We at Infinite Ideas are very excited today! The manuscript for Julian Jeffs’ sixth edition of the ultimate Sherry guide has arrived and will be ready for publication in November. Here’s a little something to whet your appetites:
A sickly old-fashioned drink fit only for the plughole, or one of the world’s best value and underrated drinks? Focus your attention on Fino and you might soon have an opinion. The reason for the huge success of Sherry during the 50s and 60s was that it was an inexpensive, potent and supposedly long-lived alternative to wine. Now that wine is cheaper we think nothing of cracking open a bottle at the drop of a hat. But Fino Sherry is arguably the most delicious, best-value, highest-quality wine known to humankind. In order to decide where you stand on the issue you need to undertake a most dramatic exercise in filleting: imagine that the only style of Sherry in existence is Fino.
Sherry is made in Andalucia near the seaside towns of Jerez de la Frontera (‘Jerez’ is the origin of the English name ‘Sherry’), Sanlucar de Barrameda and Puerto de Santa Maria. The Palomino Fino grape used makes pretty dull table wines but great Fino Sherry thanks to a natural yeast called ‘flor’ that is created by the Sherry-making process. Fino is created by a curious, complex process known as the solera system in which after a few years in the barrel a third of the oldest Sherry is bottled and the remainder is topped up with younger Sherry before being aged further.
• Good-quality Fino • Cheap Fino • Cheap Port • Pouilly Fume •
White Rioja • Cheap Australian Chardonnay.
Tasting these wines side by side will help you to put the unique character of Fino into context. The point to remember when tasting these wines is that unlike the others (with the exception of the Port) Fino is fortified to a strength of around 15% – double that of some light German wines and a third more than most white wines. On an empty stomach you’ll find that it packs an even more powerful punch.
Here’s an idea for you:
Keep a bottle of Sherry in the fridge for use as an early evening sharpener. One evening you could even try drinking it as an accompaniment to food. Just remember that it has quite a high alcohol content.
Taken from Instant wine expert by Giles Kime