Monday, 23 May 2011.
A thoroughly enjoyable sherry masterclass led by the ebullient Antonio Flores, head winemaker at Tio Pepe, clearly someone who loves his sherry. Held at Cambridge Wine Merchants, Cherry Hinton.
Prices are retail by the bottle at Cambridge Wine.
Tio Pepe Fino 'En Rama'
A very limited release Fino sherry by Tio Pepe; unfiltered, unclarified, taken from casks in the middle of spring when the flor layer is thickest. Fino sherry at its most 'natural' state; really captures the essence and freshness of Fino sherry.
On the nose, theres a really fresh salty and brine notes, plenty of flor characteristics; green almonds and nuts; very attractive nose, intense. Palate carries through the intensity and saltiness, some pith, lots of nuttiness, its almost crunchy; filling on the mouthfeel but is still incredibly refreshing, vibrant and mouthwatering. Fino sherry on steroids - everything is there and magnified. Unique and brilliant - can't recommend it enough.
Tio Pepe Palomino Fino Muy Seco
This is Tio Pepe's basic Fino sherry thats available all year around.
Good flor tones, refreshing, clean palate. Well made, sustained mouthfeel; palate is dry, but not overly so, a perfect tapas wine. Tasting note very similar to the 'En Rama' but not as intense, probably the consequence of the cold stabilisation.
Gonzalez Byass 'Vina AB' Palomino Amontilllado Seco
Fatter, more salty tones; still nutty, roasted almonds (as opposed to green almonds). Palate somehow feels a bit sweeter, mouthfeel just more filling, bigger and does lasts longer.
Gonzalez Byass 'Del Duque' Amontilllado Viejo
£19 (375ml). A-
Basically the Vina AB but aged for 30 years.
Colour is deep amber, copper. Moving towards a madeira like nose, oxidative; woody, oak, sweet cedar and spices, varnish; very lifted, does smell sweetish. On the palate theres more pith and bitterness, still fresh acidity; mouthfeel a bit heavier, plenty of tertiary flavours, intense. The aging just intensifies the flavours.
Gonzalez Byass 'Leonor' Palo Cortado
Fortified to 18%, so no flor during its development, which means more exposure to air, hence the more oxidative style and colour.
Unusually for a dry sherry, there are some dried fruits, dried apricots; plenty of varnish, high tones, acetaldehyde; still some nutty characters. Palate is noticably rounder, fresh, good acid, nice oxidative characters. Roundness is the key, some glycerine.
Gonzalez Byass 'Apostoles' Palo Cortado Viejo
£19 (375ml). A-
A Palo Cortado like above but with 10% Pedro Ximenez added in, hence slightly sweeter.
Colour is deep copper, burnt amber. Nose has more forward dried fruit raisiny notes, definitely smells sweeter; lacquer, wood varnish; dried figs and dates. Palate a lot more rounded, supposed to be 40 g/l of residual sugar but really doesn't feel it. That bit of sugar makes it so much more drinkable - I think this can be wonderful with cheese and nuts at the end of a meal.