It’s International Sherry Week! Spain’s beloved fortified wine gets the spotlight for the next few days, though we think it deserves year-round attention. Savory and sweet, Sherry wine delivers everything you could want to enjoy from the beginning of the night through dessert, the key is understanding which is best to begin and which makes the perfect ending. For a little more on how Sherry is made, as the process can be confusing, check out my article on the wines here.
And, as wine and cheese go hand in hand, even when the wine is fortified, a few flavorful cheese options take the experience to the next level. The historic Gonzalez Byass group partnered with Vermont’s Jasper Hill Farm to suggest the ideal pairing for their beloved wines, and after tasting each, we found them to be spot-on options, rounding out the flavor profile of each of the wines with sharp, creamy, delicious flavor.
Fino sherry, produced from the Palomino grape variety, is crisp and dry, with yeasty aromas thanks to the Flor the wine ages under, along with brioche and nutty almond and hazelnut flavors with slightly herbaceous grassiness, as displayed in Tio Pepe. The number-one-selling Fino Sherry in the world, according to Drinks International, Tio Pepe’s history dates over 175 years when the first Fino Sherry was exported by Gonzalez Byass to England. From then until now, the aromatic, elegant Sherry showcases the quality of the selections from the respected producer and the pristine flavor of premium Fino. Pair with a creamy cheese that packs a punch of flavor, like Jasper Hill Farm’s Whitney, the winner of the 2022 American Cheese Society Best in Show. With a funky sharp aroma but a soft, inviting texture, the pairing awakens the palate for the evening to come.
Gonzalez Byass Vina AB 12-year is an Amontillado Sherry crafted from Palomino grapes which age under the Flor for four years, followed by 8 years of aging in barrel in the Vina AB solera. The combination of techniques creates multitudes of layers in the savory, dry sherry with yeasty, toasted biscuit, and roasted almond aromas that meld with spicy, oaky, dried fruit flavors from the barrel aging. As the aging is more extensive than the Tio Pepe, it is more expressive and rich, with a well-rounded palate. Though I love a well-made Fino, like Tio Pepe, quality Amontillado is always a welcome addition to my table with aged cheese and roasted game or poultry dishes.
I am not a huge lover of sweet desserts, opting for a cheese plate vs. a chocolate cake and one of the best cheese and sweet wine options is blue cheese with Pedro Ximinez Sherry. Nectar Pedro Ximinez is aged in a solera for an average of 8 years in a cask, giving notes of dried fig, dried cherry, toffee, dark chocolate, toasted spice, and creamy caramel. If you like sweets, the Sherry is an easy pairing with dark chocolate or vanilla desserts, but it is ideal with a nicely aged blue, like Jasper Hill Farm Bayley Hazen Blue. The sharp, nutty pop of flavor from the aged blue rounds out the palate of the nutty, sweet Sherry.
Completely unique and incredibly beloved, Harvey’s Bristol Cream sherry is a flavorful blend of Sherry styles, including Oloroso, Pedro Ximénez, Fino, and Amontillado, aged three to twenty years. The historical brand has English roots that date back to the late 1700s when wine was shipped to Egland from Europe for blending and packaging before selling. In 1882 the first Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry was produced, and today is the number one selling Sherry in the world, today crafted in the home of the fortified wine, Jerez, Spain. The blend creates a rich, creamy Sherry that melds sweet and savory flavors, making it perfect with fruit-based desserts or creamy cheese-like brie. Jasper Hill Farm’s Little Hosmer has a creamy, milky core with an earthy, truffle, and woody herb aroma with flavors of creme fraiche, wild herb, and mushroom.
#Cheers to #SherryWeek2022