Happy Birthday, Manzanilla!
December 15th 1964, marks a special date for sherry lovers and the fan base of Andalucian wines. 50 years ago the town of Sanlucar de Barrameda was accredited its own Denomination of Origin, called D.O. “Manzanilla – Sanlucar de Barrameda”, specifying manufacturing methods and the area wherein the wines have to be processed and aged.
Sharing the overall production zone and surveillance of the same Consejo Regulador, many similarities with other types of sherry are to be found. Still, due to geographical and climatic peculiarities, alongside century old tradition and craft heritage, it is there –where the Guadalquivir meets the Atlantic Ocean, that the wines develop a unique character not to be found anywhere else in the world.
The river, the bordering coastal line and the Marisma, a huge wetland surrounding the flat area next to the river delta, are important factors generating a microclimate with higher humidity levels and moderate temperatures. The velo or flor, a layer of yeast forming on top of the wines in the barrel, adores these ideal growing conditions and gives the wines their characteristic crisp, tangy and salty signature.
The final results are treasured and well known around the globe, loved by aficionados, wine enthusiasts, chefs and sommeliers. Nine and a half million bottles of Manzanilla are sold annually, though by far the majority is consumed domestically. An ideal match for local sea food and an abundant variety of dishes, Manzanilla is enjoyed at lunch or dinner tables and beyond.
Forming part of celebrations, festive occasions as well as people’s everyday routine, the wines are not just a simple beverage but a cultural element. As a matter of course, Sanlucar proudly offers its speciality to guests, friends and foreigners, with that pride resulting in a bit of a “tongue-to-cheek” rivalry with Jerezianos and the rest of Andalucia. Therefore ordering a glass of Fino in Sanlucar might earn you a few dubious looks…
Nevertheless, and speaking of celebration and joy, the 50th anniversary will be accompanied numerous events and a promotional campaign by the Consejo Regulador. Two special edition bottlings of Manzanilla “Fina” and “Manzanilla Pasada” will be released, a parade on jubilee day, gathering officials and representatives from different bodegas, institutions, politicians and the likes. Even in 2015 events will be held as an homage to the D.O.’s creation, bringing together top-chefs and wine experts, not only in Sanlucar but also Seville, one of the main markets for Manzanilla and Madrid, another hub, even encompassing Madrid Fusion, world renowned gourmet and drink summit.
Join the festive mood, raise a glass of good Manzanilla and already start planning your 2015 vacation in the land of milk and honey, the Guadalquivir and a thick layer of flor! Because it’s right in Sanlucar de Barrameda where you can enjoy the century old history and unique heritage of one of the world’s greatest wines.
With the best wishes and spirits.
Photos from sherrynotes.com