Terry Kirby dares occasional sherry drinkers to deviate from the ubiquitous back-of-the-cupboard cream versions and suggests three alternatives for Christmas drinking
Sherry is always associated with the festive season, but not enough of us explore its enormous diversity or realise it represents fantastic value for money. Why not start here...
Barbardillo Manzanilla Extra Dry
From one of the largest bodegas in the Spanish coastal town of Sanlucar de Barrameda, the only place to make Manzanilla, the driest, lightest and freshest sherry, distinguished by its pronounced yeasty, salty tang. A fantastic aperitif, drunk chilled with nuts and wonderful with light shellfish dishes instead of a conventional white wine
Tio Pepe Fino Dos Palmas
Like Manzanilla, Fino is made from the Palormino grape and aged under a layer of natural yeast called “flor”,giving its distinctive tangy taste. This is a bit different from most Fino: a limited-edition release, taken from specially selected eight-year-old barrels, which although displaying intense flavours, needs to be consumed soon after bottling. Very dry and savoury, this can be drunk with all kinds of tapas, Serrano ham and cheeses.
Morrisons Dry Oloroso
Not subjected to “flor”, Olorosos age in the barrel for years, resulting in richly complex, nutty, raisiny, flavours but remaining completely dry and clean on the palate. Fantastic with a plate of hard strong cheeses and walnuts or as an after-dinner disgestif, like a brandy. Unlike other sherries, this remains drinkable for a week or more once opened. This is remarkable value for such complexity.