When one thinks of Jerez, Spain, images of flamenco dancers, spirited horses, and historical cathedrals often come to mind. But above all, for many, it’s the captivating world of sherry that lingers the most. Nestled within the sun-drenched street of Jerez’s calle Arcos lies the renowned Lustau Bodega—a testament to the town’s rich wine-making tradition.
Today, I had the unique privilege of exploring this historical bodega, and the experience was nothing short of magical. If you’ve ever thought of venturing to Jerez, let me whisk you away on a textual tour of Lustau Bodega, and hopefully, inspire you to taste the marvels of Jerez in person.
A Timeless Welcome
Upon arriving at the Lustau Bodega, I was instantly transported to another era. The bodega, with its rustic terracotta walls and vintage wooden doors, whispered stories of generations of wine makers and sherry aficionados. As I stepped inside, the air was cool and fragrant, carrying with it the intoxicating aroma of aging wines. Even though Lustau has always been in Jerez, this building is the new ‘capital’ location.
The Lustau Legacy
Before diving deep into the wine-tasting experience, I was guided to the right, and read up on the Lustau legacy. Founded in 1896 by Don José Ruiz-Berdejo, Lustau has evolved from humble beginnings to a global sherry powerhouse. The bodega started as an intimate alcázar (courtyard) in the heart of Jerez, where Don José began his experiments with crafting the finest sherries.
Today, Lustau stands as a beacon of excellence, blending tradition with innovation. In Colorado, I find Lustau as the top shelf of sherries and it’s my go to when introducing friends to my home town sherry wines.
The Cathedral of Sherry
Our guide, a passionate Jerez native named Isabel O., led us through the bodega’s dimly lit corridors, each corner brimming with oak barrels. She referred to the bodega as the “Cathedral of Sherry,” and it wasn’t hard to see why. The stillness of the place, combined with the almost spiritual reverence for the craft, was palpable.
As we strolled, Isabel regaled us with tales of the solera system—a unique aging process that Lustau employs to perfection. With each story, I gained a deeper appreciation for the meticulous art and science of sherry-making.
A Symphony of Flavors
The highlight of the visit was, of course, the tasting session. We began with the Amontillado, a radiant amber delight that danced between dryness and a hint of sweetness. Next was the light and crisp Manzanilla Papirusa, whose salty notes hinted at Sanlúcar’s coastal breezes. Fino Jarana was next which was delightfully dry with a delicate almond aroma, a perfect representation of the classic Fino style from Jerez. The Don Nuῆo Oloroso was rich and full-bodied, reminiscent of dried fruits and almonds. Up next, the Pedro Ximénez was a dessert in itself, lush with flavors of figs, raisins, and molasses. Lastly, we drank a Vermuth, and it was the first time I ever tried it. I don’t know why, but I never had Vermuth. Personally not to my taste but everyone else loved it.
Each sip told a story—a journey from grape to glass, nurtured by the hands of master blenders and the passage of time.
Inspired by Beauty
Throughout my visit, I couldn’t help but capture the beauty around me in photographs. The play of light on the barrels, the ancient cobblestone pathways, the passion in the sherry making craft—all begged to be immortalized. I’m even toying with the idea of transforming some of these moments into paintings. (Stay tuned for that, once I have the necessary permissions!)
A Fond Farewell
As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a golden hue over Jerez, I bid goodbye to Lustau Bodega. The experience was not just about tasting exquisite sherries; it was a journey through time, culture, and passion.
If you ever find yourself in the enchanting town of Jerez, a visit to Lustau Bodega is a must. It’s a sensory experience that lingers, much like the aftertaste of a fine sherry.
Until then, raise a glass to the timeless allure of Jerez and the wonders of its liquid gold. Salud!