Any­one for sherry?

Cold, dry man­zanilla is the ideal aper­i­tif when the weather hots up

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - EAT IN -

San­lú­car de Bar­rameda is a par­tic­u­larly bright spot on the Costa de la Luz (Coast of Light) along south-west Spain’s At­lantic seaboard. On a re­cent visit the wide mouth of the Guadalquivir river was the most ex­quis­ite blue, the sand hot and white. And my drink matched it all for in­ten­sity and sharply an­gled flavours –a co­pita ( small glass) of the lo­cal for­ti­fied wine: cold, lemon-tangy, salty-fresh man­zanilla sherry.

Man­zanilla is a lot like fino, the other (bet­ter known) bone-dry, pale sherry made in­land in Jerez. But by the sea the nat­u­ral yeasts that form on the sherry in the bar­rel vary, giv­ing a slightly lighter, more crisp and saline note. Cold man­zanilla makes a bril­liant match for seafood, salted nuts and thinly sliced pre­mium jamón.

I fled the heat by re­treat­ing to the huge, dark Bar­badillo bodega cel­lars, tast­ing their flag­ship man­zanilla, called Solear, di­rectly from the cask with wine­maker Montse Molina. She ages it there for six years be­fore bot­tling; the aro­mas of ap­p­ley white wine and yeasty bread dough fill the cool cel­lar, damp wall to damp wall.

Man­zanilla is the per­fect hot-weather aper­i­tif, wak­ing up a jaded palate like lit­tle else. It’s won­der­ful to see sher­ries like these grad­u­ally com­ing back into fash­ion. But chill it well and don’t keep it long once opened – two or three days max­i­mum or it will lose its zest. Half bot­tles make a lot of sense.

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