Kerri has not made too many changes to the store, but those that she has made have been very positive. She created a website for the store, which it did not have before. The website has a blog, lists of events, recommended wines, and much more. It is well written and you should take a look. Though she has maintained their regular Friday night wine tastings, from 5pm-8pm, they have been holding numerous special events on other nights as well. I suspect that any additional changes will only enhance the store.
I recently attended one of those special events, a Sherry tasting. Sherry is definitely an underappreciated wine yet it deserves more recognition. Part of the problem is that too many people have a negative image of it, yet those preconceptions are not accurate. Sherry is a complex beverage and comes in a number of different styles and flavors. More people need to try some Sherry, to find out what it is really all about.
This tasting was excellent as it gave you a good idea of the range of Sherries. Plus, it was good that they provided a range of foods to have with the sherries, as they often benefit being paired with foods. I have found more people enjoy sherry with food than those who enjoy it just on its own.
We began with the Emilio Hidalgo "Panesa" Fino ($16) which is a "fino," a dry sherry and which has a tiny production. It is made from 100% Palomino, and I found it to be bone-dry, elegant and with a nutty taste and some floral notes. An excellent apertif with almonds, cheese, olives or similar items.
Next up, the Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla ($13), which I have tasted before and found to be excellent. It is dry and mellow sherry, with a nutty flavor and a touch of saltiness. I think this makes a good introductory sherry for people has it is a bit mellower. It does benefit from being paired with food, and at this price is a very good value.
We then moved onto the Bodegas Hidalgo Napolean Amontillado ($18), one of my favorite styles of Sherry. I love a glass of Amontillado after dinner. This sherry was nicely complex with flavors of caramel, nuts and hints of saltiness. It had a long finish and was very pleasing to my palate. It is dry rather than sweet and you could drink it as an apertif if you wanted.
The Emilio Hidalgo Marques de Rodil Palo Cortado Especial ($46) is a special sherry. A Palo Cortado begins as a fino but the undergoes oxidation so it then resembles more an oloroso or amontillado. This sherry is made from 100% Palomino. It is a light wine but with plenty of flavor, roasted nuts, caramel and vanilla. Complex, smooth and with a lengthy and satisfying finish. Just an exceptional sherry that is well worth its price.
The Emilio Hidago Gobernador Oloroso Seco ($30) has been aged for twenty years. It reminded me of the Palo Cortado except it was not as complex or good. It still was a delicious sherry, lots of nut and caramel flavors, but it paled in comparison to the Palo. It was also a little bit sweeter than the Palo but still fairly dry. This Sherry is worth its price, but I would spend more and get the Palo.
The last wine was the Alvear Solera 1927 ($26) which is made from the Pedro Ximenez grape. This wine is not officially a sherry as it is made in the Montilla Morales region and not in Jerez. It has a dark orange/brown color as well as a nose of oranges. It is a sweet wine, though not cloyingly so, with a taste of raisins, vanilla, and a bit of smokiness. It is a complex wine with a lingering finish, and probably would be best paired with dessert.
I recommend that you stop by The Wine Bottega, especially to check out all their special tasting events. It is a great place to find excellent Italian wines, as well as special wines from all over the world.
The Wine Bottega
341 Hanover Street