Sherry & Champagne: More in common than you think
When most people think about Sherry and Champagne, two very different images come to mind. With Champagne, we think of glamour and fame. Maybe a couple of billionaires sipping on Champagne from their private jet or a group of fashionistas enjoying a glass at a VIP party in Paris. These are far from the images that are evoked by Sherry. In a way, Sherry wine seems to have gotten stuck in the past and brings to mind a scene in Downton Abbey of British aristocrats having a drink from their Victorian mansions.
For this reason, it may be surprising that Sherry and Champagne actually share some very important similarities. In this post, we briefly mention a few of the things they have in common while encouraging you to learn more about these very special wines that are largely misunderstood. In reality, however, like with all types of wine, there isn´t much that needs to be understood. Just taste and enjoy. Discovering new wines is part of the fun.
Most are familiar with the appearance of Sherry wineries and they are well worth a visit. The long white corridors, black ceilings, and arches, together with the natural lighting that comes in, evokes a unique experience when you are in the wine region of Jerez.
It is rare that the vineyard comes to mind as it should when thinking of Sherry. The first similarity between Sherry and Champagne can be drawn from the vineyard and the soil. Both wines come from calcerous or chalky soils. This is no surprise, as it is said that the best wine comes from this type of neutral base.
More similarities are found in the production process. Both Sherry and Champagne rely heavily on the use of yeast. For the production of both wines, there is a long aging process which is decisive for the quality and result of the wine.
Both markets are dominated by a small group of a few brand names and wineries that produce in great quantities. Sherry and Champagne are both considered mainly aperitif wines, even though both wines are perfect pairings for many types of food. This is a common misconception of the consumer.
From cool northern France to the warm south of Spain, it is understandable that one would think that these wines have more differences than similarities. When comparing Sherry with Champagne, however, it is clear that Champagne wins in sales numbers but the wineries themselves are undoubtedly more spectacular in Jerez. If for instance you stay in Seville, we recommend you join a wine tour to Jerez to enjoy some of the fantastic wineries in the area.
In case you are interested in finding out more information about the wines from Jerez de la Frontera, we recommend that you visit Sherry.org where you can find a lot of information about the types of sherry wines (Palo Cortado, Manzanilla, Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso) and also information about the local sherry sweet wines. There is also a lot of interesting information on the best way to pair these wines with food.
Jerez, San Lucar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa María are a very interesting "wine triangle" where wine is a key part to understand the local way of living. You can also find more information about other Spanish wine regions and wine tours in Spain in our dedicated sections.
Some tours to enjoy Sherry in Jerez
You will be able to visit the monumental winery facility and taste its famous wines known all over the world. The story of this legendary winery dates back to 1835 when Manuel María González Ángel reached Jerez. That year he acquired a winery and began producing and exporting their wines. González joined his agent in England, Robert Blake Byass, and Gonzalez-Byass was born. The company remains family-owned and Tio Pepe is highlighted among its wineries in Jerez. We have to recall as well their brands of Soberano and Lepanto brandy
A self-guided day tour in Jerez de la Frontera including transportation by train from Seville. From the train station, take a nice walk to 2 of the best sherry wineries in Jerez, the Sherry capital of Andalucía. Enjoy two English-guided winery visits by a wine professional (1-1 ½ hours each) and taste the different types of sherry at the end of each visit. A perfect introduction to the famous Sherry wines of Jerez de la Frontera