San Lucar de Barrameda

Lying on the south side of the River Guadalquivir estuary this is the northernmost of the three towns in the Sherry triangle. The Fino of San Lucar is Manzanilla and got its name around 1807 from someone who compared its delicate and pale style as being like the manzanilla [camomile] tea. The name stuck. It is distinct from Fino because it is blended and aged in Bodegas that are exposed to the onshore winds of the Atlantic [the Poniente], which give the wine its unique style and flavour.

San Lucar's history dates back to Phoenician, Roman and Moorish times, and Magellan who began his round the world voyage from here. But the town's prominence owes more to those Spaniards who retreated from the intense inland heat to the coast, not least the Jerezanos. With their grand homes and influence Manzanilla Sherry gained credence, while also thriving in the seafood taverns whether on the Bahia de Guia or in one of the many attractive squares in the Barrio Bajo. There is a ferry from San Lucar to the Coto Doñana, a World Heritage Natural Park and wetlands across the river and a visit is mandatory if you have time.

The Mudejar architecture of many churches, the sea museum of Los Caracoles, the Iglesia del San Francisco built on the orders of Henry VIII of England [he was married to Catherine of Aragon at the time] as a hospital for British sailors are all interesting visits. For Fiestas, go in June to the Feria de Manzanilla followed by the Noches de Bajo Guia for a summer of Flamenco, Classical and Jazz music after a day on one of the many golden beaches. Alternatively go in August to enjoy the very professional horse racing meetings on the beach daily at 6pm throughout the month.