Immerse yourself in sherry culture
From Tuesday to Friday
10.30 English Basic Tour
12.00 Spanish Basic Tour
13.00 English Full tasting
15.00 English Basic Tour
Monday and Saturday
11.00 Spanish tour
13.00 English tourSCHEDULE A TOUR
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Before pressing, the stems are removed. Must is obtained from the pressing process, from which we extract the free-run juice of the initial pressing.
The musts are filtered and subjected to a pH correction process to prevent bacterial contamination during fermentation.
Once the pH has been corrected pH, the must is treated with sulphur dioxide to prevent oxidation and potential bacterial contamination. Generally, this is followed by “separating” the must, or cleansing it through the process of decantation.
Fermentation is a natural biochemical process through which the sugars contained in the grape must are transformed into alcohol.
In late autumn, the “base wine” is ready to begin the racking process, which consists of separating the clear wine from the lees that have settled on the bottom of the tank.
Without question, the "Flor del Vino" is the most extraordinary natural element of all of those resulting from the remarkable singularity of Sherries.
This unique yeast forms a layer (flor) that covers the surface of the wine isolating it from the air and protecting it from oxidation.
The wine’s production of “flor” is only possible within a certain range of alcohol content.
Pedro Ximenez is made exclusively from overripe Pedro Ximénez grapes. Once picked, the grapes are laid out in the sun- bunches being extended on rush mats in the vine until they are practically raisins. This process is known as “soleo”.
Moscatel wines are produced with 100 per cent Moscatel de Chipiona grapes, harvested when they are at a high point of maturation.
Wine tasters try every batch of new wine in order to distinguish its characteristics and establish the following classification:
- Finos or Manzanillas: those pale coloured wines of great fineness.
- Olorosos: those wines with greater body and structure.
Sherry is a fortified or "encabezado" wine in the terminology of Jerez wineries. Meaning, additional alcohol is added to these wines to facilitate their extended aging process in American oak barrels.
Wines classified according to their age as Finos and Manzanillas are fortified until reaching a total alcohol content of 15º. The wines classified by their age as Olorosos, are fortified until reaching a minimum alcohol content of 17º.
Depending on the final alcohol content, the wine will evolve inside the barrels through one of two aging systems used for sherry:
- BIOLOGICAL AGING:By storing the wine at 15º, a cap of yeast (flor) forms to isolate the wine and protect it from oxidation.
- OXIDATIVE AGING: Above 17º biological activity becomes impossible. Without the protection of the “flor,” the wine will begin the long, inexorable process of oxidation, evident in its progressively darkening colour.
In this system, the older wines benefit from the freshness of their younger counterparts, and the younger wines benefit from the characteristics acquired after years of aging.
The stacking of the wine in the solera and criadera system requires technical and artisanal expertise.
It is a dynamic system in which different vintages of wine are methodically blended in order to create certain characteristics in the final product that are the result of all of the vintages.
The proper procedure for this aging method requires the precise organisation of the wines in the cellar, according to their vintage, which takes place in the so-called "criaderas." Thus, each solera system is comprised of various “criaderas” or scales consisting of a specific number of barrels. The scale that contains the oldest wine is placed on the floor, thus the name “solera.” Atop the solera, various scales (criaderas) are stacked based on their age and numbered accordingly with respect to the solera (1st criadera, 2nd criadera, etc.).
The solera produces the wines intended for consumption. Periodically, a certain proportion of the wine contained in each of the barrels in the solera is extracted in a process known as “saca,” which leaves a portion of the cask empty. This empty portion is replenished with wine from the “saca” of the 1st criadera. In turn, this empty portion is replenished with wine from the 2nd criadera and so on successively until reaching the youngest scale, which is refilled with wine from the latest harvest.
The process of refilling the empty space in a scale is known as "rocío." This approach to aging wines generates a complex blend given the number of vintages contained in the solera. The whole process of effecting “sacas” and “rocios” in a solera is called "correr escalas" or “running the scales.”
Wines that consist of 95% Airen and Palomino grapes are distilled using copper pot stills known as “alquitaras”.
With their lees removed, the wines are distilled through a simple distillation process, separating the tops from the bottoms and using only the central fraction of the spirit.
The casks used to age the Brandy de Jerez (known as "botas" in the Jerez region) are all 250-600 litre capacity barrels made from American oak.
According to regulation, certain types of sherries –Fino, Oloroso, Amontillado, Pedro Ximénez, etc.– must be aged for at least three years
These vessels help enhance the brandy’s different nuances, depending on the type of cask used. Thus, the Fino casks render paler Brandies than those produced in vessels that contained Amontillados or Olorosos. The Brandy de Jerez that results from being aged in barrels that previously contained Pedro Ximénez, are the darkest and smoothest.
This is the name given to the aging process characteristic of Jerez, which features two fundamental aspects:
• Extracting and partially replenishing the spirits contained in the casks. This results in a tremendously complex mixture of the different spirits in the barrels.
Periodic extractions (known as “sacas”) and partial replenishments (called “rocíos”) occur every three, four, five months, or every one or two years, depending on the customs of each winery and the characteristics of the brand.
• To do so, barrels are stacked on top of each other; the row (or scale) nearest the ground is known as the Solera. A small fraction (generally less than a ¼) of the contents is extracted from each and every one of the barrels in the Solera, which, combined with the brandy extracted from the other soleras, is intended for bottling.
The empty portion in each of the casks of the Solera is replenished with brandy from the barrels situated immediately above (1st criadera) and so on successively until the last criadera, which is refilled with the youngest, un-aged wine spirits.
This fragmented aging process lends the Brandy de Jerez remarkable consistency and sustained quality with the passage of time.