The Sherry Triangle is the wine growing region in the southwest corner of Andalucia between the towns of Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlucar de Barrameda, and Puerto de Santa Maria. This region produces the world's most famous fortified wines, Vinos de Jerez-Xeres-Sherry and Manzanilla de Salucar de Barrameda. Much information is available on the web about sherry and manzanilla (see our Spain Links page), including descriptions of the various types of sherries -- fino, amontillado, oloroso, and cream sherry. Manzanilla is similar in style to the bone-dry fino, but since it is made in the seaside town of Sanlucar, it has a more pronounced salty-tangy flavor.
Tastings of sherry in Jerez are available by taking tours of the major bodegas, most of which charge a nominal fee. Reservations should be make in advance, since most bodegas give a limited number of tours at set times from Monday to Friday. We recommend a tour of one of the largest bodegas, Gonzalez Byass, which has frequent tours on Monday to Saturday beginning at 9:30 with the last tour at 6 p.m., and two tours on Sundays, 9:30 and 10 a.m. Gonzalez Byass is the maker of Tio Pepe (Uncle Pepe), the top-selling fino in the world, whose guitar-carrying image is hard to miss all over Spain.
Gonzalez Byass can be contacted at (3456) 340000. Other major bodegas in Jerez include Harveys, makers of Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry, and Williams & Humbert, makers of Dry Sack. For more information on bodega tours in Jerez, go to the Sherry.org website and click on the visitor's guide section:
Seville is a good spot to use as a home base for visiting the Sherry Triangle, located less than an hour's drive away via the Seville-Cadiz autovia. There are several major attractions in Seville, including medieval treasures such as the Cathedral, the Giralda (Bell Tower), and the Alcazar (Moorish palace), the Plaza de Espana in Maria Luisa Park (site of the 1929 World Expo), and the site of the 1992 World Expo, which has been partly made into a theme park.
Seville is also the home of excellent Andalucian food, including many varieties of tapas indigenous to the region. There is no shortage of tapas bars and restaurants to visit for tasty dishes accompanied by a copita of vino de jerez or manzanilla.
After visiting the bodegas in Jerez, we recommend a trip to nearby Sanlucar for dinner at Casa Bigote, located along the waterfront near the fishing boat piers. This beautifully decorated (and wonderfully air conditioned) restaurant is renowned for its fresh seafood and shellfish, including large prawns, called gambas. We enjoyed a meal of grilled gambas and delicious sopa de mariscos, seafood chowder. Casa Bigote's tapas bar, the Taberna Tipica Marinera, located adjacent to the restaurant, is a great spot to get a taste of manzanilla at its source, with the salt smell of the nearby sea in the air.
BAJO DE GUIA, SANLUCAR
One of our favorite tapas bars in Seville was Casa Pepe Hillo, located across the street from Seville's historic bullring, La Maestranza. There is outdoor seating available, at which we enjoyed several delicious tapas accompanied by La Gitana, the best-selling manzanilla in Spain made by the Hidalgo bodega.
CASA PEPE HILLO, CALLE DE ADRIANO, SEVILLE
In the Triana district, the old gypsy quarter of Seville, we enjoyed a great meal at Restaurante Los Cuevas. We were brought to Los Cuevas by Professore Jim Amato and his lovely wife, Mary (Maureen's cousin), who enjoyed the summer teaching and studying, respectively, at the International College in Seville. The four of us enjoyed platter after platter of deliciously prepared vegetable and meat dishes, including eggplant, spinach, and solomillo de cedro iberica, tasty grilled pork. The sangria flowed freely and we topped off the meal with cafe con leche and excellent pastries. All told, it was one of our best meals in Spain as well as one of the most reasonable.
RESTAURANTE LOS CUEVAS, CALLE VIRGEN DE LAS HUERTAS, 1
We highly recommend staying at the Hotel Dona Maria, which is conveniently located in the center of the city, just steps from the Cathedral at the edge of the Santa Cruz district. Rooms are comfortable and tastefully decorated, and our room had a small balcony with a view of the Cathedral. Breakfast is included in the room rate. The most unique feature of the Dona Maria is its rooftop pool and patio, which includes a bar. The splendid view of the Cathedral and the Giralda lit up at night makes this a great spot to enjoy a nightcap.
HOTEL DONA MARIA, DON REMONDO, 19, SEVILLE