Sherry is one of the treasures of the wine world! Unfortunately, it is underappreciated because is a complicated world of fresh, oxidized, sweet, and blended styles that were peaked in popularity during the 1970s with many people’s aunts and grandmothers. During that period, twice as much Sherry was exported from the triangle of Sherry towns than now, but it is currently enjoying a bit of a resurgence because of great quality and value can be found!
Sherry is a fortified wine made in the far south of Spain (towns of Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa Maria and Sanlúcar de Barrameda), where extreme heat—summer temperatures regularly exceed 40 ºC—is countered by cooling breezes from the Atlantic. Table wines made here would be questionable, but the complex process of Sherry production, results in complex, interesting, and stable wines. This stability is one reason for the historical popularity of sherry: it became highly fashionable in the UK in the late 16th century, at a time when temperature controlled shipping and storage wasn’t an option. For more info about the types and production of Sherry, check out WineAnorak, Sherry Notes, and WineFolly.
- Toro Albala Electrico Fino en Rama: The bodega Toro Albalá is located in the D.O. Montilla-Moriles area and is housed in a former power station. They specialize in the Pedro Ximenez grape and use it to create the perfect base for Fino. Eléctrico Fino en Rama has an average age of five years and offers subtle fruit with a soft texture for the complex pastry and brine notes produced by the flor. The high nutritive value and fruit impact of the Pedro Ximénez offers the flor its required sustenance without the addition of alcohol, preserving the fresh and easy balance of the wine. We are offering this in both 375ml bottles and the dramatic 750ml “3 Fases” packaging!
- Bodegas Yuste Aurora Manzanilla: Iconic Manzanilla named for the widow Aurora Ambrosse Lacave, pioneering female sherry executive of the early 20th century. The whole line feature portraits of her as a young wife and mother, along with poster art she herself commissioned as the widowed director of a venerable Manzanilla producing firm. They are among the finest examples of wine art produced in the pre-Great Depression era. Yuste has skillfully integrated the 19th-C. solera with his own to produce a complex, rounded and saline Manzanilla between 8 and 10 years of age, bottled with minimal treatment to preserve an interplay of seaside freshness and full mid-palate.
- Toro Albala Don PX Gran Reserva 1986: This prestigious family estate was founded in 1844 in Aguilar de la Frontera by the great-grandfather of current owner Antonio Sánchez. In 1922 José María Toro Albalá moved the facilities to the current location in Aguilar’s old power station, introducing updated technologies and establishing Toro Albalá as Montilla’s quality leader. In 1970, Toro Albalá became the first Montilla producer to bottle Dessert Pedro Ximénez and they remain the world’s only specialst in 100% Vintage PX, with bottlings going back to 1910. Their ‘standard’ bottlings are released after a minimum of 25 years in oak and after they have attained their classic character. The 1986 is a deep dark brown, nearly the color of motor oil, that has aromas of sweet raisins, brown bread, herbs, figs, and so much more. The palate is full of dried fruit, molasses, and more that you need to wade through. Finishes fairly dry and would pair perfectly with a slightly nutty dessert, like pecan pie. I would just savor a glass of this for dessert and ponder its many facets!
Plus, we are going to be tasting out one American wine, a wonderful vermouth from Oregon:
- Ransom Dry Vermouth: From the makers of Ransom Old Tom Gin, this is a dry vermouth that pulls us back to the heady cocktail days of the Belle Époque, when joie de vivre filled the air and Vermouth made the evolutionary leap from charlatan snake oil and disguised refuse to distinguished mainstay of the era’s most popular drinks—the Martinez, the Martini, the Marguerite, and across the pond, the Manhattan. For Ransom, vermouth is the bridge between their winemaking and distilling. Starting in the winery with small lots of aromatic white grapes, they carefully ferment and blend wines of elegance and character, employing traditional techniques to maximize varietal expression, such as fermenting whites on the skins and employing carefully controlled oxidation of wine in barrel. Taking another cue from classic European vermouth houses, their solera system allows them to maintain the consistency and complexity of this unique base wine blend across vintages. In the distillery, they alambically distill and barrel age brandy from the house-made base wine for fortification. Next, it is infused with a proprietary blend of aromatic botanicals. Sweetened just so and gently filtered, the Vermouth retains a traditional slight golden color.