Taste of Gold event (reviewed here), I decided to move onto the Harveys next door.
My top word-association impression of Harveys is Bristol Cream - a rather dated, branded sweetened sherry beloved of your nan that actually tastes rather nice - my parents have some at their house and I'm not averse to a quick nip after a good dinner.
These wines were, however, rather different beasts.
The wines were all dark sherries to a greater or lesser degree, no pale Fino or Manzanilla here. And whilst the lighter, paler styles are finally gaining in popularity, unsweetened darker sherries can still prove a challenge too far for many and therefore great value for the rest of us.
We started with a VORS Fine Old Amontillado - with a complex woody nose, it is well-structured and elegant with a distinct saltiness. It has won the Amontillado Trophy and would match well with either game or prunes and bacon.
Next came a style of sherry I have only recently tried, a Palo Cortado which starts life destined to be a Fino but loses its layer of flor and continues to age as an Oloroso. With even just 2% PX in the blend, it had a sweetness with aromas of toasted nuts, figs and, again, a distinct saltiness.
We then moved on to a Rich Old Oloroso with 10% PX added. Mahogany in colour with a complex nose, it was also delicious.
Finally, a 100% PX was dark and complex with all sorts of toasty and dried fruit aromas, yet balanced by a surprisingly fresh acidity which meant it was not too cloying at all.
All the wines here were very good, but the 100% PX was absolutely superb and at around £20 per bottle (50cl) is very good value.
Available from Waitrose, Booths, thedrinkshop.com
Waitrose - http://www.waitrosewine.com/
Booths - http://www.booths.co.uk/
thedrinkshop.com - http://www.thedrinkshop.com/