Sherry en rama, tasting with Beltran Domecq, president of the Sherry Institute

Mar 21, 13 Sherry en rama, tasting with Beltran Domecq, president of the Sherry Institute

Posted by in Spain

Yesterday I had a masterclass of sherry with the recently appointed president of the Sherry Institute (or Consejo Regulador as it’s known in Spanish), Beltran Domecq. Beltran’s family has been involved in sherry for literally centuries, his father is from the Gonzalez family of Gonzalez Byass fame. Beltran was in town in his new role to promote sherry and not just any sherry but en rama,  a style of sherry that has only recently been introduced to the consumer despite being something that has always been relatively easy to produce.  The main difference between fino sherry and en rama is that the sherry is directly taken from the barrel and is minimally treated before being sent off. Fino sherry is usually stabilized, the excessive proteins that can cause cloudiness are removed as well as tartrates and micro-organism that could affect the development or lack there of in the bottle. The result is what some would call a “natural” sherry or sherry in a purer form. The wine is lightly stabilized but the goal is to keep the sherry in it’s “straight from the barrel” form. The result are fino sherries with a lot more colour, body and flavour. “En rama” stays in the barrel between 2-6 years before being bottled. I tasted through a series of 12 different fino en rama sherries and what an experience. This was turbocharged sherry – full bodied, with a pungent and aromatic nose, a dry wine that is long lasting and very savoury. Beltran believes that sherry should be drunk with food and I certainly do agree with him. The drying quality, savouriness and minerality of the “en rama” is perfect to clear your palate for the next mouthful. He suggested the traditional foods of Spain such as manchego cheese and jamon serrano but he also had a few surprising suggestions, including Chinese and Japanese food. Next time I have sushi, I’m going for a sherry. “En rama”, sadly is only available for a short time after it’s...

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Sherry at La Tasca

Dec 10, 12 Sherry at La Tasca

Posted by in restaurants, Spain

It’s that time of year when Gran brings out the sherry. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. I was invited to La Tasca recently in Covent Garden to taste their sherry matching menu. I’m a big fan of sherry and food matching already but I wanted to see what they had put together. Manuel, our waiter, hails from Jerez, the home of sherry, and he explained that he would be guiding us through the basics of sherry. I think it’s great that La Tasca has staff who have sherry knowledge and are able to communicate this to the average consumer. Briefly, sherry is a fortified wine made from palomino and aged in the solera system. Manuel brought out 5 different sherries for us to sample. Tio Pepe Fino Muy Seco, La Gitana Manzanilla, Pedro Ximenez Triana, Oloroso Faraon and Amontillado Napoleon.  Manuel explained the different styles of sherry from the dry Fino muy seco to the very sweet and unctuous Pedro Ximenez. After that brief introduction, the food started arriving. Manuel recommended the classic pairing of jamon and almonds to pair with the Fino, the dry sherry being very refreshing with a salty note to it. I love this pairing. Amontillado was next, paired with cheese, olives and prawns. This sherry was slightly sweeter but still dry with a slightly caramel note to it. Sherry has great acidity which makes it an excellent wine to have with food. The next sherry was the Oloroso and this one is probably my favourite, savoury and salty but with a sweet, caramel nose. Delicious with trad tapas and cheeses, a medium bodied wine, it’s a great all rounder. We finished off with Pedro Ximenez which is a very sweet sherry made from it’s eponymous grape which is dried in the  hot Spanish sun before being made into wine. Manuel recommended that we pour the sherry over vanilla ice cream which we did. PX is full of raisins, prunes and dates on the palate and incredibly...

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