Sherry Wine News

The Summer of Sherry

In the second of our new series of Sherry blogs from the UK's leading wine writers and presenters, Olly Smith explores the world of summer drinking occasions for UK #SherryLovers.

The Feria in Jerez is one of my favourite wine festivals in the world! In fact, I’ve just been there celebrating the glory of sherry and great food with my chef buddy José Pizarro. At its heart, the Feria is a celebration of horses and traditional costumes but it’s sherry and tapas that inspires revellers of all ages to gather in the twinkling casetas to dance and celebrate the good things in life. Fino is the sip of choice - the wine world’s answer to flamenco with its intense, snappy and vibrant style - perfect for sipping all summer long. Light, pale, tangy and crisp, it dazzles on a hot day and even when the sun doesn’t quite have his hat on, you can pop a bottle straight from the fridge to unleash your inner illuminations and kick off your Front Room Feria!

Jerez's famous Feria at night

As far as food pairings go, there are the traditionally splendid options of salted almonds, Manchego cheese, a plate of olives or slivers of Spanish jamón ibérico (go for the acorn-fed ‘de bellota’ if you’re after the best).  But at this time of the year, Fino is also wonderful with fresh asparagus and if you’re into Japanese food it’s a revelation with sushi and sashimi. In fact, if fresh shellfish in general is on your menu this summer, Manzanilla from nearby Sanlúcar de Barrameda is supreme, a tad lighter than Fino with a discreetly salty sea breeze hint. Again, serve it chilled and when the bottle is open, share it with your friends and family – as with Fino, Manzanilla is best sipped as fresh as possible. Across the summer, they both work wonderfully with smokey flavours from the barbecue such as mackerel or with snacks such as smoked trout or salmon which are perfectly portable bites for a picnic! Manzanilla and Fino are both radiant quenchers but you can find even richer examples by selecting ‘En Rama’ which are unfiltered with a wealth of compelling depth alongside that signature nutty refreshing tang. And if you want to rummage for even deeper flavours to serve chilled this summer, Palo Cortado is one to hunt - for the quality in the bottle, as with most sherry, it offers astonishing value for money. Palo Cortado starts life as a Fino maintaining its freshness under a magically protective layer of flor yeast but then matures oxidatively creating richer sip that’s outstanding served chilled with mature cheddar or Comté cheese.

This summer’s Sherry Festival (13th-26rd June) offers a great chance to discover the perfect sherry to tantalise your tastebuds across the UK. There are a host of independent wine merchants just waiting to pour you a glass – check out to find your nearest.

And you can join me, Oz Clarke and Tim Atkin at our Three Wine Men Summer event on 17th and 18th June in London where you can take the #SherryChallenge and find the perfect sherry for your palate. Check out for tickets and further details - just make sure you come and grab me to share your favourite glass! There’s a style of sherry to suit every occasion but in the warmer weather, I particularly love the lighter styles of chilled Fino and Manzanilla - or if cocktails are your thing, dive in a deploy! A Feria favourite is the Rebujito – Fino sherry over ice topped up with good quality lemonade and a sprig of fresh mint. Scrumptious fun and superb for sipping all summer long.


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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.
Olly Smith
Olly is a multi award-winning wine expert, TV personality, author and columnist based in the UK. His finely tuned tastebuds, boundless knowledge and infectious enthusiasm know no bounds.
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Olly Smith @JollyOlly
25 May 2016
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