Festival Season & New Sherries

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                                             March 2, 2012

The Festival of Jerez ignites this laid-back Andalucian city every February and March with its incredible flamenco festival. Jerez de la Frontera is a thriving center of flamenco.  Its storied local performers cram the theaters which inspires the artists on stage to give it everything they’ve got. Walk through the streets and you’ll hear palmas (clapping) , guitars and the rhythm of footwork from practice studios. Here is the best place in Spain to see flamenco performances by top dancers, singers and guitarists.    Ole!  

Jerez de la Frontera is of course, equally famous for its production of sherry.  I personally can’t imagine anything better than tasting sherry during the day and watching flamenco shows in the evening. Situated inland, Jerez produces heartier sherries with less brininess compared with those made on the coast.  Sherries made in the seaside towns of El Puerto de Santa Maria and Sanlucar de Barremeda have a lighter, more delicate flavor.   We received two new sherries from Jerez this week.  I suggest you stop in at The Spanish Table to pick up a bottle of sherry, then go to You Tube to enjoy the latest performances from Jerez de la Frontera.

elcanoJ.C. Gutiérrez Colosia Elcano Fino, El Puerto ($11.99/375 ml) Produced in El Puerto de Santa Maria from the Palomino grape and aged under a layer of yeast called flor, Elcano exhibits a rich, fresh nose with notes of bread, green olive and nutty hints.   This is dry, but not bone dry.

Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Fino, Jerez ($11.99/375 ml; $17.99/750 ml) also made from the Palomino grape and aged under flor, is the iconic fino brand in Spain and rightfully so. Very fresh, which is key to enjoying a fino or manzanilla. Blanched almonds, pungent notes of olive, salt and chalky notes come together perfectly. Serve this ice cold with some simple gambas a la plancha (grilledshrimp) or just simply cheese and olives. This is the perfect apertif

Dios Baco Amontillado, Jerez ($21.99/750 ml) is initally aged under flor like a fino. After about 4 years the flor dies off and the wine continues to age in the barrel,resulting in more richness and complexity.   Dios Baco is a small producer located in the heart of Jerez. Their amontillado is without a doubt one of the best values in Jerez and one of our top selling sherries. Silky, palate coating flavors of toasted nuts, orange zest, a touch of caramel and just a tiny touch of sweetness.

Bodegas El Maestro Oloroso, Jerez ($15.99/375 ml) Olorosos are more heavily fortified and aged without the use of flor. Maestro Sierra Oloroso is dark amber with intense flavors of roasted walnuts, butterscotch and figs. Rich on the front palate, it finishes dry.

Lustau East India Solera, Jerez ($12.99/375 ml; $24.99/750ml)   This is my pick for a sweet dessert sherry. A blend of Oloroso with PX, it has an average age of 14 years aging. Made in the style of the sherries that used to sail around the horn of Africa to the troops in India, it has hints of vanilla, dried fig and mocha. Lingering notes of crème caramel, orange and loads of Asian spice. Velvety, with a lingering finish, it is hard to stop at one glass.

candadoA.R. Valdespino El Candado PX, Jerez ($22.99/375 ml) PX sherries are made from Pedro Ximenez grapes that have been dried in the sun for two weeks after harvest.   “El Candado” means “the padlock” and indeed this sherry is so ambrosial that it comes with a padlock and key to deter one from drinking it all in one sitting! Fantastic nose filled with aromas of toffee, molasses, spice and brandied ripe raisins. The palate is a viscous treasure with its rich luscious texture and unctuous consistency. Mouthfilling flavours of spice, honey, toffee and dried fruit fill the mouth. Incredible length and perfect harmony with a clean finish and exceptionally long aftertaste of treacle, caramel, honey and raisins.

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