Matusalem 30-Year-Old Oloroso Gonzalez Byass
If it's now fair to say that pale fino sherry is cool again, then it's time for the darker styles to take a step forward into the limelight.
Whilst fino sherry is aged in under a layer of flor to keep out the air and maintain freshness, darker styles of sherry are aged oxidatively - allowing the sherry to come into contact with air and so take on aromas of roasted nuts and spice.
The resulting bitterness is often sweetened with the addition of some PX - intensely dark and sweet sherry with aromas of raisins and dried figs.
This Matusalem is a blend of oloroso with 25% sweet PX, aged for 30 years in casks.
A dark mahogany with complex, fragrant roasted nuts, sweet spices, fruitcake, figs a touch of polish and sweet vanilla; long and savoury with fresh acidity and a long finish.
Complex and perfectly balanced with bitterness, umami, acidity and sweetness, it is accomplished and a complete dessert in its own right.
However, in the interest of research, I try it with savoury Fudge's blue stilton melts and some sweet Waitrose mince pies to see which is the better match.
The biscuits seem to emphasise the savoury umami, whilst the mince pies bring out the cooked fruitcake and spice - both work well, so I call it an honourable draw.
I can't help feeling that an aged, hand-crafted wine such as this deserves something a little more special, so if you have the time, I recommend matching it with a home-made crunchy cheese bite - creamed blue cheese between slices of roasted, sweetened filo pastry
Matusalem, Gonzalez Byass. 37.5cl - £19.19 Ocado, Waitrose, Tesco, Majestic
Waitrose Christmas 8 Mini Mince Pie Selection. - £2.40 (on promotion) Waitrose, Ocado
Intense & Tangy Stilton Melts, Thomas.J.Fudge’s. - £2.50 Waitrose, Ocado
The Matusalem is also available at Cambridge Wine Merchants, priced at £18.99.
All provided for review.
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Gonzalez Byass - website