AT A GLANCE:
Name of wine estate: Gonzalez Byass – Bodegas Tio Pepe
Wine region: Jerez
Standout points: The world’s largest collection of Sherries; bastion of winemaking tradition in the heart of historic Jerez de la Frontera
Winemaker: Antonio Flores
Wine style: Sherries and brandies
A shrine to Sherry
Ah the smell of a genuine Sherry bodega – where age-darkened barrels stacked ceiling-high in vast criadera and solera systems emit their heady sweet-sour fermenty fumes… Discover the magic and history of this finest of fortified wines at Bodega Tío Pepe in the historic centre of beautiful Jerez. This expansive winery complex, telling the story of a bastion of 19th-century winemaking tradition, invites you to its sunlit Andalusian courtyards, vine-bedecked streets and spectacular centennial wineries where some of the best Sherries and brandies are laid down to age.
For the aficionado
Fino, Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Oloroso, Pedro Ximénez – there’s a lot to learn and a lot to taste at Bodega Tío Pepe (that’s before you’ve even got started with the brandies, vermouths and vinegars). This ultimate shrine to Sherry in the heart of Jerez de la Frontera provides a variety of well-priced tours and tastings giving visitors of all knowledge levels an insight into what makes the region’s fortified wines so special. For the true Sherry aficionado, why not dig deep with a two-hour technical tasting featuring some of the best wines – nine in all – from the Tío Pepe cellars?
The deluxe treatment
Alternatively, push the boat out with Tío Pepe’s ‘Super Deluxe’ tour. This begins with a morning tour of the supremely elegant Viña Canariera vineyard, where you will have breakfast and learn about the region’s Palomino Fino and Pedro Ximénez grapes. Then it’s on to the bodega in Jerez to discover the criadera and solera systems in which Tío Pepe ages its wines, brandies and vinegars, before enjoying exclusive access to the world’s largest collection of Sherry, featuring bottles from the 19th and early 20th centuries. This VIP tour culminates in a wine pairing lunch in a specially reserved dining setting.
Tapas and dancing horses
Lest you forget, the city of Jerez is one of the most stunning – and underrated – short-break destinations in Europe, replete with quintessential Andalusian sites and activities, from bull and horse shows to exquisite palaces, such as the Palacio Virrey Laserna. Marvel at the pure-bred razas Espagnolas performing an equestrian ballet staged by the Real Escual Andaluza del Arte Ecuestra; and, of course, feast on tapas and fino with the locals at the Plaza de la Yebra.