World Sherry Day 2013
I had big plans for World Sherry Day! I was going to meet up with friends in Jerez including good buddy and qualified Sherry Educator Annie Manson. Plans went adrift when I realised that I’d missed my train and that, being a Sunday, the next one would get me to Jerez far too late in the day. So damn. There I was thinking I’d be at home feeling all envious as I read all those tweets from Jerez and then I thought… hey, why don’t I create my own World Sherry Day event? And so off I went with friend/colleague/flatmate Peter (aka Seville Concierge) to discover the world of sherry in Sevilla.
First stop was Flores Jamones y Vinos for our starter course. I was happy to see the fabulous Catalina was working and she helped me select our wines while I chatted with master jamón cutter Federico about our snacks. First we had a half-ración of two types of jamón Ibérico de bellota, and a tapita of two types of cheese (from Zamora and Cádiz) with perfectly chilled La Ina fino from Bodegas Lustau. Next up was a serving of caña de lomo Ibérico paired with another fino, this time from Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla. I think this fino & jamón thing could become a serious habit.
Hoping to find some interesting pairings with traditional tapas we headed off to one of my favourite bars in the centre, family-run Bar Las Teresas. There we were in luck because it was just after the lunch rush and Rafael, who is usually busy manning the jamón cutting station, was available to chat and give us some suggestions. We started off with a “safe” choice to go with our bacalao frito – a nice Canasta from Bodegas Williams Humbert. But then Rafael asked if I’d ever tried palo cortado from Bodegas Tradición. I had to ‘fess up that I’d never tried any palo cortado (outside a sherry tasting, which doesn’t count) and so he poured me a glass. And BAM – I was transported to another level. Not only was this an elegant and complex wine, it also went perfectly with the fried cod (surprise!). By now Rafael was getting into educating me and suggested I order a meat tapa and he’d pour me something special. So we opted for a nicely grilled solomillo Ibérica and enjoyed that with Botaina Amontillado, another gorgeous wine from Bodegas Lustau.
Next up – dessert! And since THE place to go for dessert in Sevilla is Vineria San Telmo (with fab confections by Gollerías) that’s what we did. It turned out to be the perfect ending to a rather wonderful afternoon. First Vanna poured us a lovely creamSauci from Huelva but then we remembered that this was a generoso not a sherry (oops!) so we also had a Nectar PX from Bodegas Gonzalez-Byass. With a slice of creamy cheese cake and another of chocolate ambrosia with butter cream. Oh yes.
And thus ended my impromptu World Sherry Day event. What struck me most about this outing was that although I know all of these tapas bars very well it became clear that there is still a lot to discover at each of them, especially with regards to the world of sherry. Many thanks to everyone for sharing their knowledge and passion for these amazing wines. I realise now that this is the way to learn about sherry. Poco á poco, with friends and with a few tapas.