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González Byass was created in 1835 by Manuel Maria González and remains in family hands today, now in the fifth and sixth generation. Founded in Jerez de la Frontera, Andalusia, in the heart of Sherry country, it is dedicated to the production of high-quality sherries. The Sherry triangle, made up of Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa Maria and Sanlucar de Barrameda, has a unique microclimate influenced by the surrounding Atlantic Ocean and Guadalquivir and Guadalete rivers. Production is dominated by the Palomino variety, and vines are planted in the white Albariza soil, with high chalk content which is excellent for retaining moisture. These soil conditions, combined with over 3,000 hours of annual sunshine, fresh, humid breezes from the west (poniente) and warm, dry breezes from the east (levante) have formed the perfect marriage with the Palomino variety to produce an array of sherry styles.
All sherries are aged following the traditional Solera system where the wines are blended in 600 litre American oak casks. Many styles are produced with distinctive characters depending on whether they have been aged under the influence of the flor (a layer of natural yeast) or as an oloroso (in contact with oxygen).
Known more formally as Jerez de la Frontera, Jerez is a city in Andalucía in southwest Spain and the center of the Jerez region and sherry production. Sherry is a mere English corruption of the term Jerez, while in French, Jerez is written, Xérès. Manzanilla is the freshest style of sherry, naturally derived from the seaside town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
Sherry is a fortified wine that comes in many styles from dry to sweet. True Sherry can only be made in Andalucía, Spain where the soil and unique seasonal changes give a particular character to its wines. The process of production—not really the grape—determine the type, though certain types are reserved for certain grapes. Palomino is responsible for most dry styles; Pedro Ximénez and Muscat of Alexandria are used for blending or for sweet styles.