To get a bit of the local flair check this short article from the Telegraph “Costa de la Luz is an attack on the senses”.
El Puerto de Santa María
Sherry is what brought me to this coast. I am not a sherry expert at all, but I wanted to get to know about this fortified wine in its homeland. I have to say that I learned a lot, and I am happy to share some basics:
- jerez = xérès = sherry
- The Sherry Triangle is in the Spanish province of Cádiz bounded by the towns of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Jerez de la Frontera, and El Puerto de Santa María.
- A sherry must officially come from the Sherry Triangle to be labelled as “sherry” (D.O. Jerez-Xeres-Sherry).
- The grapes used for sherry are Palomino Fino, Muscat of Alexandria, and Pedro Ximénez–all white varieties.
- Most sherry wine is dry, only a small proportion is sweet.
- Something very important about sherry is the solera system used to blend and age the wine.
Now I will leave detailed explanations to the experts in case you are interested:
Layout by Elaine Chukan Brown
Here is where we got our first good lesson about sherry.
The hostess showed us around the family-owned bodega, giving clear explanations of their sherry-making process.
I was glad we could even see how the sherry is aging inside the oak cask with the veil of flor. Gutiérrez Colosía is located very close to the sea; therefore, the veil of flor here is especially active.
No time to stop as we had a table booked for lunch at Casa Bigote in Sanlúcar de Barrameda (30 min, 35 km), here is where the Guadalquivir River meets the Atlantic. It is from this port that some renown explorers like Columbus, Magellan, and Elcano once set sail for their overseas adventures.
Casa Bigote is most famous for its prawns, but excellent for all kinds of fresh fish and seafood stews. Great choice!
- Casa Bigote is located toward the end of the road (Calle Pórtico Bajo de Guía). Book online; the place is busy.
Gonzalez Byass may not ring a bell but what about their iconic Tío Pepe Fino Sherry? Yes, they produce the world’s most famous sherry, which was also the first to reach England in the mid-19th century.
This family bodega is huge, and nowadays the brand is present in over 102 countries. I was glad to find the Peruvian cask next to the Swiss one!
For the winery tour and tasting, we were not alone … Part of the visit was on a little train.
The historic part of the winery combined with the modern tasting area was impressive.
This guest house with only three double rooms (one of them is a studio) is impeccably run. The friendly host made us feel immediately welcome and at home.
Upon arrival she gave us some insider tips for excursions in the area and checked at what time we wanted to have breakfast.
Day 2 – The next morning at Siete Balcones, we woke to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and found that a delicious breakfast had been left ready for us in the kitchenette, including homemade bread and muffins among others … What a treat and nice way to start the day!
The kitchenette was fully stocked with all what a guest might need to enjoy of a pleasant stay. We could really just relax, and the rest was taken care of.
We appreciated that we were so well looked after and that our privacy was in no way disturb. Definitely, a B&B of a premium class.
Vejer de la Frontera itself is a charming town in Andalucía. This pinturesque hilltop town is well worth a visit. With its strong Moorish character, you would not mind to get lost in the maze of narrow white streets.
We wanted to explore some beaches. So we took the car and, following one of the tips we had, drove to Bolonia beach (45 min, 45 km). What we found was a beautiful 3.8 km sandy beach; unfortunately, it was too cold for a dip.
We headed to Tarifa (30 min, 24 km), the southernmost town of continental Spain.
- As I always say, avoid visiting these places in Jul/Aug to evade the crowds.
I will be posting more about fascinating Andalucía (Andalusia)—it is a promise, because it is so worthwhile!