Tips to enjoy Sherry wine even more
By now, we believe that no true winelover would question the fact that the wines of El Marco de Jerez are among the best wines in Spain. Proof of this can be found in the evaluations obtained by these wines in the recently launched online Peñín Guide 2022 and in the impressions of the tasting team, which you can read in two articles. However, today we will address the most hedonistic aspect of these wines, that is, the best way to preserve, serve and consume them to enjoy their organoleptic qualities to the fullest.
The appellations of origin Jerez and Manzanilla de Sanlúcar give us every year excellent samples of unique wine typologies in the world: manzanillas, finos, amontillados, olorosos, palo cortados, medium, cream, moscatel and pedro ximénez. But, as with any other wine, once one of these bottles arrives at our home or business, it is important to keep in mind a few tips for its proper conservation.
- Store it in a cool, dark place, free from temperature fluctuations and vibrations, as is recommended for any other wine.
- Sherry wines, once bottled, are ready for consumption. That does not mean they can remain in perfect condition for some time, but with limitations. For example, finos and manzanillas, being biologically aged wines, can be stored in optimum conditions for up to approximately one year, while the rest of the wines, more linked to oxidative ageing, in general, can be kept for up to 3 years. For VOS and VORS wines, this period can be indefinite, if the aforementioned storage conditions are respected.
- Once opened, always store it with the cork tightly closed and, in the case of finos and manzanillas, keep it in the fridge. In this way, we will be able to enjoy the remaining wine in optimum conditions for a period of approximately one week. As for amontillados, palo cortados and olorosos, as long as they are refrigerated, they can be kept for approximately 2 months.
There are no rigid serving rules to enjoy a good sherry, although there are some recommendations, which mainly involve the type of glass and temperature.
Glasses: Ideally, it should be served in ordinary glasses like those we use for any other still wine, especially if we intend to serve it with a meal. A sufficiently wide glass will allow the wine to "breathe" and the long stem will prevent it from warming up. Traditional "catavinos" are also suitable if they are not excessively small. Paradoxically, those known as "sherry glasses" are not recommended, as their small size does not allow the wine to express itself properly.
Temperature: There is no fixed serving temperature for most of these wines, although in the case of finos and manzanillas they should be consumed very cold, between 5° and 7° C. For the rest of the wines, we can talk about general recommendations, for example, pale cream wines can be drunk between 7° and 9° C, while other types of elaborations such as amontillados, palo cortados and olorosos are recommended to be tasted between 12° and 14° C. The older wines, VOS and VORS, can be consumed at a temperature like that of a red wine, around 15ºC.
How to pair which wine with which dish?
Traditionally, finos and manzanillas have been used to accompany aperitifs and sweet wines for desserts, but the truth is that, without looking for any strict rules when it comes to matching them with dishes, sherry wines can be an ideal match for a meal from start to finish. On its website, the sherry appellation's regulatory council offers a useful guide to pairing or matching, with which we have dared to draw up a simple menu that anyone can prepare at home nowadays, when, unfortunately, social gatherings are rather limited. Take this as a fiction, nobody in their right mind would drink so many different types of sherry wine at the same meal. The aim is to offer you options to accompany some of the delicious wines of the region.
This is not a wine tasting, it is about enjoying wines with food, but it is advisable to serve them in order, from the lightest to the strongest, so that one does not overpower the other with its potency.
So, while we finish preparing the table, we serve a chilled manzanilla, accompanied by a small plate of olives from Jaén, some fried almonds and some manchego cheese slices. Next, with all the family seated around the table, the first course is served: grilled wild asparagus and mushroom scrambled eggs, accompanied by a glass of amontillado. We then move on to the second course, a chicken curry with rice, which we serve with a glass of oloroso, perfectly harmonising with the intense flavour of the spices. Meanwhile, the father of the family, who is not too fond of curry, prepares a fresh grilled tuna steak, and opens a bottle of his favourite palo cortado. Dessert arrives, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, accompanied by a glass of Pedro Ximénez. Enjoy your meal and enjoy the Jerez wine!
Sherry and Manzanilla enter the tasting room of the Peñín Guide, everybody stand up! One must surrender to greatness when it is before you, except that the brilliance we bring you today comes with a tremendous dramatic burden.
At Peñín we are already focusing on the 2025 Guide, which begins its tasting tour this January to reach October with the most complete Guide to Spanish wines in the world.