October 14, 2008

Cádiz: A Field Trip with a Ferry. And some Sherry.

On the ferry

501 Sherry Bodega

On the sherry tour. The number on that first barrel tells how many barrels are in the entire group.

All bottled up and ready to be shipped; just not to the USA as we sadly learned

The quiet beach of Valdelagrana

Matt and I had ordered some sherry in Barcelona and at one bar in Sevilla and had learned from my guidebook that across the water from Cádiz was one of the main producers and exporters of this wine-based drink. We thought it would be fun for our second day to take a field trip (via ferry!) across the water to the city of Puerto de Santa Maria and take a tour of a sherry bodega or two!

Upon landing we went directly to the Tourist Information Office to find out which sherry bodegas would be giving tours in English and when and if we had to make an appointment as some request you do. After receiving the map of the area and the listing of bodegas, we narrowed it down to three that had tours in English and on Fridays, though one we would be just getting to on time if we left then, one was a couple of hours later, and one needed an appointment. We decided to try our luck with the one that needed the appointment first and thought maybe we could schedule something for later in the day.

We totally lucked out because we walked into 501 (the name of the sherry bodega) and asked about a tour (there were no tour groups around or anything; just businessmen and women who worked in the office). A kind woman nodded her head, asked if we could wait about five minutes, and opened two huge barn-like dark wooden doors. Five minutes went by and another younger woman who would be a our personal tour guide appeared! It was great! We were on our own private sherry tour learning and seeing what kinds they make, how long each kind is kept in the barrels for fermentation, what temperatures they are stored at, what kind of grapes are used for each, the history behind the bodega, how they are bottled, and also where they are sold. The tour ended with the three of us at the little bar in the bodega which showcases all of their products, and Matt and I getting a tasting of about 5 different delicious sherries, learning more about 501 (the origin of the name comes from the number of barrels that the first production of sherry came from with the original owner...five hundred and one barrels), and also just talking about Spain (we learned she is originally from the city of Granada) and the United States with our amazing tourguide! I wish I remembered her name because I would highly recommend anyone who happens to be in the area to go back and request her for a tour.

After the tour we took our tourguide’s recommends for a place to eat lunch and a good beach. Lunch was at a local seafood restaurant called Romerijo and the beach of Valdelagrana was a long quiet expanse of powdery sand which had only a few sunbathers; though Matt and I guessed that it got very busy in the high season of the summer.

No comments: