My self education in sherry is something of an ongoing project. You can read about my first big bodega adventure here and more recently I added another two bodegas to my list of those visited.
Although not one of the “big boys” Diez Mérito, recently acquired by the Espinosa grape growing family, is a well known and long established bodega with a complicated and fascinating history. It’s located in a slightly run down part of town between the railway and the old city, but the bodega itself is immaculately kept, with beautiful courtyards and the yeasty aroma and hushed coolness of the interiors where the ranks of sherry casks are stored. It’s easy to understand why these fine buildings are often reverentially referred to as cathedrals.
The building, known as Bodega Bertamati after its first owners, was built in 1790, and was later acquired by the Marqués de Mérito, who introduced many of the brands still made there, before being purchased in 1979 by the Diez brothers, who had owned their own bodega since 1876, since when it has had the double-barrelled name, Diez Mérito, we are familiar with. One of the Diez brothers has the claim to fame that while visiting England he purchased the first steam engine in Spain, and built the first railway between Jerez and the little port of El Portal on the Guadalete River to speed up the export of sherry.
Diez Mérito’s principal brand ranges are Pemartín and the more upmarket Bertola, and the original Mérito range of brandies, including the Solera Especial 1876 with a production of just 100 bottles a year (needless to say that although we got to taste several nice sherries, we didn’t get to taste that). Jewels in the crown, though are Merito’s three VORS (Very Old Rare Sherries), Fino Imperial (actually an amontillado), Victoria (oloroso) and PX Vieja Solera.
Bodegas Diez Mérito
Jerez de la Frontera
Diego Fernández Herrera 14
Tel 956 332 973