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Gallery 6: Jerez, Spain 2014

Escuela Alta, Jerez

In August 2014 we moved to Madrid, Spain - my first international move and Elizabeth's second. Needless to say, we were extremely excited. In terms of previous travel, by that time we had visited several of the northern comunidades, including to a cousin's wedding. The south, though, had and has always been the most attractive for its stereotypes of sun, pace of life, good food and of course access to the Mediterranean. After a couple months 'moving in' and getting settled in Madrid, we enjoyed our first proper holiday in years to the town of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalucia, an ancient Moorish city - and that it was. We explored the narrow city streets (for the Moors' defensive purposes) and spent days going between these tiny cobbled streets and large, open, mosaic-ed plazas all in the search for the local tipple, sherry.

The name 'Jerez' comes from the word 'shiraz', as in the grape. The name of grape is from the city of Shiraz in Iran, due to the Phoencians' excellent trading skills. Confusingly, when you are drinking a glass of Shiraz, you are drinking the famous red wine but another interpretation of the same words 'Jerez' and 'Shiraz' is indeed the word 'sherry'. So when you drinking sherry you are also drinking Shiraz #. All sherry comes from Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María (the Sherry Triangle), or should I say 'vino de Jerez' as of course the Spanish call it. This is how the English came to call the drink 'sherry', as the local pronunciation of Jerez is remarkably similar to 'sherry' when you've had one too many sherries, so blame the British visitors and their lack of Spanish skills for the name change.

We learnt of the many varieties of sherry, most of which we did not know, and took part in at least two sherry tours of the local bodegas. All of these local bodegas have names you would recognise in any British supermarket, such as Sandeman or Harveys. The largest brand in Spain is Tio Pepe, which you may already know without realising, if you've ever seen their famous adverts - the enormous black silhouettes of bulls that dot the Spanish countryside. It turns out Pedro Jimenez is my personal favourite, which is like drinking liquefied raisins (no, really, that's *exactly* what it is like), whilst Elizabeth often was found near the Oloroso (pun intended if you know Spanish).

The final tidbit of sherry information to share is that sherry is only sherry because of a certain type of wild yeast that lives in the air in this part of Spain and, as far as anyone is aware, nowhere else. The bodegas literally leave casks of Jerez wine out in the open to capture this unique yeast to begin the fermentation process. So when I said all sherry comes from Jerez, it's true, there is no other possible option.

So please click the photograph above, the title or visit the Galleries page at



P.S. For any photography enthusiasts or professionals reading: I use a Panasonic G5 (micro four-thirds), and mostly used a 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens from 2013-2017 (full frame equivalent 28-84mm). In early 2017, I replaced it with the much faster 20mm f1.7 II prime allowing the capture of much more light, as well as an increase in saturation, a reduction in size and a significant boost in sharpness. This is the full-frame equivalent to a 40mm f1.7 so is a 'normal' lens in the traditional sense. I also use a telescopic 45-200mm f4-5.6, it has great reach given the full-frame equivalent of 90-400mm, but at f5.6 at full extension is quite slow. If you would like to discuss cameras or photography I would be very happy to hear from you, just use the email in the footer.

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