Sherry Wine News

Club Rules

Take a peak inside the private world of an exclusive members club all about Sherry...

The first rule of Sherry Club, you don't talk about Sherry Club!

It's not that keeping Sherry a secret is the aim, rather this club wants to learn about and enjoy Sherry wines in good company with equally enthusiastic palates. And, since being founded in 2012, its membership has grown slowly and surely. It currently has 96 registered members from six countries, who are allowed to invite only two new guests each year. Like good Sherry, it takes time to cultivate.

Angeline Bayly, UK Director for Sherry Wines, joins the Sherry club at Barrafina in London as an honorary member - just for the day! 1 of 3
The Sherry selection brought for the pre-lunch tasting 2 of 3
Slow cooked roast kid, in Sherry reduction - of course 3 of 3

And, like any decent club, it has a founders tie. Perhaps not the most stylish but chosen with care to reflect the colours of Spain and to give a nod to the vine. At this point you may be thinking this is just an old fashioned men's drinking club - exclusive members, club tie, secret society... But you'd be quite wrong. This is no stuffy affair, just the reverse.

When I joined them at their annual London lunch at Barrafina - Adelaide Street (July 2017), I met a group of lively and welcoming men (not all members are men, before we get into that discussion). We enjoyed a fun-filled three hours of tasting, scoring, food pairing, explanations, chatting...

Anyway, and most importantly, the wines. What I love about this club is how seriously they take the sherry tasting element. Even though the lunch was an informal event everyone was given a tasting sheet on arrival (complete with club logo) - to record the all important scores. I was a little concerned that I'd brought wines they may already have tasted, but fortunately not. And, even better, the wines all scored very highly.

First up, two en rama Manzanilla's that I hoped would provide a healthy start to discussions: Valdepino's Deliciosa Manzanilla en rama and Barbadillo's Pastora Manzanilla pasada en rama. I had expected the group to leap on these wines - not least because it was a lovely warm summers day - but after some analysis the wines were scored well but didn't excite as some of the traditionally aged styles we'd try later on.

A fino was next, naturally, and a little treat from Bodegas Tradicion. A notable ripple of interest went round the table and it scored highly as the day's second best wine.

Then we were onto the two Palo Cortados and an oloroso, and this is where the group really hit its stride, with Bodegas Urium's Palo Cortado and Valdespino's Palo Cortado Viejo CP. Valdespino's Viejo CP was easily the highest scoring wine of the day and, I subsequently learnt the highest scoring wine of any of the club's past events - and lots of notes on where to buy ensued! The Oloroso was Barbadillo's Cuco Seco and together with Urium's Palo Cortado achieved joint third ranking.

So what are you waiting for?

Isn't it time you make up your own rules and start your own Sherry club!

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of El Consejo Regulador.
Angeline Bayly
Sherry has been a big part of my life for eight years and I love that there is still lots to learn. For over 15 years I have worked in the UK wine trade and since qualifying as an Official Sherry Educator in 2014 I have been UK Director of the promotional campaign for Sherry Wines. I visit Jerez twice a year and continue to share my knowledge of Sherry every day with people from the trade and consumers round the UK.
Angeline Bayly @angelinebayly
24 July 2017
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