Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Sherry Food Pairings: More Bellota Please
Fino and Manzanilla sherries share many characteristics so they often pair well with similar foods. Manzanillas tend to be slightly drier, a bit more salty and with a more pungent aroma. A good choice for a wide range of tapas, these sherries pair very well with seafood, especially shrimp, mussels and fish like sardines, but they even go well with sushi. Drink them with olives, sliced hams, salami, soups, mild cheeses, almonds, other nuts, and pickled foods. They even are a good accompaniment to hard-to-pair foods like artichokes and asparagus.
Amontillado sherry often has a compelling aroma with smooth flavors of nuts, caramel, and vanilla. It is a very good pairing for soups (like gazpacho), poultry, pork, spicy foods, BBQ ribs, and stronger fish, like blue fish. It is also very good with strong cheeses, including pecorino, gorgonzola, and stilton.
Oloroso sherry often has similar flavors to Amontillado except they are often rounder, deeper flavors with pungency. Oloroso pairs well with poultry, pork, wild game, red meats and even tuna. It also works with cured meats, smoked bacon, and even foie gras. Try it with creamy cheeses like brie or even bitter chocolate.
Palo Cortado sherry is said to have the aroma of a Amontillado and the taste of an Oloroso, thus it will often work with many of the same foods as an Oloroso. But, I have found Palo Cortados to taste a bit more like a blend of the two, with less roundness than an Oloroso though not as pungent as an Amontillado. So consider similar pairings to an Amontillado too.
Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel both make very sweet sherries, often thick, viscous wines and will generally pair with similar foods like chocolate, blue cheese, puddings, pastries, and other sweet desserts. A favorite suggestion is to pour some of this sherry over ice cream. The main difference between these two sherries is that the Moscatel may have different aromatics, more herbal, pine notes.
Experiment, and try various sherries with different dishes. You can use the above information as a guideline, but personal preferences can vary so discover what you like best.
Do you have any of your own favorite sherry food pairings?