ARCHITECTURE OF SHERRY WINE




The production range of White Sherry, light and very dry, for dark, heavy and sweet wines is sufficient. The production of each wine type, requires special microclimatic conditions. With the knowledge gained by generations of winemakers, adjustments to the micro climate can be performed, in order to produce the type of wine desired. To explain these procedures, it is necessary to understand the particularities of different wines beforehand.

The inclusion of “flor”(also known as the crust – layer of yeast that develops on surface of wine), is relatively new, and dates from the first third of the 19th Century. Formerly, its aroma was sought after, but it was only found in the mature Vintages. So in 1824, with the increasing demand for fine wine, cellars were completely restructured. In addition, its “Catedrais”(Cathedrals) belong to an extensive line of cellars, that have been followed over the centuries, where their traces have been located during some excavations conducted in the 8th Century.

The collections held in the basement of the cellar of the “Catedral” are pure, but the pressing occurs elsewhere, where the wine is matured after fermentation. The barrels are superimposed on three or four layers, in long rows.

The maturation process in terms of the wine that has "flor", requires a tall building, that has good thermal insulation throughout its structure and size, which inturn, correspond to the climatic requirements in Jerez. In many cases, their construction, was financed with capital from Spanish businessmen, who returned home, after the independence of Latin American colonies.

Summers are very hot, with an average temperature of 36,6° C, experienced in the hottest month, which by no means is excessive. In turn, in the winter, during the coldest month, an average temperature of 5° C occurs. Although the values presented are not extreme, temperatures can swing significantly throughout the day, a basic characteristic of the Jerez climate. Generally, humidity is high, but varies considerably, depending on the prevailing winds. Thus, if the wind is predominately from the west, humidity is around 90%, in the case that winds are from the east, humidity levels fall to around 25%. These fluctuations are very dangerous for the “flor”.

Producers, have therefore needed to structure their cellars well, so that their wines benefit from the advantages of climate. The buildings are constructed near the sea, or in a prominent location, where the wines can take advantage of the Atlantic winds. Facing northwest/southeast, the cellar receives minimum direct sunlight, and maximum moisture content, which allows the “flor”, to develop in the dark and in silence. The rectangular windows are defined, taking into account, the height of the wall, so that no rays of sunshine hit any of the barrels aligned in rows within the cellar, and windows are covered with blinds, and a trellis of esparto, in order that light is maintained, and sea winds can enter.

The Jerez wine cellars are large and can reach a height of 14.5m. It is therefore important to ensure that, each barrel has the maximum volume of air possible, because the ripening process of the “flor” requires good ventilation. To protect the casks from the heat and cold, the side walls must be at least 60cm thick. This way, the barrels are constructed with highly hygroscopic material, and in the summer, the cellar floor is sprinkled with water, twice a week, so that the moisture can remain in the air.

About

Gomes Weine imports wines from Portugal, Spain and France, and possess over 30 years of experience in their commercialisation. Superior quality is what you can expect, and what differentiates the wines, of Gomes Weine, given that, they originated from the best producers, and were created by renowned wine makers.

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++41 61 303 04 50
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++41 61 303 04 54

   
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