A short layover in Lebrija

Lebrija is a small agricultural town in Seville province that doesn’t seem to have much going on. I was only here briefly for two nights in April 2016 but I managed to scratch the surface a little. Here’s my Google map.

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The main sights are ‘La Giraldilla’ which as the name suggests is a smaller version of the campanile of Seville cathedral (a very famous symbol of the city).

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Next to it is the Basilica de Santa Maria de la Oliva which I’m told is one of the more impressive churches in the province, although I didn’t get a chance to see it.

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Other than this Lebrija isn’t particularly beautiful. For me the nicest building I saw was this old bakery, Panaficadora San Benito, at 123 Calle Corredera.

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Lebrija is a sherry town, although it’s not allowed to use the name as its geographic location is outside the official Jerez DO. This was remedied in part by the town eventually getting its own DO after many years of lobbying.

The largest bodega is Bodegas González Palacios at 60 Calle Virgen de Consolación, which is open to the public from 09.30 to 14.00 Monday to Friday, although you might have to reserve by phone (955 972 517). They are on the Ruta del Vino y Brandy del Marco de Jerez. Sadly I didn’t intersect with their opening times.

However, with a bit of research I managed to find a smaller bodega where you can go for a drink called Bodegas Andres Ahumada at 10 Calle Marines, a small alley off Calle Tetuan.

Keep an eye out for this sign on the right as you walk down the alley from Tetuan…

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…then go through this open gate and turn immediate left and go through the door that takes you to the atmospheric barrel room.

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This is where all the old boys hang out in the evenings to chat and watch football on the telly. They were pretty gobsmacked to see me, probably because Lebrija gets very few foreign tourists and because this isn’t exactly an easy place to find. It’s a great spot to experience a bit of local culture. Here’s a video to give you more of an idea.

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I tried copitas (small glasses) of all their sherries. I’m not usually a fan of Fino (I’m still learning) but theirs was more enjoyable than others I’d had (B).

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You can get crisps, charcuterie (B/C) on bread…

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… and some rather bitter Lupinas (B) to nibble on with your wine but there’s nothing cooked.

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Their Oloroso Seco was great as was their Oloroso Dulce (both B+). I was given their Pedro Ximenez to compare with the latter and it was the best of their wines so far (A). I should have got a bottle but I was travelling light.

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I asked if they had anything else I could try and was given a glass of ‘Settembre’ (?) a “muy, muy, muy joven” fino which explains why it tasted so awful (C-). It was an interesting experience though. Definitely come here if you can.

I was put up at the Hotel LB Lebrija at 10 Avenida Juan Pena , www.lblebrija which is owned by Juan Ramón López Caro, a former manager of Real Madrid. The rooms are modern and stylish but there is no breakfast to speak of, just some prepackaged cakes and a kettle on the reception desk. There is no 24-hour reception (a new trend in Spain since the economic crisis?) so entrance is via a security code for the door, which means you’ll be locked out if you forget or lose it.

Venta Luis Rey (Intermediate B), 1 Avenida Las Cabezas, closed on Wednesdays.

Happily Venta Luis Rey, the best restaurant in town according to the school owners I worked at (although they might be biased as their son works there), is just over the road from the hotel. I found the food to be pretty good and they had functioning WiFi, unlike the hotel.

Their Jamon Bellota is excellent (A)…

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…and I also enjoyed their Lasana de Berenjenas (B+), made with deep-fried aubergines with a filling of, I think, breadcrumbs fried with diced pork of some kind.

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The Ensalada Mixta (B) had ‘Caballa’ (mackerel) on top which is apparently how it often comes in Cadiz and Huelva provinces. It was fine (B) but I’m sure it’d be better during tomato season.

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This local red, ‘Overo’ from Bodegas González Palacios (see above) was okay (B-) but it had tasted better (B+) for some reason when I’d had it at ConTenedor in Seville.

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I wasn’t too keen on their oversalted Albondigas de la Casa (C+) which was a shame as I usually love them.

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I finished with some Manchego which was made with a mixture of goat and sheep’s milk.

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So, a brief but interesting stop, and I’m sure there’s more if you have time to dig deeper, but I was happy to move on…

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