Have you managed to track down a bottle of ‘Tio Pepe En Rama’? Released this spring, this unfiltered and unclarified fino needs to be drunk soon, as it’s as fresh as it gets. As the PRs at Gonzalez Byass bodegas say, it’s been bottled in its most ‘natural and delicate state’. Now, a few months later, this limited release is extremely hard to find.
This growing trend of offering uncomplicated, natural finos is in some way a response to the renewed interest in the Tabancos in Jerez de la Frontera (many of which have been closing due to commerical pressures). These are cooperative bars that sell fino sherry straight from the barrel, staff pouring a glass from an unlabelled bottle that is filled with young fino.
Friday we were in Jerez for a wedding, so at lunchtime before the ceremony kicked off in the early evening, we sought the relative cool of a Tabanco in one of the narrow streets of old town. To find out more about these bars, take a look at Robin Graham’s blog post here.
Of course there is a lot more to sherry that just finos, but these great value vines, served ‘champagne’ cold are so refreshing in summer, and seem to just ‘work’ so well with the rich tapas of Andalucia. I’ve now been drinking sherry since moving to Andalucia almost 10 years ago, so I kind of feel a little ahead of the curve when it comes to the recent fashion of knocking back this retro-cool fortified wine.
Jerez has a special feel about it – it has the class and style of Seville, but without the nonsense and pretence.
I’ve been here a number of times over the years, but somehow hardly ever managed to post any notes about the city on my blog. Like so many first time visitors I’ve enjoyed the sherry tour at Gonzalez Byass. It’s undoubtedly touristy but really interesting and the sprawling bodega has lots of interesting little corners. Also, Tio Pepe’s fino is found everywhere across town, so it really becomes part of every visit to the city. Also, the annual Feria de los Caballos, the horse fair is worth a visit.
Our friends’ wedding reception was held at another bodega in town, at las Bodegas Lustau; so we were lucky to enjoy some of the finest Sherries in the world, including their Manzanilla Papirusa, from neighbouring Sanlucar de Barrameda.
TomaTours offers bespoke tours to Jerez – contact Manni Coe for more details.
(excuse the grainy shots, just the convience of iphonography!)
Thanks for the link, Andrew. Believe it or not,I still haven’t gotten my hands on a bottle of en rama. Thanks heavens for tabancos.
I agree about Jerez – it does have a special feel.
Great post! I adore Jerez and its sherries but, like Robin, still haven’t managed to bag a bottle of en rama – yet!