Manzanilla and Fino, the great stars of the ferias of Andalucía
The spring fairs are preparing to take off in the towns and cities of Andalucía and with them comes a key moment for sales in the home market for the wines of our Denominaciones de Origen, especially Manzanilla and Fino.
At the very moment when the flor yeast reaches its maximum expression inside the butts of Manzanilla and Fino, the bodegas do their spring bottlings so that the wine is in ideal condition for consumption in the casetas (tented stands) of the various ferias of Andalucía. The gentle springtime climate – so important for biological ageing –naturally also provides the perfect conditions for the enjoyment of these unique wines.
Consumption should be moderate, however, and there must be guarantees of quality. For this reason the Consejo Regulador stresses the need for both those in charge of casetas and consumers themselves to insist that bottles of Manzanilla and Fino have the relevant Denominacion de Origen seal of guarantee. So to enjoy a well-chilled glass at the feria, be it Sherry or a classic rebujito (a cocktail of Fino with lemonade), it is always highly advisable to check the half bottle, whether it is a leading brand from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, if it is Manzanilla, or from Jerez or El Puerto de Santa María if it is a Fino.
Manzanillas and Finos: the perfect wines for the Feria
There are 60 bodegas producing Manzanillas and Finos, and they offer a great variety of brands and styles. All these brands are registered at the Consejo Regulador which guarantees they are genuine and have undergone prolonged ageing which positions them among the world's most appreciated wines. Here is some advice on how to consume them at their best, enjoy them responsibly and with all guarantees during the feria:
Half bottles. The half bottle is by far the most widely used format, with a capacity of 375 ml or 6 glasses, and it is the ideal size to keep the wine cool.
Very cold. The ideal temperature for the enjoyment of Manzanilla is very cold, between 5°C and 7°C or what is the same, putting the bottle in an ice bucket.
Fine quality glassware. Manzanilla is best enjoyed in a good glass or tasting glass, slender in shape and made from fine glass. The glass should be held by the stem so as not to allow the wine to warm up and we can thus enjoy it for longer at the right temperature.
Manzanilla and good food. Enjoyment of wine at the feria should always go hand in hand with good food. The saline notes of Manzanilla match perfectly the typical feria flavours such as shellfish, little fried fish, Ibérico ham, salt cured meat or fish, seasoned dishes, grilled meat…
When it is hot: Rebujito. The combination of Manzanilla or Fino with lime or lemonade is ideal for keeping cool when it is hot and for better hydration. The perfect proportions are one third Manzanilla or Fino to two thirds lime or lemonade with plenty of ice and perhaps some mint leaves. This “cocktail” is not new, in Victorian England they drank these wines with lemon, sugar, carbonated water and crushed ice as a refreshing drink known as a “Sherry Cobbler”.
Guarantee seal. To ensure you get the genuine article you are recommended to always ask for recognised brands, and in any case check the guarantee seal on the back label.
Responsible consumption. Maximum enjoyment of Manzanilla can only be achieved with moderate and responsible consumption. The abuse of alcohol has undesirable consequences for the health.
Always best in good company. Manzanilla and the feria are symbols of celebration with friends and family. Seek out the best company to enjoy unforgettable moments, dancing, singing or accompanying your food with the best wines.
This article was originally published in April 2017 and updated in 2018.