Thursday, April 23, 2009

London, Sherry and More Sherry

I spent the day tasting wine at the Decanter World Wine Awards in London—not exactly grueling, as there were some good wines, but it's always tiring nevertheless to taste close to 100 wines in one day. Let's just say that the post-dégustation beer at the pub across the street was particularly satisfying.

Out with friends tonight, I drank sherry for the first time on this London trip. (Two whole days in London without sherry! Almost unthinkable.) Both the Fino and Antique Oloroso from Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla, now owned by Norwegian Jan Pettersen, were quite good, if not exactly my style. Very rich, it seems, which isn't necessarily what I'm looking for. But they were both highly satisfying.

Speaking of sherry, the Sherry Council of America just conducted an online chat with César Saldaña, Director General of the Consejo Regulador of Jerez. The first question posed was mine—I am quoting the transcript of that section:
Moderator: The first question comes from Peter in France. Peter asks, "Why is Sherry filtered so heavily? Equipo Navazos has proven with their La Bota wines the Sherry can be shipped even without a heavy filtration. So why don’t more companies offer en rama Sherries or try to filter less heavily?"

César Saldaña: The main reason why many houses tend to filter their Finos and Manzanillas is because they try to enlarge as much as possible the shelf life of the wine.

But you are right, Peter. Heavy filtering is something that improves the shelf life but also has an impact on the wine's intrinsic characteristics.

This is why more and more companies are offering "en rama" wines with very little filtering. Obviously, this requires a much better control of the distribution system so that the wine gets to the consumer within a much more limited shelf time.

OK, decent answer, especially considering that it's politically sensitive and that he has to be diplomatic about it. But this is curious: "This is why more and more companies are offering 'en rama' wines with very little filtering." Really? Other than Barbadillo, of course, do you know of any other bodegas that are currently offering en rama wines in commercial distribution?


Anonymous said...

Hey Peter, How bout a post. . ..

I'm getting bored.

also, I'll be in London next month. Any ideas on where to get some good sherry?

Being in the States its sooooo difficult.

Peter Liem said...

Hey Anonymous,

How bout leaving your name. I don't exist to alleviate the boredom of the random public.

kalimama said...

Hey Peter,
Up until recently (when we jumped over to the Equipo Navazos Fino) we poured the Fino en Rama by Málaga Virgen...

Christian Miller said...

Now you have me puzzled too. Sherry in general has high alcohol, is already oxidized and has pretty high acidity, right? So what are they afraid of, to insist on heavy filtration even in the dry wines? My guess with the Fino and Manzanilla would be that clarity and limpidity is what they think the market expects. I can also imagine that psychologically it boosts the perception of lightness and freshness. Otherwise I'm at a loss. And that wouldn't apply to Amontillado, Palo Cortado or Oloroso anyway.

Iuli said...


So you see my name now. . .I couldn't log into gmail the other day.

I'd still like some suggestions on where to get some good Sherry.

Thanks for the blog, I've been following your writing for quite some time.