Attending one of the Three Wine Men events you know it’s going to be busy, very busy. And this year was no exception in London at the Westminster Church House. Over three sessions we saw over 1500 wine-savvy consumers pile in to taste wines from around the world, but more importantly from our corner of Spain.
We had our Sherry stories at the ready and twelve different Sherries to offer visitors. If we needed to draw more attention to ourselves we also had the lure of some nibbles: chocolate, cheese, nuts and sweet treats. In all honesty they weren’t needed – not least because we had wonderful neighbours from Ultracomida – but because Sherry was genuinely interesting enough.
During the sessions we saw blue cheese and cream Sherries become very popular but the Stilton also matched nicely with the Oloroso too. The Valencian salted almonds with the dry Finos and Manzanilla was, as you’d expect, a tried and tested favourite – but was still new to some of our visitors.
It is true that all things Spanish are on-trend right now but more than this the history, provenance and quality of the Sherries we had to show were pulling in the punters by themselves. Perhaps we were helped along by the time of year and the smells that were wafting up from the cream Sherries and the PX we had – or ‘Christmas in a glass’ as it became known!
It seems we have turned full circle with Sherry promotion and the best way forward is back to what (that pirate!) Sir Frances Drake did hundreds of years ago; get it into people’s glasses. Although in 2016 it may prove to be a little more expensive than when Drake did it! See below for the 12 sherries that were on offer.
1. Solear Manzanilla, Barbadillo, Jerez, Spain (£6.80)
From the coastal area of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, this fine Manzanilla is bone dry and perfect with sea-food.
2. Puerto Fino, Lustau, Jerez, Spain (£16.49)
A Fino aged in El Puerto de Santa María for an average of 5yrs. A smooth, light, dry wine, with hints of the sea, baker's yeast and a nutty flavour.
3. Fino Inocente, Valdespino, Jerez, Spain (£15.99)
From a single vineyard Macharnudo in Jerez, this Sherry has delicate and complex aromas, with notes of almonds. On the palate it is savoury, with flavours of green apples.
4. Vina AB, Amontillado, González Byass, Jerez, Spain (£13.50)
Vina AB is a classic example of an Amontillado where the flor on a Fino has been allowed to naturally die back after 8 years of ageing.
5. Amontillado Seco, Delgado Zuleta, Jerez, Spain (£11.49)
With a light pungent bouquet, this Sherry is dry, brisk and nutty on the palate. It can be served at room temperature or slightly chilled.
6. Palo Cortado Solera, Cayetano del Pino, Jerez, Spain (£16.50)
An excellent example of a rare Palo Cortado style. Elegant with an intense nutty aroma and attractive roundness on the palate.
7. Pedro's Almacenista Selection Oloroso, Viniberia - Garcia Jarana, Jerez, Spain (£13.49)
Full of complexity, with intense aromas of toasted walnuts and autumn leaves, this Oloroso is a perfect match for red meats and casseroles.
8. Dry Sack 15 year old Medium Oloroso, Williams & Humbert, Jerez, Spain (£15.00)
Blended with PX, this is an amber-coloured wine of intense aromas and hints of dried nuts. Full-bodied, balanced with little acid and slightly sweet.
9. Signature 12 year old, Harveys, Jerez, Spain (£11.99)
A complex balance of warm nutty aromas and richly dried fruit flavours. The deep smooth, full-bodied flavour reflects Harveys Signature’s unique 12 year maturity.
10. Oloroso Solera 1842 VOS, Valdespino, Jerez, Spain (£38.99)
With over 20 years ageing this medium sweet Very Old Sherry has an intense mahogany colour, notes of dried fruits, nuts and caramel with excellent length.
11. East India Solera, Lustau, Jerez, Spain (£19.95)
Dark mahogany colour with concentrated aromas of ripe fruit, mocha, cacao and toffee. Very complex on the palate, with clean acidity. (Oloroso/PX blend)
12. Pedro Ximénez, Barbadillo, Jerez, Spain (£13.60)
Dark mahogany colour, nuances of plums, raisins and chocolate, this is an unctuous wine with a lingering finish. Excellent with deserts and foie gras.
08 December 2015