Hey everyone! Apologies for the delay, but we are happy to be back on the blogging track. Last week, I had some family visit us in Spain and we were able to take some day trips with them. Although we’ve blogged about spending a day in Jerez de la Frontera before, we had never been on a tour of the famous Sherry Bodega, Tio Pepe!
The name of the company isn’t exactly called Tio Pepe, however it’s what most people in Spain know it as. The real name is called Gonzalez-Byass, which is named after the two families who started the company in 1835. The name Tio Pepe (which in Spanish translates to Uncle Pepe, was named after one of the founders Uncles, who taught him a lot about sherry wine).
Jerez is famous for it’s sherry wine because of the albariza soil in the area. The rocky layer covering the ground is able to keep water in the soil (since the South of Spain only has 65 rainy days a year).
The tour included a bit of a history lesson about the company, a short film and a train ride around the extensive Bodega and gardens. On one of the first stops, we learned about the Brandy that Gonzalez-Byass makes. The picture above shows what the brandy looks like after each year in aged barrels (previously used for the sherry wine). They still use the original pots acquired in 1844 and the double distillation process to make their famous Lepanto Brandy.
We also spent a lot of time walking through the endless rows of barrels filled with sherry wine. Many famous people have visited Gonzalez-Byass throughout the years and there is a tradition for them to sign a barrel. Some of our favorites included Steven Spielberg, Pablo Picasso and Chelsea Clinton.
The tour also led us down one of the world’s most beautiful streets (13th in the world, to be exact), and it did not disappoint. Grape vines grow across the two buildings, making a beautiful roof over the street.
Our favorite part of the tour was the Sherry tasting at the end (duh)! When you first arrive at the Bodega, you have the option to pay 14 euros for the tour (which includes two glasses of sherry) or 19 euros (which includes 4 glasses of sherry and some tapas). Can you guess which option we chose?
We tried two dry sherries and two sweet sherries. The first one was Tio Pepe, a Fino sherry that everyone in the South of Spain drinks at Feria! It’s very dry and often times people mix this wine with sprite, the mix is called rebujito. We also tried a dry Oloroso (called Alfonso), which can be seen as the second dark sherry in the picture. The third sherry was a pale cream, called Croft Original. This is meant to be drank with fruits, cheese or deserts. The last sherry was our favorite, a sweet Olorosso called Solera 1847. It is very sweet and is meant to be drank as a dessert wine (or poured over vanilla ice cream). If you see any of these sherries near you, it’s worth picking up a bottle to give a try!
Overall, our tour of Tio Pepe was informative and fun. If you ever find yourself in Jerez, this should definitely be one of your number 1 stops! For more information on what else to do in Jerez, check out our previous blog post here.
Be sure to check out our short video about our tour below & stay tuned for a post about our day trip to Cádiz!
Hasta Luego! Amanda