Monday, November 6, 2017

Rant: Stop Neglecting Sherry!

"There are only two kinds of sherry, the good and the better."
--Jerez saying

What may be the most intriguing, complex, tasty, unique and best value wine that you probably aren't drinking?

The answer is Sherry, a fascinating fortified wine from a small region of southern Spain. For too many people, Sherry is only a sweet wine that their grandparents may have drank. However, most Sherry is actually dry and it is an amazing wine, one that many more Americans need to taste and experience.

Today is the start of the fourth annual International Sherry Week, an effort to elevate the image of Sherry, to attract more people to savor this delicious wine. As a lover and fervent advocate of Sherry, I want to take this opportunity to spread my passion for this wine, to intrigue others to give it a try. Sherry remains a niche beverage in the U.S., and many Americans have not encountered the joys of dry Sherry. Even many wine lovers have little experience with dry Sherry.

It is dry Sherry which is enjoyed the most in Spain, and there must be a very good reason for that fact. As an example, consider the Sevilla Feria, the famed Spring Festival of Seville, a six-day event where the attendees consume approximately 600,000 bottles of Manzanilla Sherry. How many other wine festivals do you know where that much wine is consumed in such a short time?

Hopefully, we can change matters and get more Americans drinking more Sherry. Here are some items that hopefully will intrigue and motivate you to discover more about Sherry.
  • The Sherry region has a lengthy, fascinating history, extending back a few thousand years and may even the source of the Atlantis legend.
  • Sherry may have been the first wine brought to the New World.
  • The Mayflower, before it sailed to the New World by the Puritans, was used to transport Sherry.
  • In the 1860s, about 43% of all wine imports to Britain were Sherry. 
  • Palomino, the primary grape of Sherry, may have been planted by the ancient Phoenicians. Every sip of Sherry is a taste of history.
  • Manzanilla Sherry can only be produced in a single city in the entire world.
  • Aged Sherry is one of the best values in the wine world. You could buy 50 year old Sherry for $50-$100, far cheaper than almost any other similarly aged wine on the market.
  • Francois Chartier, a sommelier and author, has written on the science of food and wine pairings and believes that Fino Sherry is the King of Food Pairings.
  • Sherry would be a great idea for drinking on Thanksgiving.
  • A Sherry Bodega is radically different from the average wine cellar, and often is even on ground level, helping to make Sherry possess its distinctive nature.
  • Here are 10 Things you should know about Sherry.
  • And here are 5 More Things you should know about Sherry.
Locally, Sherry is starting to get a more visibility, albeit more in the form of Sherry cocktails. I enjoy such cocktails, but I would like to see more people enjoying Sherry on its own too. If you enjoy the flavors of Sherry in cocktails, then why not try the flavors on their own, without other flavors clouding the issue. Try a Fino or Manzanilla, an Amontillado or Oloroso. Or maybe even a Palo Cortado.

The best place in the Boston-area to enjoy Sherry is clearly Taberna de Haro in Brookline, which has about 75 Sherries on their list. No other restaurant has half as many Sherries, and owner/chef Deborah Hansen is truly passionate about Sherry. You can dine there, order some tapas and get a flight of Sherries to compare and contrast. And this week, check out their amazing Sherry Week events!

Other places with Sherry to check out include Tres Gatos, The Hawthorne, and Toro. And you should also check out a special Sherry Week event at The Wine Press in Brookline, across the street from Taberna de Haro. Streetcar Wine & Beer in Jamaica Plain also sells plenty of interesting Sherry.

Stop missing out on the myriad wonders of Sherry. Take a chance and order a couple dry Sherries, to taste something new. You can thank me later when you find a new favorite.

(This is a revised/expanded version of a previous article from 2014.)

No comments: