Sherry once ruled the table. Now it’s the Nowhere Man of the wine world. On a recent dinner at Current (see p. 100) my server Bobbi Koppel suggested I try a glass of sherry with my appetizer kumamotos. So I did and was surprised at the affinity. Current has a whole list of sherries prominently boxed off on its menu page. Over at BTG, where Bobbi’s husband Louis rules the roost, sherries (along with other latter-day wine oddballs like Madeira and port) have always been part of the very extensive list. I dropped in and tasted a flight of three, ranging in color from pale gold to deep caramel. Is sherry, the fortified wine formerly the favorite of “maiden aunts” (do those really exist outside tame British mystery stories?) making a comeback? I would say not. A glance at the sales numbers shows that sherry ranks about where Utah does in education spending.
But it should.
I’m not talking about sweet sherry, which is a whole ‘nother thing. It’s the dry ones that are more food friendly and there are several categories: fino, oloroso, amontillado (“For the love of god, Montresor!”) manzanillo, Palo Cortado. Sherry, like all wine, is a complicated subject, suitable for total nerd immersion. The name is an Anglicized version of the town where it’s made, Jerez, in Andalusia, Spain and the making of it involves fortification with brandy, a specific kind of yeast called flor and an aging system involving mixing different vintages in different casks in a specific order, called the solera system.
Never mind. You don’t need to know any of this until you’ve tried the sherry. Taste different types and ages and with different foods. Oysters were perfect but all the traditional Spanish tapas were meant to be eaten with sherry, which brings me to my favorite point: Sherry is a sipper, meant to be lingered over and savored. It’s perfect for a socially distant evening.
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