Vintage Sherry?

June 26th, 2013

La GuitaWhen I was a boy (a long, long time ago), I still remember that my mum’s favourite drink was Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry. Harvey’s was a Bristol wine merchant dating back to 1796, that was famous for centuries as an importer of sherry. It still exists today, but now as a wine museum and tapas restaurant, still serving it’s most famous beverage – Bristol Cream Sherry. Unfortunately I don’t remember too much about its taste, except to say that it was desperately sweet and sticky – if not for drinking then it could probably have served as some type of glue – an early adhesive for the Post-It pad perhaps?

On the subject of sherry, one of my own favourite drinks, and something that we nearly always have in our refrigerator, is Manzanilla. Of course anyone who drinks Manzanilla will know that one of the single most important factors in enjoying this fortified wine is that it is fresh, from a recent bottling. Of course this is quite ironic coming from someone who encourages consumers to drink their albariño with a bit of bottle age! The brand that I chose to drink is La Guita (not to be confused with La Gitana), not just because I like its taste, but also because I believe it is the only brand of Manzanilla to include the exact bottling date printed on the back label. You will often see me in my local supermarket sorting through the bottles on the shelf to find the newest wine….. 

Of course, by far the best way to enjoy a fresh glass of Manzanilla is to visit the coastal town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Cádiz where it is made. The distinctive Manzanilla wine acquires its dry, slightly salty tang from the seaside environment and the moist poniente wind that blows from the west along the Straights of Gibraltar. Its style is also derived from the distinctive chalky soil, the grape variety and from the local climate, which is cooler with high humidity, resulting in a higher level of flor yeast. As with our own wine it is absolutely perfect with seafood.

Yesterday I was out shopping with La Guita on my shopping list – there were only three bottles on the shelf. Upon closer examination one bottle was from 2010, one bottle from 2011 and the most recent bottle from March 2012….. doesn’t say too much for their stock rotation, and suffice to say that I didn’t buy any of them. I will look for some newer stock elsewhere.

One Response to “Vintage Sherry?”

  1. I definitely need to check out the Manzanilla while visiting Sanlúcar de Barrameda. I love the way you described the wine and I can’t wait to try it.

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