Why not choose some truly unique wines for your special event or celebration? Why not start enjoying Sherry Wines on those special occasions? Here are some tips to make the best choice…
There are two basic rules for selecting the right wine to match your menu: you should either seek something compatible or harmonious with the food you’ll serve or, quite the opposite, choose a wine that offers contrast. The first of these rules is more common and easily understood by all, while the latter should be reserved for only the most daring, curious or audacious palates.
So, let’s get straight to work!
First, think about the moment you welcome your guests. Fino or Manzanilla is quite possibly the best glass of wine you can offer your guests as they arrive. A dry, crisp wine with a slightly bitter finish which pairs perfectly with appetizers. But there’s room for creativity too, such as making mixed drinks like the Rebujito Mint or the Cream&Tea, offering you an entirely new way of serving wine.
Fino & Manzanilla
Once your guests are seated, Fino and Manzanilla are the perfect match for dishes that have become staples of celebratory meals: fresh fish and seafood. Fino and Manzanilla are the ideal option for accompanying fish, whether lightly grilled or salt-baked, or with boiled seafood.
In many parts of the Mediterranean, festive occasions are celebrated with exquisitely prepared pasta dishes topped with shaved truffle, seasonal vegetables or seafood. And pastry-based starters like empanadasor cocas are also popular with a variety of fillings or toppings. All of them are perfect with a glass of chilled Fino or Manzanilla.
Manzanillas pasadas & Aged Finos
The complex taste and aromas of these wines are an exceptionally good match with traditional cold-weather entrées like oven-roasted poultry, particularly when garnished with root vegetables. These special wines are capable of complementing and heightening the flavour of pheasant, poularde or capons, without overpowering them.
Aged Manzanilla and Fino also pair to perfection with hearty winter soups and stews like Spanish cocidoor French onion soup. The typical richness of these soups and stews is offset by the extreme dryness of these wines.
Intense flavours such as the ones found in razor clams, velvet crab or spider crab also go very well with these wines.
They’re also a great pairing option for tasty versions of pickled meat or fish.
Large cuts of meat, such as roast beef, lamb or suckling pig are always a sure success at banquets and on festive occasions. Amontillado wines are capable of bringing out the toasty hints in these dishes, turning every bite into a delightful experience.
Charcoal also shouts out for these wines which, in fact, finish with a touch of smokiness. This, along with the toasty undertones of Amontillado, pairs to perfection with charcoal-grilled dishes.
And who could forget Amontillado when serving roast poultry garnished with nut-based sauces or roasted veggies? And even large pieces of wild fish or elaborate seafood dishes like txangurro are delicious with Amontillado.
When faced with a festive menu, many cooks resort to the classic European recipes—tried and true sauces like hollandaise, mousseline, rouille, duxelles, velouté or béarneaise sauce. They not only add a touch of glamour to meat, fish or vegetable dishes but also transport guests to another era. The dry and complex nature of Amontillado on the palate is just the right counterpoint to harmonise with these classic sauces.
If you’re celebrating in a big city far from home, you might want to include charcuteriefrom the place you remember so well, or perhaps as a way to transport you and your guests back to memorable family gatherings. Oftentimes, lightly cured meats such as butifarra sausage can add an exotic touch to the meal while providing an excellent opportunity to enjoy them with a glass of Amontillado.
Oloroso & Palo Cortado
When celebrating inland, far from the coast, game is often part of a festive meal. The potent flavour of game calls for something smooth with a high glycerine content, which helps to offset the intensity. With just a sip, the powerful flavour of game meat is pleasantly tamed.
The many different cuts of Iberian black pork, with its characteristic marbled texture, find the perfect balance with these wines. Oloroso and Palo Cortado are the ideal complement to the oaky, acorn notes found in this kind of meat.
In today’s day and age, flavours and ingredients know no boundaries, and neither do Sherry Wines! They’ve always had a travelling spirit in them that continues to this day.
If your festive menu is based on world cuisine, bear in mind that Sherry pairs perfectly with dishes that are often served with beer in their country of origin—places like Japan, Korea, Thailand, Mexico or Peru. However, Fino, Manzanilla and Amontillado are particularly good matches for sharp. spicy, smoky, sweet & sour or bitter tasting dishes…
If you like hot and spicy cuisine, don’t forget to have a glass of Amontillado ready to enjoy with it!
Oloroso, a dry Palo Cortado or wines with a touch of sweetness like Medium or Cream can be the perfect match for heavily spiced foods or to nuance the spicy heat in dishes, making them smoother and more palatable.
Medium & Cream
When we think of sweet wine, we nearly always relegate them to the dessert menu. And although they are magnificent with puddings and desserts, the best sweet Sherry Wines should be given a chance with other meal courses as well. Take, for example, the classic Central European game dishes, so often served on festive occasions with caramelised fruit or compote. In this case, Cream or Medium carry their own notes of candied or dried fruit like figs or dried apricot, so often found in traditional recipes for game.
As dessert wines, they’re ideal with anything made with dark chocolate. It’s hard to imagine a better end to a meal! You’ll discover that they aren’t cloying or heavy because sugar doesn’t play the leading role. The only problem is…you’ll never want dessert to end!
At the winter holidays, these wines are the ideal accompaniment to traditional festive sweets like marzipan, almond nougat, yule logs or the traditional Spanish king’s cake (rosca de reyes).
And of course, what a great match they are with a cheese platter at the end of a meal.
PX & Moscatel
Perhaps our best piece of advice is this: treat these wines as desserts in their own right. Particularly when festivities call for an endless succession of dishes and time for dessert arrives, a good cup of coffee and a glass of Pedro Ximénez are the ideal way to round off an abundant meal.
One last but important reminder: in winter, if you have a blazing fireplace on the hearth or the thermostat on high, pay careful attention to the serving temperature of your wine. There’s no need to resort to fancy gadgets or thermometers, but do make sure you place your Sherry Wines in the fridge door compartment the day before serving. That’s because they’re better served chilled than at room temperature. There’s little you can do if your wine is too warm once it’s served. So please, take our advice and let the convivial atmosphere and time spent over leisurely conversation be in charge of your wine reaching the perfect temperature.