Back in the day, the mention of sherry conjured up images of Christmases and fuddy-duddy types succumbing to the sweet pleasures of a wee glass or two. That and Mavis Riley from Coronation Street… Fast forward to the present and the world of sherry wine is altogether more contemporary, challenging and damn right delicious. We’re talking about an exceptional range of sherry wines to suit every palate, whether enjoyed on its own or as an ingredient in fabulous cocktails. In fact, there’s so much to learn about the category, that the powers that be have devoted a whole seven days to its enjoyment around the world. Want in? Start here…
Find your sherry wine
From bone dry through super complex to indulgently rich, there’s a sherry wine for everyone and every occasion. We know, we’ve recently been making it our business to taste a few.
Take Oloroso, with hints of dried fruits on the nose, a creamy mouthfeel and a long, dry finish, simply serve it chilled (around 12-14ºC) in a white wine glass, with a few nuts or olives, and it’s the perfect aperitif. It also makes for a striking compliment to red meat and game, or alongside a hearty stew.
Or how about Amontillado? This one has a delicate aroma with some rather appealing herbaceous notes. It’s light and smooth with subtle hints of wood in the finish. This also benefits from a little chilling and is very drinkable by itself, but try giving it a go with some asparagus as a starter or with white meat or fish for your main course.
Late evening and post dining then it’s time to look to Pedro Ximenez. Extremely rich, it starts off with a combination of dried figs, dark chocolate and liquorice on the nose. The mouth feel is equally rich, with a sweetness and warmth which carries through to an indulgent finish. Again it works well chilled and we especially liked it served over ice. It’s actually a dessert in itself but get really decadent and serve it with a chocolate dessert or some blue cheese.
We haven’t even touched on the likes of Fino, Palo Cortado and Moscatel, but we’ll leave these, and more, for you to explore on your own sherry wine journey. Enjoy.
Mix it up
Yes, sherry wines are delicious on their own but their diversity and complexity also offers you a whole range of possibilities for making mixed drinks.
Try replacing dry vermouth with either Fino or Manzanilla with your gin for a simple but deliciously different take on your Dry Martini. Alternatively, ditch the gin and pair your Fino with equal measures of sweet and dry vermouths and some orange bitters for a classic Adonis. And let’s not forget the Sherry Flip, with Olorosso at it’s heart and a grating of nutmeg, it’s pure indulgence in a glass.
We got inspired too. And while, as we said earlier, the Pedro Ximenez lends itself to end of the evening, we found it can make for something surprisingly refreshing, not to mention simple, when lengthened with some ginger ale and served over ice.
As for a martini-style serve we found some fig conserve and a little orange liqueur really brought out the fruit notes in the Oloroso for a very tasty sherry sour.
A whole week celebrating sherry
Whether you’re already a convert to the diversity and complexity of sherry wines or you want to start your explorations, then as 6th to 12th November is the fourth International Sherry Week, it’s the perfect time to do it.
Take your pick from food pairing menus, creative cocktails, inspiring masterclasses, countless tastings and promotions aplenty taking place everywhere from the UK to the USA, Brazil to Spain, Japan to Australia – in all 25 countries are taking part. Check out what’s going on in your region.
International Sherry Week, 6th-12th November. To find your local events see sherry.wine/sherryweek
50ml Pedro Ximenez
100ml ginger ale
2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
Lemon twist to garnish
Fill a large wine glass with ices cubes. Add the Pedro Ximenez and the Angostura Aromatic Bitters. Top up with the ginger ale and stir gently. Twist a piece of lemon peel over the glass drop it in.
15ml lemon juice
One teaspoon fig conserve
Add all ingredients to a shaker and stir to mix in the fig conserve. Fill the shaker with ice and shake hard. Fine strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.