Foods and Wines

Manzanilla Sherry and Seville’s Fair

Have you ever wondered when Spanish people wear Flamenco dresses? Flamenco dresses are linked to dancing Flamenco, the traditional dance of the South of Spain.  Even though Flamenco has now been declared World Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO, its origins are still unclear and Andalucians have been dancing  Flamenco for generations during special festivities, such as pilgrimages and fairs. This type of fair has evolved from traditional livestock markets to tent cities where people gather to dance Flamenco, eat tapas and drink Manzanilla Sherry.

The first fair of the season is traditionally the fair of Seville, Andalucia’s capital city, which started this Monday with the lighting of thousands of  lights and lanterns and will finish next Sunday.

Seville’s fair is one of the biggest and most famous fairs in Spain and people from all over the world come to the city to admire the costumes, elegant horse-back riders or to have a ride in a horse-drawn cart, try to learn some Flamenco moves and enjoy the food and the wine in the casetas, the bar-like tents that remain full and loud till 3 am.

Just like any other party in Spain, food and wine are essentials, and in the Seville Fair locals drink mainly Manzanilla Sherry, a dry Sherry, similar to Fino, produced in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. There are four types of Manzanilla, depending on the stage of the “flor”, a flower-like yeast peculiar Sherries that forms on the surface of the wine resting in casks:

  • Manzanilla (sometimes Manzanilla Fina) is the traditional one, bottled after 3 to 5 years in cask.
  • Manzanilla Pasada is a richer, older version in which the flor starts to fade (usually around 6 to 7 years).
  • Manzanilla Amontillada is a Manzanilla in which the flor has died (usually between 8 and 12 years), taking on more of the qualities of an Amontillado.
  • Manzanilla Oloroso is a rare type of Manzanilla which had extended aging (even 30 years) without flor and takes on the quality of an Oloroso.

It is very popular among young people to drink Manzanilla in a cocktail called Rebujito: a large tumbler glass with ice and filled with half  Manzanilla and half any lemon-based soda.

The bodegas that produce Manzanilla Sherry that have products in Canada are the following:

–          Álvaro Domecq

–          Bodegas Hidalgo-La Gitana

–          Bodegas Osborne

–          Emilio Lustau

–          Gonzalez Byass (Tio Pepe)

–          Hijos de Rainera Perez Marin (La Guita)

–          Marques del Real Tesoro

–          Sánchez Romate

–          Beam Global

–          Williams & Humbert


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