What are the new changes in the sherry DO wine regulations?
We know that Sherry wine is a Spanish traditional fortified wine aged in a solera system. Spanish sherry is one of the most versatile wines in the worlds. These wines range from extremely dry (the majority of the Sherry) to one of the sweetest wines in the world. Sherry, Vino de Jerez in Spanish, is produced only in Cadiz province, Spain. In 2022 the sherry DO has decided to make new changes to the sherry DO wine regulations to adapt to the demand and to the changes that have happened in the area from the beginning of the 21st century.
In the previous DO regulations, the wines that will be aged to become sherry can be produced in the “Marco de Jerez” area. This area includes Rota, Chipiona, Trebujena, Lebrija and Chiclana de la Frontera (as well as the sherry triangle of course). The DO allows unfortified wine from Montilla Moriles made with Pedro Ximenez to produce Sherry. However, these wines could only age within the Sherry Triangle to be considered Sherry wine and have the D.O. Jerez-Sherry-Xeres.
If you want to read more about the production of sherry and understand sherry first, please click here. Please click the following link to read about the different types of sherry wine.
Please watch the following video for a short introduction to the original world of sherry wine. Some of these have changed with the new regulations as we will explain below.
The Sherry Triangle and the Marco de Jerez
What is the Sherry triangle?
The Sherry triangle WAS the only place allowed by the “denominacion of origin DO” to age sherry until October 2022. It was formed by the towns of Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlucar de Barrameda; and El Puerto de Santa Maria. In the map below you can see the three lines that create the triangle.
What is the Marco de Jerez?
Marco de Jerez is the area where grapes grow to then send to the sherry triangle to age. You can see all the blue circles, those are the capitals of the municipalities that grow the grapes. The lands where the grapes grow is the whole area in the circles and in-between.
New changes about where to age sherry?
The new changes in the DO sherry wine regulations basically say that now the sherry triangle and the marco de jerez is the same. This means that you can now have a sherry from Chiclana de la Frontera.
In my personal opinion I believe that this should have happened a long time ago. It will increase the amount, which does not mean the same as reduce the quality. Some of these areas where already producing some incredible finos, amontillados, olorosos…EG. Robert Parker scored 99points, the oloroso of Manuel Aragón that is 90 years old. Until now they had to compete with the whole sherry triangle as well as the rest of the wines in the world. While the quality of some sherries within the sherry triangle needs to improve quite a lot. e.g. manzanillas that are just made to mix and make “Rebujitos”.
Which grapes does the Sherry DO allow to make Sherry wine?
Types of grapes allowed by the sherry DO before the new change in rules
Only three grapes were allowed by the DO. Palomino is the most common grape and used to make all the dry sherries. Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel de Alejandria are used to make the sweet sherries which can then blend with dry sherries to make other types of sherries.
However, while Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes grow well in this soil, some say that the Moscatel de Alejandria prefers sandy soil. Most of the Pedro Ximenez grapes come from Cordoba province, from the Montilla-Moriles region.
Types of grapes allowed to make sherry wines now
I love this new rule because as sherry became the most profitable wine farmers planted palomino everywhere. This caused the many endemic grapes to became endangered as they were not worth growing. Palomino is a very resilient grape, easy to grow and has thick skin.
With the new rules many of these grapes are now allowed to grow and become sherry. Some of these new grapes are Mantúo Castellano, Mantúo de Pilas, Vejeriego, Perruno, Cañocazo and Beba.
Types of Spanish Sherry wine, labelling and containers
Types of sherry wine
- Fino and manzanilla in Sanlucar de Barrameda: Unti now, in Sanlucar de Barrameda you could make manzanilla and some producers fino as well. Slowly it will change, over 10 years, Sanlucar de Barrameda will only produce manzanilla and fino will be produced in the rest of the DO.
- Sherry does not have to be fortified. As temperatures are increasing less distilled alcohol is necessary. So as long as there is the minimum of 15% alcohol producers do not need to add distilled alcohol. The minimum of 2 years of ageing still applies.
Containers and ways to transport sherry
The new rules permit Sherry to be sold as Bag in box or other containers in some places like Chiclana for a period of 5 years. This will allow the producers to adjust to the regulations. Sherry can also be sold in 2 or 5 litre plastic containers or transported in single-use containers of 10, 15 or even 20 litres as well.
Labelling of sherry wine
New labels are being introduced to distinguish the ages of biological ageing such as “manzanilla pasada” and “fino antiguo” for over 7 year old sherries.
Types of sherries, from dry to sweet
If this blog makes you feel like you need a sherry in hand and you do not have any, you may want to check out the following blogs. Click on any of the following links if you want to know my favourite wines for each type of sherry.
Do you want to try a biological aged sherry wine? If so, click here to see some of my favourite manzanilla wines.Another biological aged sherry is fino, click here to see some of my favourites. Is your favourite sherry wine palo cortado? If so, click here to see some of my favourites. If your favourite Sherry wine is Amontillado wine, click here.
On the other hand, if you want to learn more about: biological and oxidative ageing; the soleras system; and the “flor” (the layer of yeast that grows on some sherry types), click here.
Full day tours in Vejer de la Frontera and Cadiz province
If you are looking for Sherry wine experiences from Seville or Cadiz to taste and understand even better the types sherry wine contact us. We do cultural and culinary eperiences throughout Cadiz province. I will now take advantage to show you the great food tours in Cadiz province that we do. Officially, Vejer de la Frontera is one of the most beautiful villages of Spain, you should come and meet us! If you are love sherry, please click here to read about the amontillado sherries I recommend in my tours.
Sherry wine tours
If you have your own transport we can accompany you while learning about Jerez-Sherry-Xeres D.O. and Manzanilla, from the vineyard to your glass. Enjoy the best Sherry bodega tours, local culture and traditions and the local gastronomy. In case you do not have a car we can arrange transport, restaurant and the rest of your trip for you on our Ultimate Sherry wine Tasting tour. We can design a private tour just for you and your family.
Please watch the next video to see what do we do in the sherry winery tour:
If you are staying in Vejer de la Frontera or within Cadiz province we can organize a private Sherry wine tasting with local gourmet tapas for your group. We will go to your place and do a Sherry wine or Andalusian wine tasting for you privately. Each sherry wine will be paired with with a local food tapas. We can focus on premium Sherries; VORS and premium Sherries; or Andalusian wines in case you do not like Sherry wine.
If you want to learn more about Jerez de la Frontera while tasting 5 different sherries with 5 local tapas in traditional tabancos bars and enjoying a little bit of flamenco join our tabancos tour in Jerez. However our sherry wine & tapas tour in Cadiz or Vejer de la Frontera! Learn about 5 different sherry wines (from dry to sweet), wine tastings, and how to pair it with gourmet traditional food from the area. The tour includes 5 tapas and 5 wine/Sherries.
Sherry wine love is very contagious, surely you will also become one!
Cultural and culinary food tours
If you want to learn the whole process of the Almadraba and Bluefin tuna in Cadiz province check our Bluefin tuna tour. You will learn the history of Bluefin tuna in the area since Phoenician times. You will go in a private boat ride to visit the Almadraba (if you are lucky it may be active); visit a local food market; and taste different parts of bluefin tuna in all ways, salt-dried, grilled, raw.
If you would like to visit other beautiful white villages like Vejer, we can do a tour of the white villages in Cadiz province. On the other hand we can mix a visit to a beautiful white village with a visit to an olive oil mill. Or you can choose to do a private tour that we can design especially for you based on your interests. Come and join Explore la Tierra in Vejer de la Frontera, Cadiz, Spain!
Our latest addition is our become an artisan for one day tour. Make your own cheese and your own leather souvenir in Ubrique and enjoy its great history and panoramic views. This white village is famous worldwide for its importance for the international leather companies.