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Collection: F.J. Ruiz

Diego Ruiz Gomez, the founder of this bodega in Chiclana de la Frontera began his career as a foreman in a small, new winery. This was at the end of the nineteenth century. He lost his life in an accident in 1920 and was succeeded by his son, Fernando Ruiz Jurado. He was 12 years old - that's right - when he started to work for the business and over the years he learned and refined all the traditions and techniques.

In 1956 Fernando handed the reins of the company to his own son: Diego Ruiz Aragon, who developed the bodega yet further. To this day, Diego continues to advise the fourth generation, as they continue to do what they do best: making wonderful wines.

D.O. Jerez - Manzanilla: Sherry is a wine with a protected designation of origin that may only come from the southernmost part of Spanish Andalusia. This sherry region is officially named D.O. Jerez (Xérès) Sherry y Manzanilla. This region forms a large triangle on the map between Sevilla and Cádiz. It's a beautiful area with picturesque white villages, rolling vineyards, exquisite palaces and a lively street life.

Inland, at the heart of the region, is the city of Jerez de la Frontera. It is from here that the wine derives its name. Sherry is in fact an anglicisation of Sherris, the old Moorish name for Jerez. A lot of bodegas are to be found in the old Moorish city centre. You can nibble on delicious small eats in its many tapas bars, washed down with a little glass of sherry. You can also find a lot of bodegas in the fishing village of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. This village is famous for a special sort of sherry, Manzanilla. The third most important place for sherry is the harbour city of Puerto de Santa Maria. Sherries have been shipped from here for hundreds of years.

There are two reasons why the sherry region is particularly suited to the production of this special wine. Firstly, the climate is extremely favourable to growing grapes. It's very hot in the summer, cooled by a west wind off the sea. Secondly, the region has a particular soil, known as Albariza. It is dazzlingly white in colour and very chalky. This allows the grapes to develop their elegant taste and aroma. This chalky soil is very good at absorbing rainwater. So the vines can always find an adequate supply of water in the soil, even in the dry summer months. Most of the grapes are grown on Albariza. Two other soil types are also found here: Barro (clay) and Arena (sand). Only a very small share of the grapes are grown on these two types of soil.

The Palomino grape accounts for 95% of the vines, making it by far the most important grape for sherry. Although Muscat (called Moscatel in Spain) and Pedro Ximénez are also used. Both of these grape varieties are frequently left to dry in the sun after harvesting. Their water evaporates and their sugar content becomes more concentrated. These dried grapes are used to make sweet wines. They are also used to make dry sherries a little sweeter.

 

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