Bodegas Hidalgo Manzanilla La Gitana

Bodegas Hidalgo
Manzanilla La Gitana
Manzanilla-Sanlúcar de Barrameda DO, Spain
$15-18 for 375ml +124594 at BC Liquor Stores & select private liquor retailers

I love sherry. Ancient, lengthy, site-specific, traditional, rare, haunting, lingering, unique. What’s not to like? People complain that it’s too dry, or too sweet, or too old. They’re wrong. Sorry. There’s a sherry for everyone out there. I travelled to southern Spain last fall to take part in the intensive Sherry Educators Certification Program, in Jerez. Days in the historic Bodegas and vineyards, dozens of tastings and late nights of not-spitting have confirmed my beliefs that sherry is a delicious, food-friendly, accessible and misunderstood wine.

Authentic sherry comes only from southwest Spain around the city of Jerez de la Frontera. Although the DO zone encompasses a wider area, the core zone, called Jerez Superior, forms a rough triangle with Jerez de la Frontera at one corner and the towns of Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa Maria at the others. This area gleams with albariza, the white, chalky soil that produces the best grapes for fino and Manzanilla style sherries. Manzanilla is only produced and aged in the seaside Sanlucar de Barrameda, matured without oxygen under a natural veil of yeast, called flor. The town’s humid location between the shores and the mouth of the River Guadalquivir is said to imbue the wine with a distinct salinity, like fresh sea spray. After fortification and aging in the solera system, the Manzanilla is bottled, corked and released, ready for consumption (and ringing in at around 15% alcohol).

Hidalgo is a long-established bodega in Sanlúcar, with its origins in the 18th Century. The Hidalgo family moved from northern Spain to Andalucía at that time, establishing a salina for the production of salt. The family only entered the Sherry business in 1792, when José Pantaleón Hidalgo acquired a bodega from his father-in-law.The business has been in the family ever since, and is now in its 6th generation. They still remain in the same location in the centre of Sanlúcar de Barrameda that they did two centuries ago, and own more than 200 hectares of vineyards. This particular Manzanilla, La Gitana, with the charming gyspy girl (gitana) on the label, is the most popular Manzanilla on the Spanish market and is the top selling wine in Seville. Its pungent, bone-dry delicacy, sea salt freshness, almond skin notes and lingering tanginess make it a natural pair for almonds, olives, sardines and cured meats (hola Jamon!) The light body and vibrant acidity and salinity also make it a beautiful aperitif or pairing for sushi.

89 Points

If you’re still not convinced, why not taste this wine, and a line up of other distinct and delicious styles, at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival next week? There are still a handful of tickets available for the Sherry Renaissance seminar, on March 3, and La Gitana will be poured. Fellow Sherry Educators and Sommeliers Kurtis Kolt and Mireille Sauvé will lead you through a paired tasting of these very special wines. I guarantee you will find a favourite.

Saturday, March 03
Buy tickets online or by phone 604-873-3311

Join the Sherry renaissance movement as certified Sherry educators and local oenophiles Kurtis Kolt and Mireille Sauvé lead a tutored tasting of the region’s most treasured gems. Participants will experience a full spectrum of Sherry styles, each specifically paired with some of the signature ingredients they best enhance. Prepare to make Sherry your next food and wine pairing inspiration!


The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival  is one of North America’s largest and greatest celebrations of wine. This year from February 27 to March 4, the theme country is Chile and the focus is Cabernet(s). EAT will be on site for the whole week, with daily posts, DRINKs, tweets and updates live from the festival.


Written By:

Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade.\r\n\r\nIn addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for ...

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