(2021) A deep burnished gold in colour, this is 100% Palomino, the average of the wines in the blend being 17 years. Truly fabulous nose, toast and butter, walnuts and Demerrera sugar, a suggestion of Seville orange too. Equally aluring on the palate, the wine has a real softness, a lanolin touch to that nuttiness, and an endlessly long finish with mineral and citrus acidity teasing out the walnut and caramel of the mid palate.
(2021) Pedro Ximénez, or 'PX' grapes are used to make this style: the darkest, stickiest, sweetest and richest of Sherries. The fully-ripe grapes are dried to increase their concentration, which results in a wine that pours mahogany brown, with raisin, chocolate and dried Chinese plum spiciness on the nose, and an engine-oil thick texture in the mouth. Flooded with sweet, plump dried fruits, a lovely edge of coffee and walnut, and just the right zesty orange and lemon acidity, balances the finish. At £12.95 for a full 75cl bottle this is a bargain, for sipping after dinner or matching to rich chocolate or Christmassy-style puddings. Watch the video for more infortmation and food-matching ideas.
(2020) This is a Manzanilla 'Pasada', so a slightly darker, older style of wine and a little nuttier than a typical Manzanilla. This is also 'en Rama', so bottled unfiltered, basically straight from the cask. It has a light- to medium gold colour and arresting nose of chamomile, shellac, walnut and bruised apple fruit. There's a liniment-like pungency. On the palate it is dry, but richly-textured, with walnut and nutty Cox's pippin fruit, a hint of orange too, and a delicious saline and citrus finish. This would be a terrific festive aperitif with olives or nuts perhaps.
(2019) Not much information on the Piñero website about this bottling with its bright golden colour, but it comes from a solera with an average age of around 20 to 25 years. Lovely nose, the complex oxidative notes do not dominate but add a lovely walnutty richness, a touch of caramel and cappuccino, olive too in a layered set of aromatics. In the mouth very dry, though not as uncompromisingly dry as the Fino for example, the long ageing having smoothed the framework into a nutty, Seville orange marmalade richness, though still cut by lemon and salt mineral acidity.
(2019) From the seaside vineyards of Sanlucar, again eight to ten years old on average from a Solera composed of around 10 stages. Lighter aromatically than the Fino, more floral and less marked by the flor, almond and candied peel, elegant and briney. In the mouth dazzling freshness and bite, there is a little bread dough softness in there, but it is a dry, concentrated style, a note of verjus, with a tang of bittersweet orange peel and very good length.
(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.