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Until recently, I viewed sherry as a warm, sickly sweet tipple that my mother cracked out at Christmas for the ladies from the local church! But I have now had my eyes opened to a whole new world after an evening at a hidden South London gem, Angels and Gypsies.
It is largely due to the rise in popularity of tapas restaurants that the sherry revolution is slowly gaining momentum. Gone are the days of the tapas chains serving uninspiring meat and cheese platters, soggy tortilla washed down with an average Rioja. London is teaming with exciting new sherry and tapas bars that are transforming our appreciation of Spanish gastronomy. The latest of these is Capote y Toros in South West London. The wine list boasts nearly 100 different Sherries with 49 of them served by the glass.
So what should you know about sherry? Interesting fact – sherry can only be made in Jerez because it relies on yeasts that are only found in this part of Spain. Sherry is not stable – it will oxidise and go off as quickly as wine. It’s also best served chilled – so that bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream that sat on you nan’s sideboard from one end of the year to the next was absolutely the worst way to treat it!
For your first foray into the wonderful world of sherry, try a Fino or Manzilloas an aperitif. They are dry, light and easy drinking. For desert you have the polar opposite, Pedro Ximenz (also known as PX if you can’t remember the name). Aptly desribed as “Christmas cake in a glass”; it is dark, syrupy and smells like raisins and marzipan. A fantastic alternative to a desert wine and is the perfect complement to sweet puddings (has to be a sticky toffee) and tastes great when drizzled over vanilla icecream.
So enjoy and experiment – there really is a sherry to match with anything!