an ancient Arabic mosque later converted to a magnificent fortress. It has been told that Christopher Columbus himself came to reside in the castle when he was in the city seeking financial backing from the Duke of Medinaceli for his navigation project.
Another interesting fact, Juan de la Cosa, who lived in El Puerto, in 1500 drew the first world map, which included the Americas.
A must is to try the delicious fish and seafood from the Bay of Cádiz in any of the bars and restaurants in the Ribera del Marisco in this city such as Romerijo (Plaza de la Herrería, 1) one of the centres of the cuisine of Cádiz and recently recognised with its first Michelin Star for the restaurant Aponiente (c/ Puerto Escondido, 6) of the seafood chef Angel León.
21:30 - From tavern to tavern
If you opt for tapas in Jerez de la Frontera check out the tabancos, the name given to taverns that traditionally sold wine and food and that currently offer every type of tapa, as well; Tabanco San Pablo (c/ San Pablo, 12), El Tabanco (Plaza Rafael Rivero, s/n), Tabanco Plateros (c/ Francos, 1) on the corner of the Plaza Plateros, which is full of tapas bars and always very lively.
This is one of the places most internationally known for flamenco, recently considered as Intangible Heritage of Humanity; be sure to enjoy a show such as those presented at La Taberna Flamenca (c/ Angostillo de Santiago, 3), or at La Cuna del Flamenco (plaza de Silos,7), where you can have a drink as it operates as a pub as well. If you are lucky you can see every type of show during the Festival de Flamenco between February and March.
| Ruta del Vino y del Brandy de Jerez.
|| Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre de Jerez de la Frontera.