Õåðåñ, Jerez, Xérès, Sherry wine

Sherry wine

The Jerez Region

Olga Nikandrova and Denis Shumakov.

All cities of the Jerez Region

There are two wines with the Protected Geographical Indication status (D.O., Denominacion de Origen) produced in the Jerez Region (sp. Marco de Jerez) — names of these products are controlled by origin and place of their origin is clearly defined. These are Sherry (D.O. “Jerez-Xérès-Sherry”) and Manzanilla (D.O. “Manzanilla — Sanlúcar de Barrameda”). In fact, Manzanilla is a kind of Sherry, which differs from its closest sherry type — Fino — in areas of their ageing together with its technicalities (resulting in some difference in taste and aroma).

The Jerez Region is divided into two geographically overlapping areas: Production Zone and Ageing and Maturing Zone.

The Production Zone is the complex of areas located within the municipalities of Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Purto Real, Chiclana de la Frontera, Chipiona, Rota, Trebujena, and Lebrija which are suitable (by their soils’ characteristics) for growing grapes for sherry. Nowadays the area of the Production Zone comprises about 10000 ha. Practically the boundaries of the Jerez region coincide with borders of the production zone.

The Ageing and Maturing Zone includes only three towns where ageing and maturing of sherry is allowed (Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda). The climate in the three towns is considered to be the main reason for the localization of the ageing process. This area is often referred to as the Jerez Triangle. The pretty wide-spread use of the term “Jerez Triangle” to denote the whole Jerez Region is incorrect.

The ageing of Manzanilla may take place only in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. However, the must for Manzanilla may be taken from any place in the Production Zone.

The ageing and maturing of Moscatel wine, apart from the Ageing and Maturing zone, may take place in Chipiona and Chiclana de la Frontera.

From the geographical point of view (leaving out the technical aspects for a while) sherry is the wine produced from grapes grown and initially processed in the Jerez Region (the Production Zone) and matured in one of the towns of The Ageing and Maturing Zone (for Manzanilla — in one town only). Winegrowers with vineyards situated outside the Ageing Zone (the Jerez Triangle) may produce and sell their own wine but under their own names. It ought to be noted that the abovementioned limitations refer to the name of sherry in Spanish, English and French, leaving out its name in different languages, e.g. Russian. This leads to some interesting consequences, which will be described later.

Within the Production Zone the Jerez Superior Zone is distinguished (and separately registered). It is considered to possess the ideal conditions for producing sherry. The Jerez Superior Zone includes vineyards planted in Albariza soils in the municipalities of Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Trebujena as well as the ones in Chipiona and Rota adjacent to Sanlúcar’s vineyards. At the moment the area of the Jerez Superior is about 8000 ha, the best sherry is produced of the must from this zone. It is remarkable that the Jerez Superior Zone covers up to 4/5 of the Jerez Region vineyards.

Two more products are attached to the Jerez Region: Jerez vinegar (which has its own D.O. “Vinagre de Jerez”) and Sherry brandy. Issues related to sherry, manzanilla and Jerez vinegar are regulated by a special council — Consejo Regulador D.O. “Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, Manzanilla-Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Vinagre de Jerez”. Sherry brandy aspects are regulated by a different council — Consejo Regulador del Brandy de Jerez.

Read next: Climate and Soils.

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