Spain - Jerez
It is the anglicisation of Jerez (Xeres) that gives us the word Sherry. Jerez the sherry producing region is in the south of Spain between Cadiz and Sevilla. The wine has also been know as sack, from the Spanish saca, meaning “extraction”, that is taken from the solera system.
All wine labelled as “Sherry” must legally come from the ‘Sherry Triangle’, an area in the province of Cádiz between Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa María. – the three main towns of the sherry trade. In 1933 the Jerez DO was the first Spanish denominación to be officially recognised.
There is a further demarcation within Jerez; Manzanilla can only come from Sanlúcar – situated at the northern tip of the sherry triangle and based around the delightful small town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, flanked by the Guadalquivir estuary.
Before the phylloxera infestation in 1894, there were estimated to be over one hundred varieties of grape used in Spain for the production of sherry but now there are only three white grapes grown: Palomino: the dominant grape used for the dry sherries. (approximately 90 per cent of the grapes grown for sherry are Palomino), Pedro Ximénez: used to produce sweet wines (when harvested these grapes are typically dried in the sun for two days to concentrate their sugars) and Moscatel (used similarly to P.X. but less common).