Today was my first introduction to Sherry and Port, drinks I never thought I’d touch until I was on microwave meals and needed something to get me through my knitting. Sherry, in my eyes, is a tipple in the arena of grandmas.
Old and adopted by the English fortified wine may be, but it has balls bigger than what you need to watch Coro, fortified wine = added spirits (juices from the Marc varietal), added spirits= more alcohol, plus with up to 100 years to go crazy with flavor and complexity, she sure packs quite a punch.
Jerez de la Frontera in the South of Spain is the ‘spiritual home’ of Sherry, and the common association of British origins comes from a long winded history of traders finding new markets to buy and sell alcohol throughout Europe, once french regained rule of Bordeaux in 1453. Now over 500 years later, wine making estates in Douro, Portugal, the home of Port, is sweet wee England’s home away from home, boarding at Eton, club sammies, the whole shabam #historylesson.
The tasting was not unlike many a childhood Halloween when I came to the last of my goods, to be faced with the task of finishing the ‘bad’ candy (as fast as possible, naturally), sickly sweet and syrupy would do the experience as a whole very nicely, but thankfully it had its merits.
Three Sherries, one region, a whole lotta booze.
The Manzanilla was up first, a style characterised by its ageing of the Palomino grape, with the solera process feat yeast. Yes yeast, not even removed, just stirred through and renamed flor, cause foreign is sexy, duh. Funnily enough, bread was the first thing to waft up the nostrils and take over the mouth, with citrus, savory and almond notes to go, I’ll go ahead and call it an acquired taste.
Next up was the booze hag of the bunch, Amontillado (up to 20% abv), the above plus spirits, killing off the yeast and bringing out raisins, almonds, walnuts, butterscotch and caramel aromas, which all in all, smelt like Christmas cake, Booze Hag edition. It tasted a lot more refined, nutty and savory, with dryness and acidity that lifted the wine from what could have been a syrupy disaster, the Amontillado was complex and interesting, plus 100% drinkable (bonus).
Pedro Ximenes (PX) was, through trial and tribulation, the pick of the bunch, black intense fruits and super sweet, taste number one was only encouraged by a sniff the slightest sniff of coffee within the madness. But fkya nose, the palate didn’t follow through, instead engulfing my mouth in a maple syrup drenched prune syrup. That said, it was nice, but enthusiasm and gulping cannot be trusted -back to the Halloween antidote- too much candy is a RL issue.
Whoever has been told that eating more chocolate wont make their problems go away can cheer for joy for PX, a mouth full of bitter chocolate (!!) and a secondary, more cautious, taste opened up my first mind blowing (I know, I know) experience of food matching. The syrup spun to velvet, prunes thrown to the curb and toffee down the drain, a bitter bite brought out velvety coconut, walnut and cherries, no more words can be said other than heaven
(and pour it over vanilla ice cream, I’m gaining faith in labels)
All wines produced by Lustau, Jenez, Spain.