Tapas and Spanish wine at Bankside, the latest Camino is open

Jul 21, 15 Tapas and Spanish wine at Bankside, the latest Camino is open

Posted by in All

I was invited to visit the new Camino at Bankside recently and what a lovely evening it turned out to be. Although it was your typical English summer (read, cloudy and not that warm) we opted to sit outside to begin our tapas adventur The menu was created by Executive Chef Nacho del Campo. He hails from the Basque region so there are some definite influences from this part of Spain. We started off with chipiriones, which are one of my favourite tapas. I have to say these were fatantastic – light and cruncy but not greasy.  The bar has a good size selection of sherries and so we opted for a fino and a manzanilla to go with the chipirones. I love sherry and it’s such a great wine to pair with tapas. We also ordered a plate of jamon croquettas. I don’t know how they do it but at Camino they manage to make croquettas that don’t fall apart at the first bite and are awfully toothsome. I could have eaten the whole plate by myself but I saved room for the next plate. The restaurant has 3 distinct areas downstairs, a long bar to stand at, as they do in Spain, a jamon counter, where you can watch them carve up the jamon and a dining area which is decorated with Spanish tiles and features high counters and bar stools. For me, I found it to be very reminiscent of the more modern tapas bars in Barcelona. But, back to the jamon. The jamon they have is not just any old jamon. They feature D.O. Teruel and D.O. Guijuelo ham, aged 20 months and 24 months respectively. They also have a 32 month aged and and a 36 month aged jamon from the legendary producer, Cinco Jotas. The 36 month aged jamom is extremely intense, for me a bit too much but my dining companion loved it. I let her finish off the plate. I later found out that you can...

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[PODCAST] Chatting with Beltran Domecq, President of the Sherry Council

Feb 27, 15 [PODCAST] Chatting with Beltran Domecq, President of the Sherry Council

Posted by in Podcast, Spain

Next in my podcast chats is Beltran Domecq, the president of the Sherry Council. If you have any comments about the podcast or podcasting, please feel free to leave a comment. You can subscribe and download the podcast here. I caught up with Beltran via Skype recently to chat about the ongoing 80th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Sherry Council and the upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations for the designation of the Manzanilla DO (Denominacion Origen). Beltran also gave me some tips on how to best serve sherry and some great food and sherry matchings. The Feria de Jerez is coming up as well and there will be lots of sherry sampling and drinking going on as well as flamenco dancing and generally having a good time! For more information about sherry and the Sherry council as well as the Feria, visit their website here. You can download the podcast here or  listen to the podcast below: http://thewinesleuth.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Beltran_2nd.mp3 Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Sherry Masterclass and visit to The Sign of the Don

Dec 12, 13 Sherry Masterclass and visit to The Sign of the Don

Posted by in All, London, wine bars

As many of my readers know, I am a huge fan of sherry. Not the typical sherry your grandmother sips on Christmas Day. I’m talking about the dry, nutty and aged sherries that have recently gained renewed popularity in the bars and restaurants of London. It seems that more and more people are appreciating the nuances of sherry and I’m always happy to see new sherry bars in town. I attended a sherry masterclass at the recently opened The Sign of the Don in the City a few weeks ago. Located within throwing distance of the old Stock Exchange in the City, St Swithins Lane isn’t hard to find and there you will see the shadow of the famous Don of Sandemans Port and Sherry  etched onto a sign hanging over the door of the bar. TSOTD is the little brother of the long established restaurant, The Don next door. TSOTD also has a full restaurant but the main aim is to be a sherry bar. I liked it so much that I returned the next night with a friend for more tapas and dinner. The building has been part of the Sandeman family for generations and the cellar is unique in that it has been there from the beginning, over 200 years ago, it was being used as a sherry cellar. The cellar used to reach all the way to the Thames but nowadays there is only 30 metres left. Luckily, the cellar has been preserved and is now used by TSOTD for their wine cellaring. But back to the sherry masterclass. Led by the 5th generation of La Gitana, Javier Hidalgo, we were in for a treat. Starting off with the classic Manzanilla La Gitana NV, Javier told us that this was the first sherry to be included in the Wine Spectator’s best Fino of the year. A light and fine sherry, at £10 a bottle, it’s a bargain. One of my favourites of the evening was the Manzanilla Pasada Pastrana NV....

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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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