(2019) A Manzanilla, made from the Palomino grape grown in Jerez, and aged in a solera system in the humid conditions around Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Tasted from a white wine glass, this pale yellow, 15% alcohol Sherry does have the distinctive iodine tang of briny sea air, as well as dry nut husk and apple notes. On the palate it is intense and oh so dry, but it is rich, again it is nuttiness that floods the palate here, with that fresh and vital salty acidity giving great length. Pound for pound in terms of world wine quality, these Sherries remain such a bargain. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas. Price and stockists below for half bottles. Full bottles in Waitrose and others, at around £11.00.
(2018) Juan Piñero was a new name in Sherry for me. Although the company was founded in 1992 in Sanlucar, with a second winery purchased in 2000, wines under its own brand were not released until 2013. This Fino has considerable age in the 'almacenista' style, the blend is around ten years old from a 400-barrel solera. Loads of developed flor aroma, more intense than many Finos, chalk, nutty Cox's pippin apples and a green tinge of fresh olive oil. Bone dry in the mouth, saline, with quite a limpid, slightly oily mouth-filling texture, lots of almond and green-fig and bitter flavours, salt and excellent acidity in the finish in a very superior and totally delicious style of Fino. Watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.
(2017) Manzanilla Pasada is dry Manzanilla Sherry from the Sanlucar seaside, aged longer than normal - in this case eight years - for the Manzanilla style. This is also 'En Rama', meaning it has been only very lightly filtered, a popular style of 'authentic' Sherry that is in vogue over the past few years. Lots of Sanlucar briney, salty aromas, nutty, bready, with a nice hint of wild herbs or chamomile flowers too. In the mouth absolutely bone dry - searingly dry - with the seaside tang so pronounced, a hint of walnut and warming toastiness, and a long, dry finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas. Price for a half bottle.
(2017) There have been several quite successful attempts recently to introduce a new generation of drinkers to the delights of fortified wine like Sherry, Port and Madeira. Here's a novel idea, where Croft have blended Fino Sherry with aromatic elements based on English spring water and cordials, introducing gentle fizz and notes of elderflower, mint and lemon. With only 5.5% alcohol it opens with a definite note of the Fino, nutty and saline, but also those hedgerow aromas that are very summery. In the mouth that dry Sherry nuttiness continues, a lovely underpinning to the delicate sparkle, sweeter flavours from the cordial, and plenty of citrus and mint freshness. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) The biggest production, but still only 20,000 bottles. Quite a deep colour from late harvest grapes, 21 days beyond the normal harvest. Fermented in barrel, but barrels filled little by little, 30 litres per day, into a 300 litre barrel. Aged on lees with battonage for six months. There is a Botrytis character, lightly earthy and a touch yeasty, a dry but vivid apple fruitiness. The palate bursts with a vivacious fruit but such a rich creamy texture too. The fruit really powers on, but very dry, a tang of salt and lemon into a long, taut finish. Dry with only 2 to 3g/l residual sugar.
(2017) Also late harvest, fermented in steel tanks then aged in old Oloroso American oak casks. Darker in colour, there's more toast and a hint of marmalade, real richness and a suggestion of more sweetness to come. Indeed the wine has just over 20g/l of residual sugar, the unfortified late harvest sweetness is there, in its way delicate and Kabinett style, but the darker notes, the palate weight, barrel and the higher alcohol add significant lusciousness and a touch of spice.
(2017) A white wine, but a burnished tawny colour after three weeks of sun drying on mats. Very low yields through that concentration. Skins are included in part of ferment, and it could potentially reach 17 abv, but part of must is fermented separately at lower abv. Four months in American oak. Lovely raisin and orange aromas, luscious with walnut and spice, clove-studded Seville orange. So easy to drink, unfortified, with a cherry freshness and red fruit brightness, but so much sweet syrup richness and sweetness, but retains that freshness. 350g/l sugar.
(2017) Also from dried grapes and unfortified, but from the ancient solera started in 1918. More oxidised and chocolaty, spicy with some burnt toast, some marmalade, but dark, with more bittersweet promise. There's a dustiness and earthy character, that fine spice and raciness. Price is also for a half bottle.
(2017) The Pedro Ximénez grapes (popularly shortened to 'PX') have been partially dried in the Jerez sun, so the wine is effectively made from raisins rather than freshly picked grapes. That makes it a dark and unctuous liquid, brimming with rum-soaked raisins, chocolate and coffee and walnut aromas, a lick of salt and zest of Seville orange. Very sweet with 400g/l of residual sugar, it is mouth-coating and beautifully balanced by its acidity, making it a great partner for your bitterest dark chocolate desserts. There are more profound examples, but it's very good indeed, well priced, and widely available too.
(2016) When is a Sherry not a Sherry? The answer is when the brilliant Equipo Navazos take a Manzanilla, don't fortify it, but instead make an intensely nutty and salty white wine. Unique stuff with lemon zestiness and fantastic, bone-dry clarity and alacrity.