Sherry
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by Ben Howkins

I may look calm, but I am really totally absorbed by the heat and beat of this stunning Flamenco performance at a private caseta. It is the 2019 annual Feria del Caballo in Jerez, and it is May. Flamenco is Andalucia. Any region that can give birth to such deep, yet joyful music deserves to be host to one of the great wines of the world – sherry. It is claimed that over 500,000 half bottles of fino are enjoyed over these seven days at the Feria. Wow!

 
Fino's alter ego in the world of wine is champagne, or fizz in general. Both excite the appetite with near zero sugar levels. The Feria del Caballo has happy semblances with Ascot. The private Casetas are its Royal Enclosure. Similar elegance and similar enjoyment abound, but there is no champagne at the Feria and no, or very little, fino at Ascot. Such are life's wondrous quirks.


Our rather strange June weather has meant that I am still engaging with fino at home. As soon as the summer starts in earnest, I will bring out the manzanilla. These two styles keep me going over the summer months. Nothing is better than priming the palate with fino or manzanilla at lunchtime before the gallant magnum of rosé is pulled out. The scene is set for a very happy afternoon.