Just like a dodgy aunty, I’ve loaded you with sugar and then left you to your own devices. It has been a week since we last caught up (a whole week! πŸ˜‰ ) the longest time between posts since I started this blog.

Did you try any of my Easter desserts (or recommendations)? I was tagged on a few empty plates on Instagram (it seems the salted caramel hot cross bun pudding requires immediate gobbling). I love food pics so make sure you tag me (@nicole_rouge) if you decide to use up any leftover hot cross buns.

I spent the whole Easter weekend working on a wine business assignment. BOO! It is a subject I am really interested in but still, I would have preferred Easter egg hunts and frolicking in a park somewhere.

The assignment did remind me to talk to you about something I’ve been meaning to chat about for some time…


Now before you click away*, this isn’t the fusty maiden aunt kinda sherry. This kind of sherry is for ultra cool, world-travelling, artist aunties – the kind I’m going to be (obvs πŸ™‚ ) when my shiny new nephew arrives in just a few weeks.

A few years ago my only reference point for sherry was the super sweet brown liquid my nana would have occasionally (often mixed with lemonade), or the bottle of ‘Dry Sherry’ with a peeling label that hovered about the back of the pantry for cooking purposes. So unfair. It’s like eating a slice of plastic cheese and assuming that is what cheese is.

In a nutshell (because I could talk about this for five days, and I just have. Thanks assignment) Sherry is a fortified wine that come from the Jerez region in south west Spain. It is such a fascinating beast. A fairly boring white wine is made and then popped into a barrel. What happens next is pretty magical. All the yeast cells floating about in the bodega (essentially a fairly romantic old-world wine storage facility) form a thick white layer on the top of the wine. This layer of yeast, called ‘flor’, protects the wine from oxygen and converts alcohol, oxygen and glycerol in the wine into acetaldehyde.

flor, barrel, sherry wine, fino, manzanillaSource

That’s all pretty technical and if you are interested in learning more, this guy is a guru. But what it means for us is the end result is a wine unlike anything you have ever tasted. There are a number of styles produced and I am going to save the complicated descriptions for another day. The style I want you to try is Fino or Manzanilla sherry; about as far removed from the fusty aunty sherry as could be.

Fino and Manzanilla sherries are aged under flor for between 3 and 7 years. The two names refer to the area they are aged in; Fino from Jerez and Manzanilla from a nearby coastal city called Sanlucar de Barrameda. The style is quite similar and often only #winenerds can really tell the difference. The wines are super dry, incredibly fresh and taste like sea breeze, bruised apple and almonds with some of that lovely bready, yeastiness we often associate with Champagne.

The first time I tried a Fino I hated it. These wines are really, really dry. Think about the least fruity wine you’ve ever had and this is even drier. They are also very slightly salty. Crazy right? But so refreshing and tangy. My mistake the first time was that I expected it to taste like other white wines; fruity with just a hint of sweetness. If you can switch off that expectation and just savour the fact that it tastes like you are walking along the beach eating an apple, then I think you are going to love it. Served with a bowl of olives or some salty jamon – amazeballs.

Are you in?

You can pick up a small bottle of Delgado Zuleta Manzanilla β€˜La Goya’ pretty easily for about $18 (fairly widely available) or to be on the safe side order a glass as an aperitif next time you dine out. Some places do keep their sherry open a little too long so if it is not pale lemon in colour and glistening, ask them how long the bottle has been open.

Have you ever tried Sherry? And perhaps more importantly, tell me about your coolest aunty- I’ve gotta get my training wheels on.

* My first draft read as “Now before you clink away” I almost left it, that’s a lovely fusty-maiden-aunt sweet sherry drinking image isn’t it?


25 Comments on Sherry wine for cool aunties

  1. I have to admit I haven’t had Sherry since I was studying my WSET 3 in Dubai nearly 4 years ago but I actually think I now want to go out and re-try it after reading your post! Great write-up Nicole!

  2. Shiny new nephews and awesome sherry come highly recommended, I had a new nephew turn up two weeks ago, although I must admit it was more PX with the eastereggs that I was drinking at the time! πŸ™‚

  3. I enjoy most types of drink depending on the mood. As far as sherry goes I sometimes like a chilled Tio Pepe (or white port) pre dinner instead of a G&T. Or a Campari and tonic. I love El Candado Pedro Ximenez sherry after dinner with a dessert like creme brΓ»lΓ©e. It’s really thick and raisiny, not at all like standard sweet sherries. Being Scottish sometimes I go for a malt whisky after dinner and The Macallan is one of my favourites. Coincidentally it’s matured in Oloroso sherry casks.

    • I do need to explore the world of white port a bit more. I really have only tried a couple. PX is delicious, one of my favourite sweet fortifieds.
      I’m about to start a unit on spirits so I will no doubt be trying some of your favourite whiskys soon. I have to admit to being a bit ignorant of the spirit world πŸ™‚

    • Oh yes, Fino and Manzanilla is Spain are even better because they should be drunk as close to coming out of barrel as possible for absolute freshness. There are so many lovely Spanish wines and a crazy array of grape varieties we never ever see here. He will have a ball.

  4. I don’t drink sherry so I cannot tell you much about that, and sadly enough, I am not all that close with my aunts – however I was when I was younger. I will however BE AN AUNT in June! πŸ™‚

  5. Is there a red wine equivalent? I haven’t had a white wine in ages, I’ve moved right over to a good cab sav (and by good I mean bottom of the range, because I’m cheap and I like it) and I haven’t even tried a fusty aunt sherry. If you can use it in place of wine in cooking I’ll buy some, so it doesn’t go to waste if I don’t like it!

    • There isn’t really a red wine equivalent as such, in terms of a dry, fresh, aperitif style fortified. However you might like a ruby port -lovely fresh red berry fruit, like your Cab Sauv but great after dinner with chocolate or dessert (not raisiny like a tawny port). But yes, you could use fino in cooking, I think it would delicious in a seafood pasta.

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this. I’ve seen sherry popping up around the traps and I was a little bit curious and a little bit scared. Now, I’m going to give it a shot. I only fell in love with oysters after someone pointed out that they taste of the sea – one of my great loves x

    • Oh do! I love it, just make sure it’s pale and glistening. The night after I posted this I had to send one back in a wine bar because it was brownish and had sediment (open too long). Let me know what you think πŸ™‚

  7. We’re huge fans of sherry, both Fino and Manzanilla. It was flavour of the month for winemakers’ knock offs for a while at the winery too, but the current favourite is now Sake. Kampai to Sherry and to Sake!

  8. I’ve never really tried sherry except the old nana variety when I’m cooking but I might have to give it a go now! Enjoy the countdown to the arrival of your new nephew and impending auntiedom!

    • I know. Bit of a problem for the people who make Sherry for a living πŸ™‚ You could definitely use this in cooking too and it would be so much more delicious than the usual cooking version.

  9. I love sherry!
    A chilled nutty oloroso is one of the best things with an apero.
    There are so many different types out there that the “younger” palates can appreciate yet because of the old fashioned stigma people steer clear of them.
    My advice is – give it a go, you can always cook with it if you don’t like it!

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