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In the later third of the 20th century, Marcel Fernández, a man of Algerian origin and profound connoisseur of French wines, decided to plant red grape varieties on a farm midway between Villamartín and Arcos, two populations located the Sierra de Cadiz, or mountain region of Cadiz. This was not the first time such a thing had been done. In the 19th century, some of the wines made with red grapes from the Pago de Pajarete, an area also located in Villamartín, were highly prized in France. Moreover, according to data collected by the winemaker Salvador Rivero (who now produces red wines in the Sierra) the history of red wine in the area can be traced back to a Hieronymite friary of the 16th century.

The fact is that Fernández recovered the activity in a province where production had, by his time, fully focused on the Palomino grape that characterizes its Sherries. But he was soon joined by a winemaker in Jerez, Antonio Páez Lobato, who, like Fernéndez, placed his trust in the reds of the Sierra de Cadiz.
The second revolution took place in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where the firm Barbadillo, one of the most important in the Manzanilla and Sherries sector, decided to launch a white wine, made from Palomino grapes, that to this day remains a sales leader in Spain. It was quite a novelty because it was a young wine, from the year’s harvest, and with no added alcohol (as opposed to what is done with Sherry).

The phenomenon has become particularly strong over the past decade, producing a diversification both in the areas planted and the grape varieties concerned. There is a new generation of whites and reds whose production involves new kinds of grapes, planted in various parts of the province, namely in the Sierra. These wines are often signature wines, that are achieving sound success as well as wide international critical acclaim and customer support.

The movement is quite linked to a new generation of winemakers, trained at the University of Cadiz, who are opting for new winemaking techniques and the use of alternative grapes varieties which they believe they can provide good returns in the area. Grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Syrah or Chardonnay have been planted with good results and are bringing many joys to the sector. At the same time, there is a parallel movement for the recovery of traditional local varieties as such as the Tintilla de Rota, a very small grape, typical of the town that lends its name to it, which was virtually defunct. Now several companies are betting on it.

And so, under the Geographical Indication of Vinos de la Tierra de Cádiz (Wines of the Land of Cadiz) there is a powerful new production being developed, directed towards the high-end market. This indication was regulated by the Junta de Andalucía (regional government of Andalusia) in 2005. The Andalusian wine region of Cadiz comprises the towns of Arcos de la Frontera, Chiclana de la Frontera, Chipiona, El Puerto de Santa María, Jerez de la Frontera, Prado del Rey, Puerto Real, Rota, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Olvera, Setenil, Villamartín, Bornos, Trebujena, and San José del Valle. Its wines can be made with the following red varieties: Syrah, Monastrell, Merlot, Tintilla Rota, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Garnacha Tinta, Tempranillo, or Cabernet Sauvignon, and white varieties: Garrido, Palomino, Chardonnay, Moscatel, Mantía, Perruno, Macabeo, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pedro Ximénez.

It is also worth mentioning that some of the traditional sweet wines of the region, like the Moscatel or Raisin Moscatel of Chiclana and Chipiona, are also gaining ground. In addition, there is an emerging movement to restore the strength of Mosto (must), a type of young, recently fermented wine, sold in small establishments during  the early winter months, which is when the wine has just finished its fermentation. The idea is to create a movement similar to that which took place in France with the Beaujolais Nouveau; in the province of Cadiz the phenomenon has taken the name of Mostolé.

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