That sure is a great question! I have to admit, that not until recently did I ever think about pouring a sherry into my glass, never mind purchasing a bottle. But one thing I have learned while exploring the wine glass is that you should never make a broad decision off of a single taste and definitely don’t believe everything you read and hear.
Let’s start off by debunking some of the more popular Sherry rumors. Probably the most common myth is that all Sherry is sweet. I was a believer of this until my eyes were opened wide to the enormity of what Sherry has to offer.
Yes, there is sweet Sherry, but there is also dry Sherry and everything in between. In fact, the majority of Sherry produced is dry. In the most basic terms, Sherry is an aged white wine. It can be aged biologically (Fino) under a solera system or oxidatively without the flor (Oloroso). At the other end of the spectrum is the sweet Sherry which can be sweetened naturally using late harvested Pedro Ximénez or Moscatel grapes that are dried in the sun prior to press or those that begin with dry and are blended with sweet. In this case the wine is produced with dry Palomino grapes and then it is blended with either Pedro Ximénez or Moscatel.
Another belief is that Sherry contains high alcohol and therefore is an digestif. Although the oxidatively aged Sherries are stronger than table wines, the biologically aged ones are not. Which also leads to another myth that Sherry wines last forever. Although, this would be wonderful if true, they are indeed wine, so they will succumb to oxidization over time. Fino wines are more susceptible to oxidization. They can realistically last a few weeks if kept in the refrigerator. The wines that have been aged without flor can last longer, up to a couple of months if stored in a cool dark place.
I have heard many times that Sherry is difficult to pair with. Another myth that needs to be debunked. There are so many Sherry styles available, you can literally create a wine dinner serving only Sherry. The fact that Sherry contains more savory and nutty notes rather than fruity notes can play to an advantage with pairings. I found this very clever image from the Sherry Council while searching for pairing suggestions. It shows how adaptable Sherry is. You can find some of their suggested pairings here.
Halloween and Sherry Pairing
Just in time for Halloween, Donna White Communications sent me three bottles of Sherry along with some of Halloween’s top candy picks to have a pairing party with.
We sat outside and enjoyed the 75o Halloween weather while we sampled the three Sherries. We decided to approach the tasting scientifically by testing one candy with each of the three wines, prior to moving on to the next candy.
In general, Almond Joy was not a good match with any of the Sherries. I am not sure if it is the combination or the fact that I do not like coconut. The coconut overpowered the wines even though I initially thought the almond in the candy would highlight the nuttiness of the Sherry.
The Pedro Ximenez was the overall winner in terms of most pairings. We enjoyed the candy the most with the PX. Harvey’s had the least amount of change from candy to candy. It remained the most consistent while the Oloroso changed the most with each candy than either of the other two wines. Our top pairings for each wine are:
Mike tasted along with me, and although Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are my all time favorite candy, he agreed. The nuttiness and creaminess of the PB cup, complimented the Sherry so well. (we may have tapped into the Reese’s supply of our Halloween candy for the trick or treaters to experiment a bit more and reconfirm our love of the pairing.)
Want to Learn More About Sherry?
Sherry Week 2020 is the largest celebration of fortified wines from Southern Spain in the world and will take place on November 2nd-8th.
This year the D.O. of Jerez-Xeres-Sherry and Manzanilla will bring the party to the Sherry community at home, teaming up with professionals who love to talk, drink, cook and shake with these uniquely versatile wines, from world-renowned chefs and sommeliers to passionate Sherry educators. The international Sherry community can look forward to a series of virtual events from all over the world including masterclasses, interviews, cooking classes, podcasts and online tastings.
They will be focusing on a focus on a different style of Sherry Wine each day:
- Manzanilla Monday
Palo Cortado Wednesday
So the next time you are considering what to pour in your glass, why not pick up a Sherry. Explore the different types and I promise you will find something you enjoy. And honestly, at an incredible price.