Fino: The Consummate ProfessionalThe clock strikes five, and suddenly it’s drinks o’clock. Stepping outside the office, you see a range of upmarket bars between you and the train station. A little sharpener while you wait for the commuter service couldn’t hurt. Heck - invite your colleagues or business contacts along and it becomes a networking event. So at the bar, order a Fino sherry like Eléctrico Del Lagar. It has an Atacama desert level of dryness which no potential client could possibly scoff at, with a medley of savoury, salty flavours that conveys a very grown-up image. It goes excellently well with salted almonds or the olive and chorizo based tapas that upmarket bars always have on the menu.
Amontillado: The Weekend HikerStriding back home through the rolling hills, you forage a free range salad from the undergrowth, while collecting wild fungi for a wholesome soup. Your diet is as green as your hemp fibre socks. All those nutty, savoury flavours need an Amontillado, which has a salty, light, nutty taste that perfectly pairs with mushroom stew. Try Juan Piñero Amontillado VORS, which will match your savoury palate like a Sherpa guiding mountaineers up K2.
Oloroso: The Suburban SocialiteYou’ve got twelve guests coming for dinner at eight. The smell of rosemary and browning lamb fills the house, and because you want to encourage a good food mood, you’ve popped open a bottle of Olorosso. This is the classic sherry for lamb. It’s fuller bodied, with clove and nutty flavours, but it’s also got a raisiny, coffeeish side. Thank goodness you selected the Juan Piñero Oloroso VORS, which scored 94 points from Robert Parker - showing it’s a sherry that should go down very well with everyone.
Cream: The RaconteurWith a drink in one hand, you’ve got the room in the other. This is a sherry you could drink all night, as you sip and talk, quaff and joke, or refill as you remember another anecdote. Importantly, this sherry isn’t too dry. If it was, your pallette would grow tired, and if it was sweeter, you might not want too much of it. Instead, you can enjoy Marqués de Poley Cream’s raisiny notes for hours. It also has a hint of the quintessentially sherry-like mushroom and ‘umami’ flavours that go so well with hors d'oeuvres. In fact, you might want to score some points by explaining what ‘umami’ is - you interesting thing you.
PX: The Eternal RomanticStudies show sweet foods and drinks have a noticeable aphrodisiac effect. In fact, things sugary are so intertwined with romance that couples call each other honey, sweetheart, or, if you’re really hopelessly doolally with someone, cupcake. Well, PX sherry is as sweet as it gets. It’s a glorious, unabashed, sugary romp, with raisiny, toffeeish, liquorice flavours that taste like a sticky toffee pudding smoothie. Serve with a knickerbocker glory at the end of date night. Alvear Pedro Ximénez is an excellent example that comes from Montilla Moriles, which produces the very best PX sherry going.
Understanding Sherry in 6 Minuts: