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The purity of the Palomino grape ages imperceptibly under the non-oxidative ‘flor’ in 500-litre American oak butts that are filled only to five-sixths. Pale yellow, the sharp yeasty aroma leads to a vibrantly refreshing palate. Usually 15.5 abv. Top brands are La Ina, Tio Pepe and Valdespino’s Innocente. Williams & Humbert have a superb 2010, bottled in March 2018.

body of Oloroso. Marries well both with consommé and mature cheeses. This is often the most prized of sherries, for it sorts or ‘selects’ itself rather than being selected in the Bodega - while it is ageing from Fino to Amontillado, it shows a distinctive quality that follows a single path. Always rare, Gonzalez Byass’s 12-year-old Leonor is very fine, while the 60-year-old Valdespino Cardenal and Hidalgo’s 70-year-old Wellington are in a class of their own.

Fino ‘en Rama’

‘Generoso’ Sherries

Bottled off its lees without filtration, this is altogether more vigorous and textured but still bone dry, Tio Pepe ‘en Rama’ being one of the most sought-after wines from Gonzalez Byass.

These are blended sweet styles, typified by Harvey’s Bristol Cream, as well as the naturally rich wines from Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel grapes that have been left on straw mats to concentrate their sugar. Very rich, best drunk at the end of the meal. The classic here is Matusalem from Gonzalez Byass - 75% Palomino/25% Pedro Ximinez and aged for a minimum of 30 years.

Fino

Manzanilla

If aged in Sanlucar, the Palomino grape acquires more tangy, salty characteristics and is known as Manzanilla, the top brands being La Gitana and La Guita. Also made ‘en Rama’. Hidalgo’s Pastrama comes from a single vineyard closest to the sea and the Solera averages 12 years old to show a deeper colour and richer flavours, nutty and dry but retaining the Manzanilla tanginess. Amontillado

Having gained colour and nuttiness after 8-10 years under ‘flor’ and then being transferred to oxidative ageing to gain more colour and flavour while remaining dry, this is both a fine aperitif or partner for white meats and cheese. My favourite here is Tio Diego from Valdespino. Gonzalez Byass has a good Vina AB while, for aged sherry, Hidalgo’s 40-year-old Napoleon is outstanding. Oloroso

Ranging from rich amber to dark mahogany in colour depending on time in barrel, this is richly-textured but not sweet, perfect for game and red meats. This style moves quickly from the ‘biological’ ageing under the protective ‘flor’ to ‘oxidative’ ageing where both colour and alcohol increase. Gonzalez Byass’s attractively rich Alfonso from an 8-year-old Solera is a good way to start, while Valdespino’s 25-year-old Don Gonzalo shows magnificent concentration and their 70-year-old from the Machardudo Vineyard is a truly great wine. Palo Cortado

A sought-after style that is a naturally complex evolution with ageing to offer the bouquet of Amontillado and the

Despite being swathed in history, the sherry region is witnessing a surge of outside investment, epitomised by Peter Sisseck of Ribero del Duero’s Pingus, who are refreshing old Soleras and creating more to give this under-rated wine a most exciting future. For serving sherry, forget the old-fashioned ‘schooner’ glass still found in pubs, even the classic small ‘copita’, and serve in a small wine glass, filled just half way to allow air to accentuate the bouquet. Sherry used to be served at ‘room temperature’ which is a great mistake. Fino and Manzanilla should be chilled like a white wine, Amontillado, Oloroso and Palo Cortado should be cool, around 12C, and the sweeter styles should be served at not more than 16C. In quality/quantity terms, sherry is the best value in the wine world — a 75cl bottle of all styles can be found either side of £10. Here is what Waitrose had on offer on December 29th: Manzanilla La Gitana Hidalgo - £9.29. Fino Tio Pepe Gonzalez Byass - £8.99 from £10.49. Waitrose Amontillado by Lustau - £11.49. Waitrose Palo Cortado by Lustau - £11.49. Waitrose Oloroso by Lustau - £11.49. Harvey’s Bristol Cream - £8.69. Palmers of Bridport have a more esoteric selection from the fine houses of Barbadillo, Hidalgo and especially Fernando De Castillo, whose Classic and Antique range is expensive but worth it. bridevalleyvineyard.com bridporttimes.co.uk | 65

Profile for Sherborne & Bridport Times

Bridport Times February 2019  

Featuring Helen and David Aupperlee of Broadoak Coffee, What's On, Arts & Culture, History, Wild Dorset, Outdoors, Archaeology, Food & Drin...

Bridport Times February 2019  

Featuring Helen and David Aupperlee of Broadoak Coffee, What's On, Arts & Culture, History, Wild Dorset, Outdoors, Archaeology, Food & Drin...