1. Sea air and sunshine in a bottle
Remember how at the seaside you have the urge to get great lungfulls of bracing sea air: the saltiness, the iodine, the elements in all their glory? Well sherry (and especially manzanilla) has that in a bottle, and on a glorious sunny day too.
2. Doughy goodness
Supermarkets use fresh baked bread aromas to make people feel good and conducive to impulse purchases. In sherry you get even better aromas: unbaked dough, pancake mixture, finished pancakes, bagels, even pizza bread and dough balls.
3. The nuts
If most wine tastes of fermented fruit juice, sherry tastes of fruit and nuts: toasted, roasted, or raw, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or chestnuts. Let’s face it, everything, whether we are talking wine, cheese, cigars, or chocolate, is better with nuts.
4. The caramel
The buttery caramel and vanilla flavours from oak barrels could have been invented for the herbs, almonds, nuts and bready flavours of sherry wines, and whereas in a table wine they can overpower, in the best olorosos, palos cortados and amontillados they are sublime.
5. The variety
Sherry surely has the greatest variety of styles of any wine producing region: fino, manzanilla, manzanilla pasada, amontillado fino, amontillados, palo cortados, olorosos, pale creams, creams and everything in between.
6. The pairings
You really have to try a manzanilla with olives, a fino with Spanish ham or asparagus, amontillado with artichokes, palo cortado with roast beef or venison or, best of all in my view, oloroso with spicey stews (especially callos a la madrileña).
7. Bangs for your bucks
Refreshing, balanced and zesty wines for less than €5, exciting wines with bags of flavor for less than €10, really top class wines for €30, and some of the very best wines being made anywhere for €100 or less: at every level you get massive value, RCP, ROI, and enjoyment.
You do not need special equipment to drink sherry. In fact, you should not acquire “sherry glasses”: drink sherry in big wine glasses that allow its aromas to sing. Also, sherry is easy to store and survives a long time after opening: you can take a cheeky glass and whack the cork back in whenever necessary.
9. The in-crowd
Experts love these wines, and if you want to get a sommelier on your side ask them what sherry they would recommend. If they have something interesting you have won their respect (and if they don’t, get out of there).
10. The town of Jerez
If you are still not convinced, get yourself down to Jerez and go and visit some of these bodegas, listen to the flamenco in the tabancos, eat in the bars and restaurants and meet the people. I am utterly unable to summarize it.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of El Consejo Regulador.
26 September 2015