Sherry wine | Spain’s forgotten hero2 min read . Updated: 27 Dec 2014, 09:13 PM IST
Sherry is slowly making a comeback, with a younger generation keen to discover drinks that have a sweeter profile, but plenty of personality
The world loves an underdog. As we sit back and relax, somewhere an Ireland hit an England for a boundary to win a World Cup cricket match, or yet another rookie nation crowned a new star in football in their game against Brazil. Similarly, there is one drink that has been forgotten for generations, but is slowly making a comeback, with wonderful flavours that will win our palate over.
Sherry, produced only in Spain, is a delicious fortified wine that has been left on the shelf for years, but is now seeing a comeback with a younger generation keen to discover drinks that have a sweeter profile, but plenty of personality.
As I wrote earlier this year, sherry is a fortified wine, which means that it has had a spirit, an eau de vie made from grapes, added to it before maturation. Sherry must be made only from the white Palomino grape grown in the Jerez de la Frontera region of Andalusia in Spain, with two notable exceptions to this rule—Pedro Ximenez and the slightly lighter Moscatel. What is common to all the styles is that they are all exceptional with food.
The most common style of sherry is known as fino—an exceptional fortified wine, which is best consumed as cold as possible straight from the refrigerator. The most famous brand of fino is Tio Pepe—sadly you’ll find this one left out of the fridge in many bars and served slightly warm. But when the sun is shining, there aren’t many better in life than a cold glass of fino sherry paired with a hard Spanish cheese such as Manchego. If you ever find yourself in Spain, this experience is a must.
However, the focus for this next food pairing is on the richer end of the flavour scale of sherry. Pedro Ximenez, or PX as it is known, is named after the white grape from which it is made and is one of the most flavoursome drinks in the world. Despite being made from a white grape, the resulting wine is rich, oily and dark in colour. This is because when it is left to mature, the alcohol level is slightly higher than that in a fino sherry, meaning that the growth of flor—a protective layer on top of the wine—doesn’t happen and the wine oxidizes. This oxidation and the interaction with the wood create a huge flavour of red fruits such as strawberry, plum and fig.
These flavours make PX the perfect drink to have alongside chocolate or chocolate-based puddings
Sherry can vary from dry white versions of fino through to the rich and heavy PX options.