Pre-Covid we would make our way down to Jerez de la Frontera to taste sherry wines and also participate in the sherry run. After two years of missing out, we decided that our first trip to foreign vineyards would be back to this fascinating region.
We were delighted that some members of Lymington tri-club were also able to join us! Simon and I completed the Sherry Promo (14km) and members of the tri-club braved the 1/2 marathon.
It is an absolutely amazing way to experience the region, running through the white soiled (albariza) vineyards, up and down the hills (!)
Finally the run goes through into the historical city where the last km is through the Gonzalez Byass Bodega. The smell of sherry as you complete the race is intoxicating, and being greeted at the end with a super crisp glass of Manzanilla and some salty jamon and olives just topped the event off!
Post race we were excited to show the other runners how great sherry is as a pairing to food. We had fresh prawns and anchovies, and Jerez carrots paired to a light, salty Fino. We also had some unusual tapas, including breaded sweetbreads in Amontillado sauce, and a dish of artichokes (notoriously hard to match to wine) with prawns also paired to some nutty Amontillado – proving that sherry is a fantastic partner to food.
Day after race day we spent a fascinating few hours with Jan at Fernando de Castilla bodega. His Sherry wines and brandy’s are in our opinion some of the very best. His focus is entirely on high-end, complex sherries.
In 1999 Jan Pettersen, with 15 years at Osborne, bought the bodega – he also formed a partnership with a local grape grower to ensure a consistent supple of high quality grapes (unusual for the smaller bodegas who usually rely on cooperatives).
We stock both the Classic and Antique range – the Antique is intensely pure, and complex, single solera Sherries that has driven the reputation as masters in production of ageing fine, unblended, untreated sherries (no agressive filtration or fining on these fine sherries). We also like the Classic range for its more easy drinking style but still excellent in quality.
Styles to try and what food to pair with them
- Fino & Manzanilla – Jamon, almonds, olives, sashimi/sushi, white fish, oysters and prawns
- Fino & Manzanilla en Rama (a seasonal bottling drawn straight from barrel) – Ham, offal, sushi, tuna, artichokes, scallops
- Amontillado – Chicken, pork, light soups/consommé, blue cheese, paté, offal
- Palo Cortado – Spanish pork, game, lamb and full flavoured fish stews
- Oloroso – Pork, lamb, beef, game
- PX/Cream/Moscatel – Chocolate, fig, cake, cheesecake, dried fruit, coconut (we can also highly recommend PX poured over vanilla icecream as an instant memorable dessert!
Explore our range of sherries HERE!
We have added a selection of new wines to our Sherry range which we are excited to share with you. Look out for us pouring them at events coming up or enjoy a glass or two in our courtyard garden over the summer.
This bodega is characterized by traditional methods and high average age of wines. In fact it now has some of the oldest soleras in the whole region!
- Fino – 5 years old
- Amontillado – aged for 6 years under flor and fortified to mature for a further 6 oxidatively
- Amoroso – (medium) Blend of Oloroso with 10% PX and aged for another four to five years in barrel.
Barbadillo Sábalo, 100% Palomino, Vino de la Tierra de Cadiz – from 100% organic grapes. Harvested on the white albariza soils of Sanlucar (close to the coast). Ripe apple and peach, it has ample creamy palate with smooth saline notes. Pair to fish dishes, with artichokes or cheese.
A relative newcomer to the region, but the family have been viticultores for several generations. This bodega was set up in 2002. They are more interested in single estate and historic pagos that define and give character to the wines. They are also interested in the different albariza sub types. They want the origin of their grapes to show over biological and oxidative ageing techniques so they do not fortify their Fino or Oloroso.
- El Muelle – Named after a well known pier that used to stand in Sanlucar. An unusual non-fortified Palomino is a blend of wines cool fermented in stainless steel, plus 20% sun dried grapes fermented in seasoned oak. The savoury touch and mineral finish express the soils from where the grapes come.
- La Escribana 2020 *limited stocks*– Unfortified Palomino, grapes are picked in two stages, first slightly greener which add bright freshness. Ageing under flor adds salty/savoury notes.
- Caberrubia NV – A blend of La Barajuela (soil type) Fino’s 2013-2016, capturing a snapshot of the Carrascal vineyard fruit, concentration and savoury, salty character typical of this pago.