A trip to Jerez

Belgian blogger Ruben Luyten has been blogging about whisky for ages (here), but since a couple of years he also has a sherry blog. I don’t know where he gets the time or the constitution to keep that up, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Since this week is International Sherry Week he teamed up with a couple of bodegas around Jerez de la Frontera and organized two Sherry Twitter Tastings. I was part of the first one on Monday (November 2nd) and we tried five different sherries.

I won’t go into detail about the bodega and production process, simply because I barely know anything about it. I will put up the link to Ruben’s review. He’s got more information there.

Soluqua Manzanilla Pasada (15%, Barón, 1o years old)

The first sherry is a Manzanilla. From the previous Twitter Tasting last year, I remember this to be a quite salty drink. I was surprised to not find that salt on the nose, since there was a lot of oaky sweetness. Quite some yeast too, and straw. Doyenne pears (others said quince, but I don’t know these) and maple syrup. Quite sugary. Honey covered peanuts too and a slightly fatty scent as well. A light touch of salt in the background, after a while.

The palate is a lot more acidic and salty than the nose. I get cashew nuts and the yeast again. Very dry on the palate as well as in the finish. The finish has pear skins, yeast and salt.

Ruben’s review.

Amontillado (18%, Gutiérrez Colosía)

On the nose there a light salinity again, with old oak and even some cork (in a good way). Slightly bitter caramel with treacle and mocha. Roasted almonds and those honeyed peanuts again.

The palate is more crisp and less sweet. Roasted almonds and blackened pastry. Peanut, honey, cashew nuts, pear, yeast and salt. And it’s very, very dry. The finish is long and shows the same profile as the palate, with dryness and salinity leading the way.

Ruben’s review.

Oloroso Emperator Eugenia (20%, Lustau)

This is an entirely different cup of tea compared to the previous ones. There’s a lot more nuts and fruit here, and it’s very sweet. Sweet strawberry, tawny port and nuts. Quite soft on the oak, figs, raisins and toffee.

The palate is a bit lighter than I expected and the salinity of the previous two is gone too. Raisins and a light bitterness, Brazil nuts and quite drying. The finish is almost savory and a lot less sweet. Earthy with autumn leaves.

Ruben’s review.

Isabela Cream (17.5%, Valdespino)

This is, once more, entirely different. We’re entering the realm of the thick and sweet sherries now. There’s oak and caramel on the nose, with toffee and lots of mocha. Sweet, but still a bit ‘quiet’. Lots of oak, with the dryness that it sometimes gives. Sweet, well aged balsamic vinegar and dry aged beef.

The palate tastes like raisins and strawberries. There’s balsamic vinegar with oak and a light drying effect. Farmy and earthy, with stewed beef. A bit Mortlach-y.

Ruben’s review.

Pedro Ximénez Don Guido V.O.S. (18%, Williams & Humbert)

Even though I sort of know what to expect, I’m surprised by how good this is. Very sweet, and I almost have to spoon it out of the sample bottle, that thick. Mountains of raisins on the nose, with vanilla ice cream (or is that just wishful thinking?). Some oak, sweet licorice, and a hint of balsamic vinegar again.

The palate is, not surprisingly, very sweet with raisins and sugar syrup. Figs, licorice, some vanilla and pastry. I also get ginger in the background.

Ruben’s review.

Obviously, now I have to say something opinion-y.

Let’s start by saying that Ruben picked a group of very interesting drinks, and even thought the Twitter Tastings are always quite chaotic, it was easy to follow and a great experience. Well done!

The sherries were all good. I think the only one that didn’t shine as bright as the others was the Amontillado. While a tasty drink it didn’t have the extreme dry salinity of the Manzanilla, and the nutty flavors were overshadowed by the Oloroso. It kept the middle ground between those two and therefore didn’t shine in itself.

The Oloroso was very, very good with lovely flavors that make me understand some sherry cask matured whiskies a little bit better.

My favorites of the night were the other three. The Manzanilla because it was such a rollercoaster of a sherry. The nose was very sweet and highly influenced by the oak. The palate showed the more predictable salinity and dryness of the wine. A great combination of flavors that I really enjoyed.

The Isabela Cream has a bit of a bad name and is regarded as grandmother’s drink. I tend to disagree if it is of this kind of quality. The still rather light wine in combination with the beefy goodness, with balsamic vinegar works very well for me. I absolutely loved it.

The PX was the PX. A great way of rounding off a tasting like this with something that shows depth and richness. This, while still being a lovely drink that everybody loves. And with reason. Absolutely gorgeous.

Thanks Ruben, much obliged. It was a great night, with great drinks.

Now, to find me a bottle of all of them…

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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