Jerez part the fourth...

This was our last full day in Jerez and the only day of bad weather.

"Thurs. am Gonzalez Byass
Pouring with rain, main entrance, not visitors entrance. Quite beautiful

Bit nerve-wracking as it seems a bit more formal & imposing than Lustau. We're waiting in the library, surrounded by massive volumes on booze.

Gonzalez Byass tour wonderful - 850 hectares they own directly and another 500 which they control.

Apostoles Bodegas - barrel called "Christ" created for Queen Liz II of Spain as she wanted to see crushing but she visited very late Oct. so few grapes about - all wine went into "Christ." Apostles created to compliment but only 1 Judas - Mateo to replace traitor.

Main bodegas built in the '60s with huge weathervein & 3 levels, each with 1000s of barrels.

"Tio Pepe" Uncle Joe wanted to bring fino to the masses - beforehand most export was oloroso. We saw the original solera celler.

'Solera' from the word for soil. Older sherries topped up in intervals of 5 years.

Palo Cortado universally agreed to be a total mystery. Tio Pepe ave. 5 years though up 50 harvests present in each batch. Crazy.

Vikki really lovely & enthusiastic.

Dude who does the crazy pour was even more impressive than I expected. Cafe reception area built into the giant bodegas. Invited Vikki to Scotland.

Very much a sense that in spite of its size this is still a hands-on family business creating hand crafted products (though Vikki did admit that modernisation was ongoing). The tour was wonderful with Vikki's enthusasm for the family business quite intoxicating.

In both cases, Lustau & Gonzalez Byass, vinification was somewhat a mystery, taking place off-site. The impression was very much that it is the process, the nurture during solera & single barrel ageing that produces the defining characteristics & while my inherent curiosity regarding viticultural practices & vinification was unfulfilled, my respect for the peculiarities of these wines, and the huge variation within palomino from fino to oloroso to amontillado to palo cortado has grown considerably. I find myself drawing comparison with Champagne, anotherplace where the process of creation is a great deal more important or is in fact greater than the sum of its parts.

Lunch at Bar Juanitos - eggs & tatties a treat!

We tried the siesta thing before getting car rental sorted. Worked a treat 230-430 out like a light. We packed as well. Took an hour to sort out where to put all the bloody sherry I've bought.

Hotel staff were incredibly helpful with getting car sorted for us. Graeme a total legend with car rental - off to the airport to pick it up now.

Car guy was very helpful as well & we got a free upgrade to a pretty sweet Peugeot 307. It has a stereo too so we mixed some cds and should have some amazing road trip tunes!

A final fino at Nonos was lovely, followed by a walk through the quieter, residential side of town. We're now at the Plaza de la Asuncion, where we had our first decent meal here, to have our last decent meal here. Fitting I think - we've ordered a lot.
Ruevueltos Jerez (wild aparagus, ham, eggs)
Tuna Croquettes
Carrots & Coriander seeds
beet root & onions
Pork sirloin wrapped in ham with an oloroso cream
Albondigas (pork & beef) with tomato sauce
Really lovely meal , sitting in the square.

*Some oddities - loads of construction going on, loads of dog shit, just how fucking long is the siesta anyway?*

Really looking forward to Cadiz tomorrow - somewhat strange to think I'll be in my own bed tomorrow evening.

I'd like to think that, considering the language gap, we've emersed ourselves pretty well, steered clear of other tourists, We've done quite a bit in our brief time here and as such it feels we've been here both longer (but ina nice, familiar way) and shorter (in wondering where the time has gone)"

So there it is. Sorry about all the technical wine stuff.