Let's Talk Wine with Eric Garnier
March 2011

Sherry (The neglected wine)

This month I am going to try to expand the myths about Sherry. Sherry is a fortified wine predominately made from the palomino grape, and is produced in the southwest of Spain in an area called Andalusia. Sherries are allowed to oxidize to different degrees depending on the type being made. 

They are blended and aged in a network of old barrels, called a solera. They come in different styles from very dry to extremely sweet.

Sherries start out extremely light, dry, and crisp (Finos and Manzanillas), moving up the ladder to a more full body and darker in color dry sherry (Amontillados and Olorosos) with nice roasted nutty flavor, to the Creams with their sweet fig and toffee flavors, to the sweetest of them all, Pedro Ximenez (PX) made from the grape of the same name. 

The Finos and Manzanillas are a nice aperitif type wines. Typically, they should be served cold with tapas, jamon, olives, and nuts. Since seafood is a major portion of the diet in this area, Finos are the wine of choice for most dishes. My fondest memory of drinking Fino was when I was in Jerez in 2005 and eating freshly made paella. They are also a must in the kitchen for making sauces and gravies.

Amontillados and Olorosos pair well with more traditional dishes like soups, poultry, and pork or ham and again, seafood. They also stand well just drinking on their own.

On the sweet side, Cream sherries, like Harvey’s Bristol Cream, and Pedro Ximenez (PX) are for the after dinner crowd. The Cream sherries go well with some fruit or cheeses, or with a nice light dessert. I really enjoy the PX. It is extremely sweet and so I find that I cannot drink very much at one time. For a real treat, pour some PX on some good vanilla ice cream.(yum,yum)

These wines are widely imported to this country and can be found in fine wine shops. If your wine store does not have them, ask them to get some for you. All of these can be found between $10-$20.

Be bold! Experiment and try something new.


Questions or comments? Reach me at : Wineoeric@gmail.com

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