Doors in Plaza del Cabildo shut as the Saturday afternoon siesta begins in the Andalusian town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. The locals are headed up a wobbly cobbled street, a pilgrimage to the Ruta del Mosto.
The cliché’s of Southern Spain are in full swing as we needle our way through the packs of locals (Sanluqueños). We pass oak barrels entrenched on street corners and you can smell the sherry seeping through the white-washed walls of the pueblo’s enormous bodegas (Spanish wine cellars). We make our way up to Barrio Alto, the upper stair of Sanlúcar.
Sanlúcar is a small city with a population just shy of 70,000. During the week, the centre is dominated by viejos and young families, while the younger Sanluqeños head off to nearby universities in Cadiz, Seville and Jerez. But on this Saturday afternoon Barrio Alto is heaving with Spanish boys with rigid hairdos and girls clutching a purse in one hand and mobile in the other.
Now in its fifth year, the Ruta del Mosto is a kind of journey from one rustic bar to the next, sampling the year’s batch of mosto accompanied by a tapa for a tasty 60c a pair. The aim of the mosto crawl promotes wine tourism to the region and increases the knowledge of the development and production of the region’s drop. The mosto is a young wine, light, juicy, appley and said to have a low alcohol content. Tomorrow my head will strongly disagree.