In the Andalucía region of Spain, south of the regional capital of Seville, lies the Sherry Triangle. This sun-drenched area is composed of the three towns of Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María, all approximately 20 minutes apart from one another. Here, you can take in the area’s rich Spanish and Moorish history as well as discover local specialties:- horses, flamenco, tapas and Sherry. From beachfront cafés and pine-tree-lined hikes in the Doñana National Park to wine tasting, shopping and a dip in a Turkish bathhouse, Sherry country offers the sights and sounds of a culture blended by 3,000 years of history. —Seana Yee
Where To Dine
La Carboná offers high-end cuisine from the Sherry chef himself, Javier Muñoz Soto, whose food combines the passions and flavors of Jerez in one unforgettable experience. Don’t miss the restaurant’s Sherry tasting menu, a five-course meal offered in two price tiers (around $47 or $70) paired perfectly with assorted Sherry styles. Or try La Cruz Blanca, where many local chefs dine, and enjoy outdoor seating on the cobblestones. Don’t forget to tapas-hop at what the locals call tobancos. Jerezanos head to Tabanco Plateros, El Pasaje or El Gutiarrón for cold beer and Sherry on tap.
Where To Stay
In Jerez, Hotel Doña Blanca offers a refreshing retreat situated just a short walk from the train station and main market, for easy access to just about everything. For a boutique vibe with modern amenities, spacious beds and spa-like bathrooms at reasonable rates, consider the 16-room Hotel Palacio Garvey. You can also rent an Andalucían apartment for a more authentic experience. Try Airbnb or Apartamentos Puerto Sherry for options throughout the triangle, including locations in small towns or right on the beach.
Take advantage of the morning with fresh churros con chocolate. Discover the 15 Selfie Points throughout Jerez for fun photos featuring the best cultural and historic landmarks the region has to offer. Visit the Hammam Andalusí for a dip and a massage. You’ll be restored for a night of dancing at Damajuana or shouting jaleos ’til dawn at a flamenco peña.
Get around like the locals do. Walking is the best way to navigate Jerez, but buses, taxis and trams are your next best option for exploring the Sherry Triangle. Alternatively, make new friends and download the BlaBlaCar app to find ride-sharing opportunities.
Where To Taste
For the novice, Bodegas Tío Pepe offers the perfect Sherry overview, including a train ride for the little ones (or big ones that want to tour the property more efficiently). For unique grape-to-glass lessons in the vineyard as well as other enotourism offerings, Spirit Sherry offers unique first-hand educational experiences. Seek out the boutique styles of Bodegas Tradición, too. Not only will you taste top-shelf Sherry, you’ll take in one of the best private art galleries with works by renowned Spanish artists. Receive “southern hospitality” from the father-daughter duo at Bodegas Urium, and sample its award-winning Sherry. In El Puerto de Santa María, you can’t miss Bodegas Osborne, the birthplace of the famous Osborne bull icon. Also, take a day on the coastal shores of Sanlúcar de Barrameda and sip the chilled manzanillas of Delgado Zuleta.
When To Go
The festivals in May and September are a must-see if you can stand the heat, as temperatures can climb to the upper 90s or higher.
Sherry is akin to drinking in world history; the fortified wines of this region trace back to the time of the Phoenicians. The three main grapes used in Sherry production—Palomino, Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel—thrive in the region’s chalky albariza soils. Though there’s still appreciation for sweeter-styles like cream, Moscatel or PX (Pedro Ximénez), attention has increasingly been placed on dry-style selections, which encompass a broad range of crisp and salty to nutty and fruity profiles. They’re identified with different classifications (fino, manzanilla, amontillado, palo cortado and oloroso), and each has its own production standards, techniques and identities. Taste through the full range of Sherry styles to determine your favorite.
Local In The Know
Eduardo Varderas Otero, enologist and cofounder of Spirit Sherry, suggests a visit to the beaches of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, a historic port town at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River where Otero played as a child while visiting his grandparents. In addition to sampling regional manzanilla Sherry, indulge in the excellent local seafood. Try to time your trip to experience the Sanlúcar horse races, which take place along the shores in August.