Sherry is not just for our elders and dark bars, and is in fact making one heck of a come back with it’s popularity over the years. More and more want to try it, see the appeal, and see the wonderful foods this wine pairs with. Sherry has a unique taste and is made using the Solera System, taking wines from different vintages and blending them into one. This adds character, structure, and complexity which I love about these wines.
Sherry is consumed a lot in Spain, where it is made. Now, all sherry is strikingly similar, depending on the style, but it’s the winemakers touch that differentiates them and makes these wines even more unique, desirable, and fun to pair foods with. One of my favorite sherry’s happens to be Jerez bodega Williams & Humbert. I recently had lunch with the winemaker Paola, who is young, energetic, and the talent behind her families bodega.
Now for those who are unfamiliar with sherry or wonder where it gets it’s unique flavors and aroma’s from, you have to remember that sherry is a living thing. Because it is alive (yeast) it is up to the wine maker to decide where they want to go with the wine and help guide the sherry to either Oloroso or Amontillado.
I tried many sherries with Paola, all unique and fresh with tons of fun notes to analyze and pair. Served with these wines was some incredible Tapas at the Pier A Harbor House in FIDI, NYC. Sherry is made from two types of grapes, in which Palomino and Pedro Ximinez are the stars. Most of the sherrie’s below are Palomino grapes, however there is one that has them both and thats the Dry Sack 15 YO Oloroso.
Pando Fino: Aged 5 years in oak casks, 15% alc, and bright, floral, and beautiful. The humidity here helps the yeasts protect the wine. Pair this fresh and fragrant sherry with Hummus and Pita Chips, which we enjoyed sprinkled with some Paprika and Seasonings.
Don Zoilo Manzanilla: Aged 7 years in oak casks in a microclimate that influences the wine giving it a salty character that sets Manzanilla sherries apart from others. This saltier sherry paired beautifully with Tuna Tartare and cucumbers.
Don Zoilo Amontillado: I happen to LOVE amontillado’s because of their striking nutty character, and this one is 12 years old. It has a gorgeous golden brown color and is beautifully well balanced. Enjoyed with this sherry was a Seafood Tower fit for a king, which is a traditional pairing in Spain with sherry.
Jalifa 30 YO Amontillado (VORS): Sexy chocolate and cocoa notes, this wine reminded me so much of Nutella. The overwhelming but enticing aroma of this sherry was enjoyed with some Grilled Cheeseburger Sliders; a perfect compliment to this sherry.
Dos Cortados 20 YO Palo Cortado (VOS): This salty sherry is 20 years old and also went beautifully with the sliders. This wine has some toastier characteristics, almost reminiscent of those winter chestnuts that you can smell from the roasting carts in NYC around the holiday season… it’s a beautiful aroma.
Don Zoilo Oloroso: This one is fruit forward and not so nutty, but has freshness and striking acidity with some nice body to it. The grapes are aged 12 years in oak casks, and goes beautifully with Grilled Pineapple, Seafood, and Pork.
Dry Sack 15 YO Oloroso: Dark brown in color, served slightly chilled, and has much more caramel and oxidation to the nose. This one is great for the end of the meal, and can be enjoyed with Manchego Cheese, Chorizo, and fresh Berries.
Sherry is unique and can be one of those wines you may not understand or enjoy upon first sip, but I promise you can and will learn to love this style of wine. Sherry is absolutely gorgeous and ranges anywhere from 15%-19.5 or 20% alc and is so much more then we know it to be.
Try it with friends, have everyone bring a sherry, some cheese, and seafood and awaken your palates to a fun and delectable experience!