Sherry: sherry is for life, not just for Christmas (and old ladies).
Hats off to old ladies of the 1980s for getting sloshed on cream sherry – I personally think they were onto something. Whilst some cream sherries of the ‘80s were at best questionable – and at worst a saccharine abomination – sherry still doesn’t deserve the bad reputation is still holds. Sherry comes in an astonishing variety, from the very sweet to the very dry. Each iteration has its own fascinating flavour profile and pairs wonderfully with so many different foods.
Sherry is a fortified wine from Jerez de la Frontera in Andalucía, the largest region of Southern Spain. Sherry has a protected designation of origin status, and therefore must be produced in the so-called ‘sherry triangle’ to bear the name. They primarily use the palomino grape, which thrives in the hot climate.
Fino – this is the driest and palest variety of sherry. It has a robust flavour and is best served chilled. Pair with salted marcona almonds and tortilla.
Manzanilla – a delicate and light variety of fino, with a floral camomile character. Serve chilled. Pair with jamón ibérico and sourdough.
Manzanilla Pasada – this is a type of manzanilla that has been aged and partially oxidised for a richer flavour.
Amontillado – aged and oxidised, amontillado is darker but still dry. This works well with strong beef or mushroom dishes.
Oloroso – aged for longer and also oxidised, oloroso is richer and darker. Oloroso is still dry, but sweeter than the fino and manzanilla varieties. It is also the strongest in alcohol. Try enjoying with morcilla (Spanish black pudding) or cod with aioli.
Palo Cortado – aged for typically three to four years, the palo cortado is dark, rich and quite sweet. A surprisingly good match for smoky chorizo.
Jerez Dulce – these are sweet sherries made with fermented dried muscatel or Pedro Ximenez grapes. They are dark and rich, with an intense sweetness akin to port. Sweet sherry is fantastic with desserts, ice cream and the perfect accompaniment to a cheeseboard.
Sherry is the perfect match for good food, but also makes a great ingredient in cooking. Try it in this sauce recipe for the perfect accompaniment to pork and beef.