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TDG: Wine Camp: Use It Or Lose It . . . Sherry


Fat Guy
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Check your recycling bin . . . how much Sherry have you had lately?

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Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Another classic, informative unstuffy wine piece from our own Craig Camp.

I love sherry. There was usually a bottle of decent amontillado or oloroso in my parents' liquor cabinet---still is! A sherry aperitif was always offered at cocktail hour, along with the martini and the scotch and soda.

But, you're right Craig; my recycle bin is sherry free. It's time to rectify that situation. (And now, when I head to Binny's I am much, much better informed.)

Great article.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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shhh. don't tell anyone. Fino is the best deal in town, and I want to keep it that way.

Had some great tapas in Boston last month at a place run by an expat Madrileño and his American wife. The waitress had no idea what I was talking about when I ordered a Manzanilla. Obviously not the most popular option there.

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You've got me thinking seriously about sherry for the first time. This is what wine writing should be--significant that a piece with the potential to change people's entire approach to a wine appears first on eGullet.

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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Enjoyed it very much.

Indeed a favorite aperitif, especially when it comes to mediterranean sea-food. Namely soft shells.

Cheers

Andre

Andre Suidan

I was taught to finish what I order.

Life taught me to order what I enjoy.

The art of living taught me to take my time and enjoy.

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Great article. Point to remember all sherry starts life dry. All port starts life sweet. Another point to rememer, nothing else hits the spot quite like a sherry if you're in need of "something" to lift the day. Still the great bargain, you would be hard pressed to pay more than $50 for the best examples of the excellent wines of Jerez. Where else can deliver that kind of value? And of course it keeps well. Buy now before the "idiot crowd" realise what they're missing.

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Does anyone know if there's a dating code on any of the finos or manzanillas? Twice in my life, I've developed a thirst in Spain for manzanilla. It may be that it disappears in the US because neither the life style or the food is as appropriate, but I suspect it's because the wine is not as fresh. I will also admit to thinking of sherry as an aperitif, and not a table wine, but in a seafood restaurant in Sanlucar de Barrameda, we continued with a manzanilla through lunch and ended up ordering a glass of white wine each when the (half) bottle of manzanilla was finished. We agreed that the manzanilla was a better match with what we were eating, which was mostly simply prepared shellfish.

When you see an open bottle of unchilled Fino on the back of the bar, run away as fast as you can.

That's the problem. In Andalucia, you can almost be assured the fino or manzanilla by the glass is fresh in a restaurant. Even in Madrid, I'd be more likely to ask for a fino rather than a manzanilla. Even in Spain we really don't see much consumption of sherry outside of Andalucia. In Madrid, and much of Spain, it seems cerveza is the aperitif of choice these days.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Another outstanding article, Craig. I thought I had some knowledge about sherry because I knew of the solera system and the wines of lustau, but you have shown me how little I know. I am aching to try some of the matches you described. Since freshness is important for a fino, how long can one keep an unopened bottle? Can it be cellared (fino) or should it be purchased when needed?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

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Since freshness is important for a fino, how long can one keep an unopened bottle? Can it be cellared (fino) or should it be purchased when needed?

I feel that an open bottle of Fino should be consumed within a week. If its a really good one it will never last that long. :biggrin: Never cellar Fino, buy a few bottles at a time and replenish your supply as needed from a merchant with a good turnover so you always have fresh wine.

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Had some great tapas in Boston last month at a place run by an expat Madrileño and his American wife. The waitress had no idea what I was talking about when I ordered a Manzanilla. Obviously not the most popular option there.

This is a strange and ongoing problem. Some of the worst offenders I have seen are in Spanish "tapas' bars. I say worst because they should know better.

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They all have a code, but usually it is intentionally mysterious. I will try to get the folks from Hildago and Lustau to give us their code.

In light of the first sentence, good luck in your pursuit of the second. I noticed a code on a bottle in Spain and thought I'd cracked that, but it had no relevance to the code I found on a bottle here. There are several possibilities. they may use different codes on export bottles, or it wasn't what I thought it was.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Glad to see sherry getting some of the attention it deserves. I've been making a tour of the various varieties that briefly became available to me when Pennsylvania's state liquor monopoly deigned to expand the sherry selection...

They had a range of Antonio Barbadillo sherries, and I tried the Manzanilla, the Oloroso, the Amontillado, and a far too sweet one that wasn't cream sherry... something like a Muscatel or such. All were tasty, and I went back for second bottles of the Oloroso and the Amontillado, which struck me as decent bargains at about $8 a bottle. The Powers That Be have deigned to prune that branch of the inventory, however, so I'm left with nothing but the Tio Pepe, Dry Sack, and a selection of cream sherries that don't really appeal.

My father is a fan of Harvey's Shooting Sherry, which is a medium sweet oxidised sherry that is actually kind of nice.

Since sherry is often a rare find, how about pooling the eGullet wisdom and experience on all the producers we can, so that if we run across something unfamiliar, we'll have the foreknowledge of what other people with good taste think about it.

So, besides the Lustau and the Hidalgo (never seen either in PA's state liquor barn system), lets name some producers and elicit some reactions.

Savory & James- This is available in PA liquor stores, but looks cheap (and is)... is this a diamond in the rough, or a waste of $7? What varieties do they do?? Cream is what's usually there, though I vaguely remember seeing others as well once.

Osborne- Have seen several varieties of this come and go, but haven't picked any up.

Harvey's- What else do they do besides Bristol Cream and Shooting Sherry? Any of them worth pickinh up?

Who else is out there making sherry?

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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I served a 2000 Alvear Fino En Rama this past Saturday evening.

The fine wines of Alvear are from the Montilla-Moriles D.O. and are made from Pedro Ximenez vine - even the Fino which makes it a much different animal than the Palomino wines of Sherry. Because they use 100% PX to make their wines they are understandably much more famous for their sweet wines which can be extraordinary.

How did you like the Fino??

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In the UK nearly all the Supermarket chains have there own range of sherries - usually a couple of cream sherries, a Fino, an Amontillado and sometimes a Manzanilla.

Anyone have any idea who actually produces these wines for them? Some of them are surprisingly drinkable (Especially for the price).

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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I served a 2000 Alvear Fino En Rama this past Saturday evening.

The fine wines of Alvear are from the Montilla-Moriles D.O. and are made from Pedro Ximenez vine - even the Fino which makes it a much different animal than the Palomino wines of Sherry. Because they use 100% PX to make their wines they are understandably much more famous for their sweet wines which can be extraordinary.

How did you like the Fino??

I enjoyed it & it went well with gazpacho & tortilla de patata.

Half the bottle is left so I'll have a few more tastes. I wish I had a Palomino fino to make a direct comparison.

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In the UK nearly all the Supermarket chains have there own range of sherries - usually a couple of cream sherries, a Fino, an Amontillado and sometimes a Manzanilla.

Anyone have any idea who actually produces these wines for them? Some of them are surprisingly drinkable (Especially for the price).

These BOB's (buyers own brands) or private labels for chain stores are produced by essentially all the producers and are part of the traditional business model of the region. It accounts for a huge chunk of the Sherry business in the UK. Even Lustau makes them for clients. Obviously the best wines are saved for their own labels but some very nice wines are sold at very low prices. However it is this end of the market that is collapsing and causing financial problems for many producers.

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Thanks, Craig, for a great article.

And thanks in particular for your advice on glassware. I don't own any sherry glasses, and it always made me feel like an old sot to drink sherry from wine glasses - but now I feel vindicated. :wink:

On the subject of glassware, while wine glasses do work fine, I've always liked the sherry glasses that they use in what seems like every bodega in Andalusia. They're perhaps 100-125ml in volume, made of normal wine-glass material, and look like squat champagne flutes with a 1-2cm stem. I tried to buy some in the UK a few months ago as a present for someone who'd asked, and drew a blank. The only sherry glasses I could find in stores or online where bizarre maiden-aunt-style liqueur thimbles of the sort Craig describes. Has anyone seen the traditional bodega sherry glasses for sale outside Spain?

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Few things pair as well as fresh cold fino and crispy hot bocerones: spain's fried mini-fish. makes me wonder why sherry isn't more popular than say, chard. didn't the Duke of Wellington bring fish and chips to the UK from Andalucia? Bux said tempura and tonkatsu too found their way from Spain to Japan. Makes me think think the wines travel poorly or especially delicate?

Nice pictures btw! Flor is seriously funkified goo

Edited by lissome (log)

Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons: That is all there is to distinguish us from the other Animals.

-Beaumarchais

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