SHERRY FOR CHRISTMAS

SHERRY FOR CHRISTMAS image

By Rose Murray Brown MW   Published in The Scotsman 12 November 2022

 

Changes are afoot in Jerez, the sherry region in southern Spain, with more focus on emphasising and researching the vineyard origin.  Some of the outlying towns like Chiclana, Chipiona and Trebujena, previously outside the original sherry triangle, are now allowed to ship their wines under protection of the DO – and new legislation will soon be passed making fortification of sherry not mandatory. 

All these new developments are encouraging a generation of exciting producers to join the historic names making both sherry and table wines; this is definitely a region to watch.  With International Sherry Week (7-13 November) it is a perfect time to rediscover this historic wine by joining events across the world or try one of my favourite fine sherries below:

 

MANZANILLA

MANZANILLA EN RAMA NV Bodegas Callejuela
£11.50 (37.5cl) Fion Wines; Drinkmonger
Pepe and Paco Blanco hail from a family of growers and almacenistas (who age wine and sell to bodegas).  They now make their own fascinating earthy Manzanilla; aged in solera under flor yeast for 9 years, bottled En Rama (straight from cask): almond notes, citric fruit and saline finish.


MANZANILLA PASADA PASTRANA NV Hidalgo La Gitana   ***GOOD VALUE***
£13.99 (75cl) Waitrose; £11.99/£14.99 Majestic Wine
Exceptional price for an impressive mature Manzanilla which hails from single vineyard Pastrana; loved its bone dry tangy freshness with orange & apricot notes and salty tang.


MANZANILLA PASADA ‘LA BOTA 110’ NV Equipo Navazos
£48 (75cl) Fine Wine Musselburgh; Whisky Exchange
From Equipo Navazos, the pioneering marquista (boutique bottlers).  This excellent Pasada is about 14 years old from a small 13 barrel solera found in Hijos de Sancho Marin Perez – with honeyed nose, nutty richness and great mouthfeel finishing with savoury saline notes.


FINO

Inocente Fino ValdespinoFINO INOCENTE NV Valdespino
£19.75 (75cl) Drinkmonger; Lea & Sandeman; Whisky Exchange
One of the best Finos on the market; fresh zesty style with rich mouthfeel and concentration showing the stamp of the Macharnudo Alto vineyard – the highest point in Jerez at 135m altitude.

FINO CABERRUBIA ‘SACA VI’ NV Luis Perez  ***STAR BUY***
£28 (75cl) Sourcing Table
Blend of two years from Carrascal vineyard made by the dynamic Willy Perez, one of the best winemakers in the region today who wants the origin of the grapes to show over the winemaking.  The result is an incredible apple and lemon intensity, rich savoury notes and wonderful finesse.

FINO VINA CORRALES EN RAMA NV San Francisco Javier
£40 (75cl) Winesearcher
Peter Sisseck is well known in Ribera del Duero, but he is now part of the Jerez scene with his new San Francisco bodega project.  Sisseck believes Fino is Spain’s greatest wine – this version is 8 years old bottled en rama in a Burgundy bottle – wonderful zesty briney flavours, rich mouthfeel and spicy earthy undertones – a superb Fino if you can track down a bottle.


AMONTILLADO

AMONTILLADO EN RAMA CRUJIA 2011 Williams & Humbert  ***STAR BUY***
£40 (50cl) Winesearcher
Part of the incredible anada (vintage) sherry range from Williams & Humbert.  A lighter style of dry Amontillado with nutty richness and lingering length; grapes are sourced from Anina & Carrascal vineyards and aged ‘statically’ in the same cask, rather than in solera.

 

PALO CORTADO

PALO CORTADO NV Manuel Aragon
£50 (50cl) Drinks & Co
Bodegas Manuel Aragon in Chiclana was a great new discovery on my recent Jerez trip – this superb Palo Cortado is from a 50 year old solera.  Paler than his Oloroso, but with incredibly rich nutty dry complexity and great length. 


ALMACENISTA CAYETANO DE PINO 20 YEAR OLD PALO CORTADO NV Lustau  ***STAR BUY***
£27 (50cl) Luvians; Noble Green; NY Wines
Wonderful dry Palo Cortado with spicy cinnamon notes, great intensity and length – made by Bodegas Lustau who buy from renowned almacenista Cayetano de Pino, who specialises in this style.

 

OLOROSO

Antique Oloroso Fernando de CastillaANTIQUE DRY OLOROSO NV Fernando de Castilla  ***GOOD VALUE***
£27.50 (50cl) Woodwinters; Drinkmonger
This highly regarded small bodegas in the heart of historic Jerez is owned by Norwegian-born Jan Pettersen.  Their 20 year old is one of the best value dry Olorosos on the market: spice and nutty aromas, dried apricot, citrus fruit with soft rounded smoky palate with saline edge.


MEDIUM EN RAMA NV Carvajal
£26 (75cl) Spanish Wines Direct; Vinissimus
Made by Jaime Carvajal, a new marquista in the region searching out unusual or forgotten barrels.  He found this solera of ‘medium’ hidden in the cellars of Delgado Zuleta in Sanlucar - a remarkably fine sweetened Oloroso with 7% Pedro Ximenez added – approachable in both style and price.

 

PEDRO XIMENEZ

PEDRO XIMENEZ 20 YEAR OLD NV Tradicion
£64 (75cl) Justerini & Brooks; Master of Malt; Fortnum & Mason; NY Wines
Bodegas Tradicion is one of my favourites, they focus only on intense mature sherries.  This PX is made from sundried grapes and long solera ageing giving it wonderful sweetness, raisiny figgy intensity with luscious velvety finish.