Jerez, Spain ~ MotoGP & the home of Sherry
As I lean back and contemplate these words as I write, I realise that it has been nine days since Jerez in Spain hosted round four of the 2017 MotoGP circus. And what a fine spectacle it was. I also realised that in Spanish the J is pronounced gH so Jerez becomes gHerez and from there it’s not a quantum leap to Sherry. Now, Jerez as the home of that tipple beloved by so many, Sherry, has a unique position in the history of wine and wine-making combined with Motor Racing.
To quote Wikipedia; “Circuito de Jerez, formerly known as Circuito Permanente de Jerez, is a 4.428 km racing circuit located close to the city of Jerez de la Frontera, 90 km south of Seville and deep within the sherry-producing south of Spain.”
What Wikipedia also tells us is; that “the track hosts the following annual racing events: Formula One, both the Spanish Grand Prix and the European Grand Prix whilst also finding calendar time for the MotoGP Spanish motorcycle Grand Prix as well as WSBK or, World SuperBikes which visit Jerez in August.” There’s plenty of time for you to get your tickets!
That this juxtaposition of technologies can live cheek by jowl is a never-ending source of fascination to me. You see, Sherry is not just any old wine put in a barrel to mature and then bottled for sale. It’s produced by an ancient method using something called a Solera – in Spanish it means “on the ground” – which is a stack of barrels one feeding the other by gravity. The youngest wine, which has to be at least three years old, goes in the top, it filters down through the layers of the Solera, usually five, and the average age wine comes out of the bottom. Voila! There we have a bottle of Sherry produced in the time honoured tradition of Solera. No wonder the good Spanish Sherries cost what they do given the time required by this traditional process.
And talking of age, one of this year’s favourites for the MotoGP World Championship is the evergreen Valentino Rossi. Born on 16 February 1979 he is at an age when retirement is top of the agenda. But, after a total of nine World Championships, 1 each in the 125cc class and the 250cc class with Italian manufacturer Aprillia he then went on to the Premier Class and won his first World Championship on a 500cc Honda on 2001, only his second season at the top. Since then he has gone on to record six further World Championships in the new premier class, MotoGP. At age 38 Valentino Rossi is not over the hill, he’s just coming of age! Just like a fine red wine or a Solera Aged Sherry, albeit he is an Italian.
Whatever your choice, motorcycle racing or a nice sherry – and why not both? – enjoy the weekend and remember. Don’t drink and drive! You might spill some!
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Ω Copyright Notice © Peter Mark Wells-Garnett 17 May 2017; all rights reserved