Monday, 30 August 2010



Kings Cross

Sherry has such a poor reputation that until recently I presumed I hated the stuff despite never having actually tried it. A visit to Spanish bar Camino, with its extensive bar facilities, provided a chance to dispel my prejudices. My first false assumption was that Sherry (or "vino de Jerez", made from white grapes near the Spanish town of the same name) was sickly sweet. Not true. Sure, this fortified wine certainly has a richness to it, but it's not desserty. The dryness ensures it's still more appropriate as a pre-dinner bud-tingler than a postprandial ponderer. From Camino's selection of Sherries (Jerezes?) three of us shared glasses of the following three:

Amontillado, Vina AB, Gonzalez Byass

Nine years old.
Appearance: Golden.
Aroma: Chocolate, raisin, almond.
Taste: Not sweet, almond, vanilla finish.

Oloroso Antique, Fernando de Castilla

Twenty years old.
Appearance: Burnt red.
Aroma: Maraschino cherries, chocolate, caramel, amaretti biscuits, Christmas cake.
Taste: Slightly sweeter than Amontillado; prunes and dates, dried fruits, still dry, richer, long, smooth finish.

Palo Cortado, Fernando de Castilla

Described on menu as "rare and very fine".
Appearance: Darker.
Aroma: Sweet, rich toffee.
Taste: Burnt orange, citrussy, slightly more bitter than Oloroso, still dry.

My favourite was the Amontillado, in part because it reminded me of certain whiskies that finish off their maturation in Amontillado casks, imparting a (surprise!) sherry richness to the malt. For similar reasons, I'm still keen to try Pedro Ximénez, a dessert sherry that has also proven a great friend to whiskies over the years. When I find one, reader, you will hear about it.

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