LAST week was International Sherry Week.
There were tastings and food matching events to celebrate the occasion across the city centre. Unfortunately I remained office or home bound.
I did however recently taste a wine revived by sherry producer Barbadillo that I’d suggest is one of the best sherries for the uninitiated or the doubters to try. Why? Because it has an elegance and delicacy that many might not associate with sherry; particularly if your memories of the drink are coloured by a dusty bottle of sweet sherry that was pulled out of the cupboard at Christmas.
And if there’s anything that Sherry Week might teach us it’s that sherry is not just for a week in November or for a week over Christmas for that matter.
After giving Manzanilla a whirl why not try an Amontillado? It’s a sherry with a more powerful punch that is brilliant with Serano ham. For even stronger flavours try a Palo Cortado. Barbadillo Manzanilla Pasada Pastora En Rama 2017 (£9.99 from Amazon, Cambridge Wine Merchants, Taurus, Roberts and Speight, The Dorset Wine Co, Mumbles Fine Wine)
This historic wine was the very first to appear on the market in 1827 when it was shipped to Philadelphia.
Then in 2015 the ●●Barbadillo Pastora Pasada 2017 Barbadillo family decided to revive the wine and produced an aged Manzanilla that would resemble the same style. The label was taken from a retro-looking advertisement and very much looks the part. The difference between Manzanilla and Fino, as you probably already know, is that the former is fermented in the small seaside town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda as opposed to the later which is produced in Jerez. The Palomino grapes used to make the wine are however taken from vineyards in upper Jerez and harvested at night or in the morning to avoid the grapes sitting around in the heat of the day. Pastora makes its way though the stacked barrels of the solera system for six years but Barbadillo take the further step of ageing the wine for another three years before bottling with just minimal filtration to give it that ‘en rama’ or straight-fromthe-cask style.
Only 500 cases of this wine are produced each year.
As a true Pasada, Pastora has a burnished golden hue and an aroma of bread baking in the oven. The palate is soft and rounded with a saline tang and notes of citrus fruits.
This wine is the perfect aperitif and will match Spanish bites such as olives, padron peppers and tortilla.
Perhaps its best food pairing however would be seafood such as prawns or anything involving crab.
It may be overwhelmed a little by really powerful flavours such as strong cheeses, or meatballs, for instance. Tesco Finest Amontillado, Barbadillo, Jerez (£7 for 50cl)
This Amontillado from the same producer, but available through Tesco, is brilliant value and superb with Serrano ham or Manchego cheese.
It’s got a lot more of a fortified feel to it with a spicy boot polish tang to its aromas of walnuts and caramel. Serve it nicely chilled in a decent size white wine glass. Morrisons Signature Palo Cortado (£6 for 37.5cl)
An incredible bargain in my book. A Palo Cortado cask loses its flor cap early in development and is marked with a slash.
This a nice example of the style. Rich and powerful.
‘This wine has an elegance and delicacy that many might not associate with sherry’