The wine nerd in me LOVES sherry. I adore that one region Jerez in Spain offers so many contrasting styles, such dept of flavour and packs such a tasty mouthful into each bottle. I am in awe of the care and the history and the craft that sherry exemplifies. It’s also excellent value for money, you can pick up 30 year old sherry for much less than €30. Yet I worry about sherry when I have to introduce it to other people. Sherry conflicts me. Not that long ago it lived in a place in my palate reserved for things I just wasn’t too sure of, olives, asian fish paste, the brown cheese from Norway… you get the picture, acquired tastes as my mother would put it. Each unique and brilliant in their own right but equally things that will divide many people who taste them. For every fan there is another with a wrinkled nose wondering what all the fuss is.
Historically here in Ireland we have always held a sherry in high regard and Ireland was considered a very significant market for sherry. Every person I mention sherry to, has a sherry story it really it seems to infuse so many christmas and special occasions.
So this week on my Late Lunch Live drinks segment, I’m going to be brave and have a live sherry tasting. I’ll admit I’m a bit nervous. I wonder if parents feel like this when they bring their kids to a birthday party? You know you child is wonderful and curious and delightful but you hope the other kids realise how unique and special they really are. Like a little girl in pigtails, and the best present this week, I’m going on a charm offensive show the sherries best side.
We’re going to easy into things with a fino cocktail. Kevin O’Mahony from Barry and Fitzwilliam tipped me off on this brilliant concoction. he said that it’s drunk by the pitcher in Jerez during the Feria which is the big festival in Jerez each May. It’s basically a mojito with dry fino sherry in the place of rum. I’ve used Tio Pepe Fino Muy Sec, Palomino Fino (€15.99-ish, widely available). This fino drinks great super cold with salty delicious Iberico ham and there really is nothing like a fino to whet your appetite. A good glug transforms a risotto and gives soups a delish dept of flavour. I’m also partial to sloshing some into a big pan of mussels with crushed garlic, a spoon of butter and a handful of roughly chopped flate leaf parsley…with of course more fino on the side!
here’s my rebujito recipe
You will need:
- Fino Sherry
- Fresh mint
- simple syrup
- soda water
(instead of soda water and syrup at a push you can cheat and use sprite…sounds daft and totally wrong but in my side by side taste test it really worked)
- In a pitcher muddle a lime cut in 1/4 with a good handful of fresh mint.
- combine equal measures of Fino (about 1/3 bt.) and soda water a splash of simple syrup to taste
- add lots of ice
Up next is the Del Duque Amontillado 30 years RRP €22 O’Brien’s
This is an intense deliciously dry sherry. On the nose I got lots of burnt salt toffee, vanilla and roasted nuts this followed through on the palate with strong savoury salty umami qualities. This a great food wine and with even just a sliver of nutty parmesan cheese! This sherry has been aged for at least 30 years. Check out my sherry go to guy The Vine Inspriation for a more indepth and fact filled post!
Finally a personal favourite. A drink more associated with an older generation of lady I hold a torch for Harvey’s Bristol Cream.
I like it straight over ice with a slice of orange. If there’s any left over it’s the perfect excuse to make trifle! This sweeten style of sherry is sadly often overlooked but I’m quite fan!