Eat, Drink and Be Sherry No 5 | Académie du Vin Library

Eat, Drink and Be Sherry No 5

Date: 15 April, 2020 / Author: Ben Howkins

Firstly, I do hope that you and yours are safe and sound amidst this surreal turmoil in which we all find ourselves. Although this is not the time for socializing as such, it may prove to be a time of prolonged reflection and relaxation that we never really expected to benefit from.

How to make the best use of this time? Reading all those unread books at home appears to be high on the list. Enjoying all those forgotten wines in our wine cellars has to be another avenue for enjoyment.

As a former chairman of mine put it in another context: ‘Sherry is a conversation wine. It should not be glugged; it should be sipped.’ Sherry (and port and madeira) could be made for today’s ‘at home’ drinking climate.

Sherries usually have stopper corks. Easy. Sherries, especially the amontillados, palo cortados, olorosos, creams and PXs will last days, weeks or even months once opened. Helpful. Sherries have a wonderful array of tastes and flavours to suit one’s different moods of self isolation and the changeable weather. Magnificent.

You will have heard me before claiming that fine sherry is vastly under-priced. Annoying for the producers; amazing for us consumers.

So, rather than loo paper, I strongly suggest that we all start hoarding sherry. Buy, buy, buy.

Most fine wines are bought early so that they can mature and improve happily in one’s own cellar or that of the wine merchant. Sherry does not need to mature or improve in bottle. It can stand up on its own two feet; it does not have to lay down and slumber. The sherry producer has kindly matured the wine for us in casks or butts in their bodegas. All they have to do is bottle on demand. And the demand surely is now?

Whilst on the telephone at home or enjoying a few nuts before supper, have a glass of manzanilla or fino by your side. Whilst watching TV – especially the nostalgic channel 81 – have a glass of amontillado or palo cortado nearby. The actors will be smoking, but you will be having a healthy glass of sherry, the driest of wines. When coming back from a bracing stroll outside, jump into an oloroso or cream sherry. When finishing your dinner, look forward to a small glass of PX. Just a few tips, or sips, to help enjoy, rather than ‘get through’, the days and evenings ahead… No one is looking; no one is driving.

This month heralds the beginning of spring, traditionally when the flor in sherry butts is at its thickest, so that the manzanilla or fino blends can be most successfully removed from cask into bottle. Spring bottlings of ‘En Rama’ sherries are being released now. Sod the loo rolls; it is En Rama time!

Sherry cocktails come alive in springtime and can be easily made at home. Sherry and tonic is one of the delicious, simplest best. Sherry and vodka, as originally created for Dean Martin in Beverly Hills and named ‘Flame of Love’, is one of the most intense and captivating.


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