The oft-misunderstood sherry could very well become the next big thing on the drink scene this year. It’s time to get reacquainted with it.
In a nutshell:
Sherry is a fortified wine made from the white palomino grape that grows mainly in Jerez in Andalusia, Spain. Broadly speaking, there are seven types of sherries, and they can be classified into two major categories: biologically aged under a layer of naturally occurring yeast (flor); or oxidised naturally with the partial presence of yeast, or without it altogether.
Sherries from the former category (Manzanilla and Fino) tend to be pale in colour, while those in the latter (Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Oloroso, Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel) are darker due to oxidation.
It’s not just a sweet dessert wine.
In fact, most sherries, namely the Manzanilla, Fino, Amontillado, Palo Cortado and Oloroso, are dry. Only the Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel are considered naturally sweet and are thus drunk as dessert wines. The reason for the misconception that all sherries are sweet is the popularity of Cream Sherry, which is a blend of dry and sweet sherry.
You can drink different sherries during a meal.
Thanks to its varying flavor profiles, you can drink a different sherry at each point of your meal, starting with a dry sherry and ending with a rich, sweet one. A sherry also makes a great base in cocktails, helping to lengthen the flavour of the drink, making it well-rounded and giving it great body. It is able to do this because of its fortification (the addition of a small amount of brandy), which gives sherry its higher alcohol content and more intense flavours – this allows the sherry in a cocktail to hold its own against the spirits, instead of being drowned out by them.
How to pair it with food
The dry Fino goes best with some tapas, jamon and seafood, and even with artichokes and asparagus (which are notoriously difficult to pair with wines). A red-meat dish, on the other hand, warrants a pairing with the Palo Cortado, which is slightly richer and has a higher alcohol content. The rich and stickysweet Pedro
Ximenez is usually matched with desserts like ice cream and chocolate cake.
When you next dine at a Spanish restaurant, be adventurous and order sherry: the complex wine has an intriguing flavour profile.
EXPERT SOURCES: Ramon Cordoba, managing director of Iconic Wines; Jean-Philippe Patruno, executive chef of Una; Javier Ordas, restaurant manager of La Taperia; Maria Alonso, assistant manager of Catalunya Singapore
Ready to try? Here are three great places!
1 Rochester Park, tel: 6773-0070
The only dining establishment in Singapore to have a dedicated sherry bar, Una carries 11 sherries – including rare and exclusive ones – from the famed Gonzalez Byass sherry bodega in Spain (from $11 a glass, $53 a bottle). A pair of sherry cocktails are also on the menu ($19 each).
#02-10/11 Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road, tel: 6737-8336
La Taperia’s range of sherries is small – it carries just one brand each of Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso, Cream Sherry and Pedro Ximenez, and two brands of Manzanilla. But it’s a serviceable collection, and a good starting point for beginners (from $12 a glass, $55 a bottle).
The Fullerton Pavilion, 82 Collyer Quay, tel: 6534-0886
Catalunya’s menu of nine sherries features a curated selection from well-known sherry makers like Gonzalez Byass, Barbadillo and Emilio Lustau (from $70 a bottle).
Still Thirsty? Read on and drink up! Cheers!
By Tan Min Yan, Her World, May 2015