A blog and review on all things Sherry. It is about tasting, enjoyment and learning more about the World’s Finest Wine. "Sherry is a thoroughbred" as Javier Hidalgo rightly puts it. Included are the amazing local Brandies and the remarkably good table wines also produced in the province of Cádiz.
* The founder of González Byass, Manuel María
González Ángel, was a sickly lad but determined to make the most of what the
doctors thought would be a short life. One of his first business ventures in
which he had invested all he had - and more - was a disaster: he sent a cargo
of potatoes from Huelva to Cádiz, but the ship sank. His mother, María del
Rosario Ángel, was nothing if not resourceful and she was not going to let the
mere sinking of a ship stand in his way. She quickly took charge of the
situation with a bucket of seawater and some potatoes to check if they would
float. They did, so mother and son hired a little fishing boat and using its
nets managed to recover three quarters of the lost potatoes from the bay of
Pedro's Penny Farthing preserved in the bodegas (foto:jerezsiempre)
* Manuel María’s son Pedro was a great
sportsman and imported a penny farthing velocipede from Birmingham, which can
still be seen in the bodegas. One day one of his friends, Pedro Manjón,
received a letter from him saying “Please forgive me, a few days ago I saw you
in the street and I didn’t stop to chat. It was because when I get off the velocipede
I am quite unable to get up again, and I hate making a fool of myself.”
* Julián Pemartín was a highly successful
bodeguero, but an even greater spendthrift. He spent a fortune building the
palatial house “Las Cadenas” which is now home to the Real Escuela del Arte
Ecuestre. The balls and receptions held there were of legendary extravagance
and guests included all the nobility, even the king. On one occasion Pemartín
asked the King, Alfonso XII, if there was anything his majesty found wanting.
The King replied that there was all a King could desire. Pemartín replied “Your
majesty is mistaken, one thing is missing: a rope to hang myself with, for I am
a ruined man.” In 1878 he went spectacularly bust and Sandeman, his main
creditor, took over the firm.
Recdreo Las Cadenas (foto:pueblos-espana.org)
* Manzanilla is a word with more than one
meaning. Outside Cádiz it can be camomile and it is also a variety of Olive.
There is a story about a leading Sherry shipper who sent a small barrel of
Manzanilla olives in brine as a present to one of his better customers. The
customer seemed to misunderstand the gift, however, and complained that the
wine tasted strongly of salt and was full of floating foreign bodies.