In the US, most Sherry that you can find is Lustau, so that the category is almost synonymous with this one producer. Lustau has some incredible bottlings, but much of their range is pretty standard stuff that fails to excite.
|The line up|
n the T-top cork. I remember enjoying it but the kitchy lock suggested more than anything in the bottle that this wasn't special stuff.
This past month, Sherry maven Peter Liem visited Portland and led a number of sessions around town about Sherry. Sadly I missed out on all of them but took it upon myself to try a flight of lovely Valdespino sherries that we have at the SE Wine Collective. These are all 100% Palomino grape wines with varying levels of fortification, as well as solera aging where older casks are topped with newer wines over time to preserve character year to year.
First, the Fino Inocente, full of flor character, flor being the film yeast that defines so much sherry. Casks of wine are intentionally left partially full, so that the flor grows thick in the wine surface, simultaneously affecting the wine and yet preserving it as a barrier to undesirable characters. Fino is bone dry wine, this one with a pale color and a pleasant nutty pear aroma. The flavors are clean, salty, with a finish like hard cheese, earthy and a bit fruity, crisp. 15% alcohol by volume.
Finally, the Palo Cortado Viejo Calle Ponce, richer still with a dark color from 8 years under flor and eight more years of standard barrel aging. Aromas of bananas and butter, not unlike a dessert wine. Intense flavors, rich but dry with more fresh nuts and lots of them, a warm finish from the fortification, very long. My only question is - when to drink something as intense as this? It's dry but like a dessert wine, so maybe with the right after meal pairing, or perhaps as an aperitif. For drinking, I prefer the Tio Diego, but this is obviously the class of the flight. 20%.
Later I bought a half bottle of Valdespino Oloroso Don Gonzalo VOS, that I'll enjoy soon and over time. One practical thing I love about sherry is that the wines are so stable in an open bottle, so there's no special rush to consume them quickly once opened, though a Fino to my taste is best as fresh as you can get it.