Iíve had a couple of sherry-dominated days. Brilliant!
Last night I turned up unusually punctually at Bar Pepito for a meeting, and found it had been cancelled. I was lucky Andrew Sinclair of GonzŠlez Byass was leading three restaurateurs through GonzŠlez Byassís posh sherries. I joined them. Star wine for me was Apostoles Palo Cortado, shimmering on the edge of dry and sweet, and hazelnuttily intense.
Tonight I treated myself to the box of Wine Society sherries that arrived just before I went to Portugal last week. Triple-yum! The Wine Society has always kept the faith with sherry. Now it has updated the range, and brought in some new delights.
The Romate Fino Perdido is an unusual style, quite a dark colour, obviously aged more than your average fino. Very rich, creamy, nutty and tangy, with notes of hazelnut, almond and toffee. Botaina Amontillado Seco, from Emilio Lustau, has flavours of caramel and toffee, with a coffee note. Itís very tangy, dry, but has the feel of sweetness, with magnificently caramelly length. Amontillado Maribel, from Sanchez Romate, has the edge taken off the intensity by a hint of raisiny PX. Lovely, mature wine, with a great balance between tangy intensity and raisiny softness.
Caetano del Fino Palo Cortado Viejisimo is fabulous (OK, Iím a sucker for Palo Cortado). Very intense, hazelnut and toffee aromas, with tangy, nutty age and brilliant length. Finally, Miguel FontŠdez Florido Oloroso, from a single butt (no wonder itís sold in half-bottles). The nose tricks you into thinking thereíll be some sweetness, but no, itís dry and tangy, with lovely, creamy, toffeed length. It made me think of rooms in old houses, full of hard wood furniture.
In principle, the Wine Society last orders in time for Christmas delivery finished 15 minutes ago. But you can always go to their shop in Stevenage. As the Michelin Guide says, itís worth the journey.