The Sherry Triangle
There are numerous cellars to visit around Jerez, although we recommend the lesser known ones for your own DIY self-guided tour. Definitely NOT your Grandma's Sherry Tasting...
Sherry’s magnificence comes from the fact that "true Sherry" can only be made in this one tiny corner of the planet. Many cheap imitators across the world have tried to replicate the salty, nutty, and aromatic profile of Sherry, and these are the ones that have tarnished the reputation of Sherry from Jerez. Only the unique winds, humidity, albariza soil and the seasonal changes in Andalucía give a singular character to the wines produced there.
Jerez lies in the so-called "Sherry triangle" that is formed by the cities of Jerez de la Frontera , El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda in the province of Cadiz. Palomino Fino is the primary variety for Sherry wines, and it thrives on the unique "albariza" chalky white soil of the region.
The soils found in Jerez vineyards can be broken down roughly into three key types. The most important is albariza – a white, light-texted marl composed of clay, calcium and marine fossils. This soil type is particularly valued for its high albedo (the amount of sunlight it reflects back up to the vines), as this helps to ripen the grapes. Under Andalucia's bright summer sun, albariza soils can be blindingly white. Their high moisture retention is also a significant boon, as this corner of Spain endures the hottest temperatures found anywhere on the entire Iberian Peninsula.
The other two soil types are barros and arenas. Barros is high in clay, with a little chalk, and found mostly at the foot of local hills. Arenas means simply sands, and is naturally found in most coastal areas.
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