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Is this the time, and weather, for a sherry?

fortified

#1

Funny to think that we associate sherry with Christmas and winter evenings, when for many in Spain, sherry is the drink for hot summer days by the beach.

Of course we are talking about very different sherry styles, which is sort of the point. The world of ‘sherry’ is very wide and deserves much closer exploration and not being lumped together in the (confused) mind of the consumer.

So, this ‘Sherry Festival’ is definitely worth celebrating


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#2

Hi Robert! :slight_smile:

I’m a big sherry fan all year round, to be honest - as a matter of fact, I had a glass of fino as an aperitif before going out for dinner last night!

It’s also the ULTIMATE drink for a night of tapas. :heart_eyes: And, as I discovered last weekend, a very tasty ingredient in prawns pil pil - I used this recipe:

The one area of sherry I haven’t explored is the sweeter/off-dry styles - any tips out there on how best to enjoy them?


#3

I love them all, but I have a soft spot for Palo Cortado styles since they seem to tick all the boxes of complexity, dry/off-dry, matching food or drinking on its own after dinner …

However, for the really hot weather, you are right that Fino (or my personal favourite, Manzanilla with an extra hint of saline freshness) is FANTASTIC ice-cold with some small tapas.

I discovered sherry on a trip to the Spanish coast near Jerez, a seaside town called El Puerto de Santa Maria and though we didn’t actually visit the sherry bodegas, to my eternal regret, the bars offered the best, freshest drinks so it was a revelation. It has taken many years for bars in the UK to catch up to the freshness / chilled angle for Fino.


#4

Anytime is a good time for a sherry :smiley: Manzanilla for the hotter days is spot on, it is indeed quite odd that it only seems to come out at Christmas and then left at the back of a cupboard until the next year!


#5

To the original question - yes, it’s definitely the time, but largely on the basis that for me, pretty much any time (of the year, not of the day!) is a good time for sherry. Fino/manzanilla being my preferred aperitif, and also a great partner for a lot of food.

One suggestion for the Soc. though is more availability of fino/manzanilla by the half-bottle. We tend not to drink much during the week, and a full size bottle of dry is generally more than we need over a weekend. While it will last for a bit, I prefer it to be really fresh.


#6

Hear hear to the half-bottles though, for me, a richer and rounder dry Amontillado seems somehow more suited to our damp English summers.


#7

Not just sherry - don’t forget Madeira - I can’t speak highly enough of the Barbeito Rainwater Reserve I bought from TWS - perfect for a hot muggy evening before and also with food


#8

I LOVE Madeira, but I’ve struggled to find ways of enjoying it with food. Even on Madeira itself I found that they did a limited job of putting their wonderful wine in the context of food. What do you have it with?


#9

I admit mostly drunk at home as an aperitif but I also ordered it in the Palomar in London to accompany some small dish starters that I now forget (I remember the Barbeito however) - The Palomar by the way is an Israeli inspired restaurant in Soho which is great value if you can get a table but a little cramped - I think the sweetness works well with piquant flavours…


#10

Heard lots of good things about the Palomar, it’s definitely on the list. Got to say I struggled with the Rainwater Reserve. I’m not averse to a bit of sweetness, but found this too sweet for an aperitif and hard to match with food. Possibly sweeter middle-eastern foods like tagine with apricots or dates?


#11

You may find that off dry/medium sherries make a perfect accompaniment to cheese. Port can be too heavy and to my mind red wine often disappoints


#12

On top of finos, the Capucino VORS Palo Cortado from TWS is also very nice for summer! Saline and packed with green olives :slight_smile:


#13

Can someone explain to me the En Rama phenomenon? Comparing this years Tio Pepe En Rama (no longer available) and the Romate Fino Perdido (still in stock), I was much more satisfied by the Romate at half the price of the En Rama. What am I missing here?


#14

Interesting question. It is some time since I had either to be honest, but I’d say they were two rather different wines from different parts of the Fino spectrum

The Perdido is aged for longer in the butts, so develops added complexity from almost turning into an Amontillado (IIRC) and although it is lightly filtered before bottling, I don’t think they call it En Rama

En Rama bottlings, as far as I know, are fresher styles that have some extra body because they are so lightly fined and filtered prior to bottling, but otherwise are not aged.

It rather depends on what floats your ‘barco’ really, and I am happy to make this an excuse to find some of both to try again

ADDED: What is interesting about both these wines, however, is that innovation in established drinks categories tends to happen at the borders between styles. It is hard to launch a NEW Fino, but if you innovate by making it almost-not-a-Fino then consumers start to pay attention. So En Rama made a success of the focus on freshness (the ‘natural’ trend in food and wine) and the Perdido is more about lost traditions and blending styles.

I suppose this is also (literally) true for Palo Cortado - the rule-breaker.


#15

I’m with Laura, Fino Sherry is excellent year round. My favourite is Lustau, preferably with a hunk of gum tickling cheddar


#16

Its worth noting with regards to the Tio Pepe En Rama is that it was The Wine Society who asked Tio Pepe to bottle it unfiltered. Because there is very little filtering and no preservatives its as fresh as possible but won’t last. Having tried the standard and the En Rama side by side I can say that both are great but the En Rama is more amped up. I was getting more concentrated and complex flavours in the En Rama although both were a joy to drink. I still feel that Sherry is still vastly under valued - also if you enjoy refreshing white fortified has anyone else tried any white port?


#17

Yes! Dirk Niepoort’s…at The Barbary where it was suggested as an alternative to the standard vermouth aperitif - it was delicious - I highly recommend.


#18

I have been lucky enough to meet Dirk when I was out in the Douro, such a character! I actually had my first white port and soda at the Symington’s house at Bonfim, its a shame that The Wine Society doesn’t stock it, its quite uncommon in the UK but delicious.


#19

While we’re on the subject of great aperitifs not stocked by TWS, how about Adi Badenhorst’s Caperitif? Although I’d settle for Niepoort’s White Port.


#20

I have to admit I have a bottle in the fridge right now … it was a Fathers’ Day gift from my very clever wife :slight_smile: