Sherry Wine News

Sharing Sherry: A Chef's Perspective

A California native, Chef Sergio Emilio Monleón was raised in a Spanish household and always loved the culture and cuisine of his family’s birthplace. His love for Sherry can be seen as a source of inspiration across his menus of La Marcha Tapas and Ñora Cocina Española in the Bay Area.

How did you first find Sherry, or how did Sherry first find you?

My mother always finished a meal with a glass of Tío Pepe Fino, so through her I was exposed to it bit. But I have to admit, it wasn’t love at first sight. I had a difficult time with the biologically aged wines. But my “ah-hah” moment was one hot summer afternoon after a long brunch shift at a restaurant where I worked. I opened a bottle of La Guita Manzanilla and I’ve been hooked ever since.

How does Sherry inspire you when pairing with food?

Sherry is my favorite wine to both pair with and drink. There is a sherry that will go with pretty much any food, and every stage of the meal. It is the only wine where you can start with an aperitif, pair each course, and end with a dessert. We do lot’s of pairing dinners, and we have a lot of fun with them.

What is the most surprising Sherry match you’ve come across?

A spoon full of peanut butter and a medium sherry. At La Marcha, we all snack on peanut butter. One day we paired it with Gonzales Byass Christina Medium Oloroso, and ever since then it’s an after shift staff favorite to order a glass of Medium and bust out the jar of peanut butter.

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Pouring a glass of Fino for a Sherry Week guest 2 of 3
Seafood Paella ready to be served at La Marcha Tapas 3 of 3

What are the greatest food & Sherry pairings you’ve discovered?

At La Marcha we make a bone marrow and clam croqueta with an oyster alioli. It pairs beautifully with Lustau Almacensita José Luis Gonzalez Obregón Fino del Puerto. The salty, brininess of both accent each other, while the crispness of the fino cuts through the richness of the béchamel.

Artichokes are notoriously difficult to pair, but they work really well with Amontillado. We do an artichoke à la Barigoule at La Marcha that is braised with sherry, sautéed wild mushrooms, and shaved payoyo. It pairs beautifully with Bodegas Tradición Amontillado VORS.

What makes Sherry special for a Chef?

Sherry is truly undervalued. The quality of the wines is usually very high and the prices are usually low. Even the high end complex VOS and VORS wines can rival still wines at double their price.

How would you convince somebody new to the drink to try Sherry?

For starters, it is very unique. There isn’t quite anything like it. It’s also one of the most versatile wines in the world. If you are a fan of wine, you will most likely find a style of sherry that you like. And finally, it is probably the best value wine. For the age of some of these wines, they are incredibly underpriced.

What are the key components in the aging process that are reflected in the wines?

Everything about the aging comes through in the wines. Where it’s aged, how it’s aged, and how long it’s aged, are all reflected in the wine. One of my favorite flights at La Marcha is the “Amontillandose” Flight. It starts with a Manzanilla, followed by an aged Manzanilla, a young Amontillado, an Amontillado, and a VORS Amontillado. You really get to see how the aging process changes the wine.

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Sherry Wines U.S.
Official US office representing Sherry Wines. Love Sherry? Us too. Local news, tastings, cocktails & food, everything is better with Sherry, Salúd!
Sherry Wines U.S. @SherryWinesUS
27 December 2017
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