’Tis the Season for Cream Sherry!

Date: 10 December, 2020 / Author: Ben Howkins

If you run a Google search for ‘crème de la crème’ you are met with three delicious options, crème brulée, crème fraiche and crème caramel. But if you Google ‘cream sherry’, you will be bewildered beyond measure. I was. (I suggest you look it up instead in chapter four of my book, Sherry – Maligned, Misunderstood, Magnificent!)

But ’tis the season for cream sherry. Christmas without Harveys Bristol Cream or Croft Original Pale Cream is unthinkable for many and quite right too. This Christmas especially, if we cannot over-indulge on Christmas Day, when the hell can we? Richness is what we all crave, in mind and in body, and what better way to start, and indeed end the day, than with a glass or three of rollickingly good cream sherry?

Cream sherry was begat for short days, bitter winds and dustings of snow. Cream sherry partners best with roaring log fires and opening those ghastly presents from disconnected relatives. Cream sherry shuts out the cold and warms the heart.

Bristol Cream and Croft Original are Britain’s year-round best sellers. They are both classic examples of cream sherry. The former, a rich, smooth Pedro Ximénez (PX) blend; the latter has a lighter fino hue. There is another one that I have recently discovered, Canasta Cream – whose sister brand from Williams & Humbert is the delightfully named A Winter’s Tale.

The producer’s tasting note describes Canasta Cream as: ‘Mahogany colour wine with aromas of dried nuts with a hint of raisins and brown sugar. Smooth and velvety on the palate with warm flavours and a persistent aftertaste.’With style in luscious spades…

And the good news doesn’t stop there. A recent study from the University of Barcelona, as recently reported in the Wine Spectator, has just declared that moderate sherry consumption is linked to reduced blood pressure and a restoration of artery function. This is indeed encouraging news for us daily tipplers.

News from Jerez brings us two new sherry publications and a new concept in winemaking. Henry Vizetelly’s classic Facts about Sherry (1876), first published nearly 150 years ago, was launched in Spanish at the Consejo Regulador in Jerez on December 2nd. Translated by the indefatigable Beltrán Domecq, the facts were ‘gleaned in the vineyards and bodegas in 1875’.  

You are greeted by a dazzling quote on the first page:

And all drinks stand with cap in hand,

In presence of old sherry:

Then let us drinke old Sacke, old Sacke, boyes.

Which makes us blithe and merry’    

Pasquil’s Palinodia (1619)

Beltrán also unveiled the third edition of his essential Sherry Uncovered.

The new concept in winemaking is a project launched in Jerez by David Leclapart, a champagne producer, and Alejandro Muchada, a wine grower from Cádiz. The brand is Muchada-Leclapart. Nothing difficult so far.

Their objective is to create a great white wine without flor and without fortification, with no selected yeasts and no filtering. Apparently, the result is ‘absolutely gastronomic’. The current vintage is 2018 and it just could be the next vinous superstar. I can’t wait to try it. No, it is not sherry, but anything great from the Sherry Triangle gets my vote.

PS I have reason to believe that Father Christmas, while not a wine bon viveur, is very partial to a glass of sherry. Cream please!