Wines of the Southwest: Spain. Six dry and sweet Sherries.

Hello, Feastlings.

There are a handful of wines that I want the world to understand, and that most people regrettably do not.  Chenin Blanc is one.  Champagne is another.  And there are plenty more, but the wines I really wish everybody would give a fair shake are Sherries.  Sweet ones, yes, of course, but especially the dry ones.  They’ve got the complexity that red wine drinkers demand and the refreshing crispness that we only find in white wines (and that we desperately need in a Tucson summer).  This month’s tasting is another in our Wines of the Southwest series: Southwest Spain is home to Xeres, which in turn is home to Sherry.  Mike Galkin joins us this week with the wines of two different Sherry producers and a great seminar on how Sherry is made (and is therefore special).  It’s really interesting stuff and really delicious wine, and, if you ask me, dramatically underpriced.  If you’d like to join us for the tasting, it will be at 3:30 this Sunday, the 30th, and will cost $30 plus tax and gratuity.  Web and email reservations are no guarantee, so if you’d like to join us, please call us at 326-9363.

Wines of the Southwest: Spain

N. V. Lustau “Jarana” Light Fino Sherry, Jerez                                                                                              $21.00

This is a delicate sherry, light and dry, with pecan and Brazil nut aromas. Some citrus notes appear on the finish as the acidity that makes this wine a great match with simple shellfish and shrimp becomes apparent.

N. V. Lustau “Papirusa” Dry Manzanilla Sherry, Jerez                                                                                $21.00

Aged in American oak casks, in the humid and salty environment of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, a small town located on the estuary of the river Guadalquivir. This sherry has a pale straw color, with a hint of the sea breeze on the nose and the palate.

N.V. Hartley & Gibson’s Amontillado Sherry, Jerez                                                                                     $15.00

Dark topaz/ochre color with superb purity.  Yeast, sourdough, almonds and baked pear aromas upon opening; the intensity of the bouquet settles down into an integrated, unified fragrance that’s mor dry than off-dry.  Entry is semisweet and ripe with lychee fruit; midpalate is nutty, raisiny and bakes.  Supple and concentrated with a touch bittersweet fruitiness.

N. V. Lustau “Don Nuño” Dry Oloroso Sherry, Jerez                                                                                    $30.00

One of the pleasures of sherry is the way its aromas prepare the mind for sweetness and then surprise the palate with a switch. In this wine the nose of caramel, walnuts, and raisins conspires to do just that; instead of sugar the wine comes through instead with a full-bodied, round mouthfeel that finishes cleanly because of its well-balanced acidity.

Blue cheese

N. V. Hartley & Gibson’s Cream Sherry, Jerez                                                                                              $15.00

Dark gold to velvety brown; deeply scented bouquet; luscious, smooth and richly sweet in flavor; very full-bodied. Serve at room temperature or over ice.

N. V. Hartley & Gibson’s Don Pedro Ximenez, Jerez                                                                                   $21.00

The Pedro Ximenez grapes are allowed to ripen in the sun for two weeks after harvest prior to pressing to concentrate the fruit and give a rich, roasted quality to the wine.  Nose of caramel. Very sweet with prunes and more caramel on the palate. As expected for the style, very thick and syrupy.

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