Let's talk about Sherry

On Monday, we had the periodic sherry only dinner organized by The Good Jay Miller, a/k/a The Other Jay, at Pings in Chinatown. Here is the lineup:
I did not take notes during the dinner, but I can say with great conviction that there were no duds. Throughout the range of wines, from chardonnay-colored finos to PXs that looked like I drained the oil out of my car into the bottle, the wines were all very nice. Maybe one could argue that Riesling has the same breadth of flavor possibilities, but I don’t think so. Is it under-appreciated? Certainly under-discussed here. So since there has recently been commentary about the repetitive nature of certain threads, I thought I would start this one, if for no better reason that to give people an excuse to use the search function to prove how wrong I am.

I particularly liked the Manzanillas and the Amontillado because of their balance between the two extremes. On the sweet end of the spectrum, the Venerable was quite good but the WOTN was probably the 2000 Valdespino, which had cashews, caramel and salinity rolled into one.

following this topic. this is a type of wine that I am incredibly lacking in experience with

Vintaged Valdespino?

I’m struggling to even find much Sherry to buy these days. Sources are scarce. Even Chambers is thin on the category.

I like sherry well enough, especially good finos/manzanillas with typical aperitifs like jamón, toasted almonds, olives, etc. My wife loves sherry, particularly palo cortados, olorosos & cream (not so much fino or manzanilla). If a bottle gets opened that she likes, much more often than not, that bottle gets emptied. Even my friends from Jerez, Puerto de Santa Maria, etc. get surprised how much she loves sherry. One good friend (she’s Venezuelan; but lived/worked in Jerez for some years), after an evening with my wife, exclaimed to me that “Even the people of Jerez don’t drink as much sherry as (her)!”

Needless to state, I always have some good bottles of sherry at home.

PJs uptown had an excellent selection the last time I was there. I sourced my bottle at the last minute from Ambassador on second avenue and they had a surprisingly large selection. Jay wanted fino or manzanilla because they are usually underrepresented and I had about 8-10 choices in those two categories. Prices ranged from about $15 to over $100.

Thanks Jay!

Yes! A rare find single cask.

So far as I know it’s the only anada Valdespino has released though I’d be happy to be corrected on that if someone knows of another. I tried it at Sherryfest and immediately picked up one of the three bottles Flatiron had. I then splurged on a few more. A magical wine.

I’ll try and write up my notes sometime soon. There were some wonderful wines at that dinner.

I’ll just add for the moment that while the 2000 Valdespino was unquestionably my WOTN the El Maestro 12 Anos Amontillado was my value pick. Only $32 at Flatiron and flat out gorgeous. Thank you Brent! I haven’t had an El Maestro in years and this reminded me of how good their wines are.

Ah Jay, one reason I miss you. (The real Jay that is.)

Maestro Sierra Fino - this stuff is reasonably priced and excellent.

Finally got a chance to type this up.

Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Fino Seco (a bottle from the 60s or early 70s)
Very nice nose, showing a touch old for me. But very interesting to try.

Manzanilla Soldera en Rama Saca de Primavera 2017 Spring bottling
Lush, slight fresh grassy nose, a bit light but perfect balance

Bodegas Hidalgo Manzanilla en Rama La Gitana Aniversario
Similar but scaled up a notch in depth

Fino Cruz Del Mar Bodegas Cesar Florido
Fantastic blazingly honest wine

La Bota 80 Manzanilla
A bit more laid back, more complex, less forceful

La Bota 72 Palo Cortado
Just beautiful. Complex,lush, warm and inviting.

2000 Valdespino Macharnudo Palo Cortado
Pure refined beauty in a glass. Magical

La bota 63 Oloroso
fireside wine, warming,vivid oil painting of a wine.

El Maestro Amontillado Vejez 12 years old
Beautiful, beef broth and almonds, brilliant wine, especially at the price point.

La Bota 38 Cream
Rich, sweet, a bit simple. Not bad but it’s not my thing. Had it about 5 years ago and age has neither improved nor hurt it.

Pedro Domecq Venerable Very Rare 30 Years VORS Pedro Ximinez
Lovely, complex, sweet,rich, surprisingly light on the finish. German chocolate cake with brandied cherries.
Phenomenal match with the roast pork.

maybe La Bota 63, a very old oloroso?

With your experience do you typically find fino sherry or any sherry for this argument positively developing in bottle? I was under the impression that the bodega would bottle when ready to consume and there would not be any improvement.

Yes, and vesicular=oloroso

I’ll fix above. What is particularly embarrassing is that it was one of the wines I brought…,

Typically, no. But I’m always happy to be pleasantly surprised. And this wasn’t bad though much more interesting on the nose than on the palate. Wouldn’t be the first time that a wine which wasn’t meant to age turned into something special. Wasn’t the first one didn’t either.

And I’ve never had any aged in bottle La Bota finos so I don’t know how much of the lack of ageability is due to filtration.

Great thread!

I really enjoy the entire line up of Bodegas Hidalgo wines, the Wellington Palo Cortado in particular.

Another favorite is the Fernando de Castilla wines, eapecially the Antique bottlings.

When someone asked me at this dinner about good values in sherry the VOS Wellington was the first thing that came to mind. I know at least one board member who will disagree but I like it as much as the VORS which is nearly twice the price.

IMO Bodegas Hidalgo is head and shoulders above their namesake Emilio Hidalgo.

FWIW, all the finos and manzanillas in our cellar are “en rama” and/or only lightly filtered, almost all were purchased between 2009-2014, mostly Equipo Navazos (I am still drinking #s 15 and 16). I know generalizing has its limits, but they typically present a little deeper in color, a bit softer in attack, and the little “fruit” typical of finos seems riper (if this makes any sense). While obviously tastes may vary, one thing they are not is noticeably deteriorated.