I know a little bit about sherry. I know I like it, quite a lot! I’ve spent some quality time in Andalucia and have visited some bodegas in Jerez. I’ve eaten plenty of tapas in Jerez, Cadiz, Vejer de la Frontera and have always matched them with a sherry. Usually a chilled Fino on a very hot day. I’ve a very good friend who lives in Vejer, sherry ambassador Annie Manson, and she has imparted some in depth knowledge to me on my travels about the wonderful world of sherry.
I love that sherry pairs so brilliantly with food whether it be fish, seafood, charcuterie, cheese, dessert. In fact there is probably a reason, and an excuse, to match virtually any type of food with sherry as the complexities of the ‘wine’ are many and depending on the maturation process it’s been through there should be a sherry to go with anything.
I was very new to Urium sherry but have since learnt a lot about it’s fascinating journey. It’s one of the youngest sherry brands in Jerez, created by father and daughter team Alonso Ruiz Olivares and Rocío Ruiz Lopez. Despite its newness the bodega actually produces some very old sherries, many of which are over 40 years old. The bodega began in 2007 and the father and daughter team behind the brand inherited some very old wines hence they’ve been able to produce sherries with average ages of 30, 40 and even 50 years old.
You can read a lot more about Bodegas Urium here : behind-scenes-bodegas-urium an article written by Helen Highley, aka Criadera who led the tasting at Goya23 on World Tapas Day.
To whet our appetites on a fairly grey evening in Edinburgh we were poured a chilled Fino which was matched with a some lovely spanish olives. Helen was on fine form and with a glass in hand introduced us to the wonderful world of Bodegas Urium and of course our venue for the evening, Goya23.
Goya23 is a Spanish Fine Foods emporium in the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh. They have recently reinvented themselves as a sherry bar, the only one in Edinburgh, hurrah for that. I’ve long been flying the sherry flag but have never found the perfect location in Scotland to drink it, well now I have! As well as a sherry bar they have a fine selection of produce for sale, anchovies, tuna, olives, cheese, charcuterie, bread, spanish beers, spanish wines (some lovely Albarinos on the shelves) plus of course, sherry.
During the tasting we drank and we ate this….
Urium Fino, 15% ABV - matched with olives
Amontillado, 18% ABV - matched with Cantabrian Anchovies
Palo Cortado, 19% ABV - matched with Iberico Acorn Loin, Presa and Ham
Oloroso, 20% ABV - matched with Blue Goat's Cheese from Gerona, semi cured Manchego and cured Penaflor from Valladolid
After each course we learnt more about the sherry maturation process, what’s involved in creating each ‘type’ of wine, why it has a particular colour, what it smells like ‘on the nose’, what it tastes like when drunk alone, how that taste compares when you drink it with food, what temperature it should be served at, how long it keeps for (although I’m guessing not many people keep it for that long once opened….maybe just the odd one or two of you) and basically a greater understanding of the amazing world of sherry.
The passion that goes into producing the Urium wines really came across and when you hear their story it really makes you appreciate why you pay for this kind of quality. I’ve always been very much about supporting the makers, the creators, the producers, as without them your life would be very different, and a bit black and white. It’s people like Ruiz Olivares and his daughter Rocío Ruiz Lopez that make our world a much more colourful place as we get to taste and eat some of the finest products available. Now that’s a win win in my opinion.
A great night ensued and plenty of top ups were poured. A word on the food from Goya23, wow, really authentic produce with amazing flavours. The jamon was out of this world. I always remember watching an episode of Rick Stein eating jamon in Spain and saying to camera ‘just leave it on your tongue and it will melt away’. So I did, and it did. That’s a sign of quality folks!
Go and drink some sherry, fire up the passion in this great product, tell all of your friends and help shake off its very unnecessary ‘grandma’ reputation that it seems to hold in the UK. The sherry revolution is coming and I’ll be at the front of the queue!
I am a food writer and the editor of mymonkfish.com a blog that talks about the latest food trends in and around Edinburgh. I also write for Olive magazine, take tourist on food walks around Edinburgh and regularly feature on BBC Radio Scotland’s Kitchen Cafe. I am very passionate about supporting local foodies, whether they are producing, supplying, cooking or creating. I just love food and the people that make it great. And I love the odd sherry too….
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of El Consejo Regulador.
23 June 2016