My sherry amour,
Lovely on a summer's day
- My Cherie Amour*, Stevie Wonder (1969)
At a summer garden party, a beer-drinking friend-of-a-friend observed that that every time we bump into each other socially, I seem to be drinking sherry.
Why sherry? he asked.
The obvious answer is of course: why not? But I felt something more considered was needed.
Establishing that he did not really want chapter-and-verse on sherry production, but simply a short list of reasons, I gave him this:
- sherry has very high acidity, so it is very refreshing
- it has no primary fruit flavours, so is highly versatile
- it is fortified to a higher alcohol level, so can stand up to foods
- it is aged for years in soleras so is complex, harmonious and mellow
For food matching, just go by the colour:
- paler sherries match with lighter foods, such as olives, bread and oil and manchego
- darker sherries match with roasted foods, such as roasted almonds, roast beef or roasted vegetables.
If you want to do the food matching properly, the mantra is:
- If it swims, Fino
- If it flies, Amontillado
- If it runs, serve Oloroso.
In my case, I had brought along a half-bottle of M&S VORS Oloroso. It had been marked down to under £2 at a local M&S branch so I had picked up as many as I could physically carry, stuffing them in coat and trouser pockets.
It is fresh enough for an aperitif, especially well-chilled, but comes into its own with some slightly charred barbecue foods, such as burgers.
At home, match it with a starter of roasted almonds and toasted ciabatta with olive oil, followed by a griddled steak.
Very Rare Dry Oloroso Sherry (£9, marked down to £1,79, 37.5cl, Marks & Spencer)
deep brown, with nuts, coffee, nutmeg, old leather roasted almonds and dried apple, apricot and prunes; charred cedarwood, toasted hazelnuts and exotic citrus peel with fresh acidity. Complex and adept.
*OK, possibly slightly misheard
Bottle shot courtesy of Erik Burgess.