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Jerez

Jerez is the historical region in southwestern Spain near Cadiz with long-standing traditions in Sherry making. The so-called Sherry Triangle is formed between the vineyards of the three well known producing areas - Jerez de la Frontera and the nearby seaside towns of Puerto de Santa Maria and Sanlúcar de Barrameda. The history of the region is like the history of Spain for the past centuries. The main grape variety for the production of Sherry is the not so very well known Palomino grape variety as well as Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel. There are three main kinds of soils in Jeres including the most important Albariza, white, light-texted marl composed of clay, calcium and marine fossils. Albariza is particularly valued for its high albedo (the amount of sunlight it reflects), as with proximity to water in the Rhein region, this helps to ripen the grapes. The high moisture retention of the soil is also a significant benefit, as this corner of Spain endures the hottest temperatures found anywhere on the entire Iberian Peninsula. Barros and Arenas soil types are the other two, as Barros is rich in clay, with a little chalk, and found principally at the foot of local hills and Arenas are sands, and is naturally found in most coastal areas. The climate is strongly influenced by both the cooling effects of the Atlantic Ocean and the warmth that comes from the eastern plains coastal and winds that are moderating the temperatures. These conditions play an important role to preserve vital acidity in the sherry grapes, but also provides some natural air-conditioning for local wine cellars, contributing to slow and gradual maturation of the wines. As well, because of the warm climate, the specific characteristics of the conditions within Sherry warehouses can have a strong impact on the final Sherry style and this can be affected by climate factors, or even building construction and ventilation. The traditional Sherry have always been popular but the past decade some very ambitious winemakers have produced dry white wines, which are gaining international recognition.

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