Monday, September 5, 2016
A Premium Sherry
Follow My Apostoles
Apostoles Palo Cortado V.O.R.S., 20% abv, González Byass (Jerez), c €23.95 (37.5cl) in Bradley’s, Cork.
This is an amazing sherry, a serious one, yet a wine to have fun with. Try it with your favourite paté. In the English Market I picked up some delicious Chicken Liver Paté, the brandy and garlic version, from On the Pig’s Back. This proved to be a superb pairing.
I was a little worried about complicating it further but couldn't resist adding a taste of Harty’s Cumberland & Port Jelly to the pair. Now, I had a triple to relish. Not quite a ménage à trois, but sexy! Cheese and red meats are also recommended as partners for the sherry.
The dark amber liquid is complex, full of aromas and flavours of concentrated fruit, soft on the palate and so concentrated that a sip goes a long way. Savour it for a while, the hints of sweetness, explore the tangy notes, the salty notes and then enjoy that very long smooth finish. Smooth from start to finish in fact.
This Very Highly Recommended wine has been a long time in the making, thirty years no less. I’ll let the winemakers tell the story of this blend of Palomino (87%) and Pedro Ximenez (13%): As soon as the Palomino grapes reach the winery they are gently pressed using pneumatic presses without crushing the stems, seeds or skins. This must from the first light pressing is called ‘yema’ and is the most elegant and delicate must. The Pedro Ximenez grapes are lightly pressed separately. After fermentation in stainless steel tanks and classification, the Palomino wine is fortified to 18%, the PX to 15.5%.
The wines then enter their own separate Soleras of American oak barrels to begin their aging in contact with the air. After an average of twelve years, the wines are blended and enter the Apostoles Solera where they will remain for a further 18 years following the traditional Solera system.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Sherry Baby. Sorry, I’m Late
Missed Sherry Week - didn't have the nerve to ask for one in Bordeaux - but made amends immediately on returning home by opening a bottle of Lustau’s Palo Cortado. Palo Cortado is one of the ten (at least) styles of sherry, coming midway in the range between light and dark, between Fino and Pedro Ximenez, "combining the delicate bouquet of an Amontillado with the body and palate of an Oloroso".
The Lustau Solera Reserva Palo Cortado Peninsula, to give it its full title, is a terrific example of the style. It has an ABV of 19 per cent (usually about 15 for a Fino) and its inviting bouquet is followed by rich nutty flavours.
I bought mine at Bradley’s, North Main Street. They sell it in a handy 37.5 cl sized bottle - you don't want your sherry hanging around too long. In the “olden” days, the Sherry bottle was kept from Christmas to Christmas. God knows, maybe the postman knows, what it tasted like after five years in the back of the cupboard! Sherry, presumably in good condition, has been described by Alexander Fleming (the discoverer of penicillin) as the best remedy against disease.
I’ve seen a recommendation, from those that know, that this style, once opened, should be kept tightly corked in the fridge for no more than 6 weeks. No excuse for keeping a 37.5 cl bottle that long though. Unlike other wines, the sherry bottle should be stored upright in order to reduce the surface of wine exposed to oxidation to a minimum.
And oxidation does kick in immediately, so don't put off finishing your bottle. Lots of appropriate moments to enjoy your Palo Cortado. Use it as an aperitif and other recommendations from the folks in Jerez (the only place in the world where Sherry is made) include using it with nuts, cured cheese, cold meats, tuna, game, and stewed meat. Ideal serving temperature is 12-14 degrees celsius.
Now, in which corner of the fridge did I leave that Lustau?