The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2012

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 28 of 132

WHAT WE'RE DRINKING Make Mine Raw T by Deborah Parker Wong apas bars and modern cocktail culture are doing wonders for sherry, a category of fortified Spanish wines that runs the gamut from bone dry to lusciously sweet. Sherry is gaining a new lease on life as bartenders use it to add complexity and flavor to their creations and a new generation of cocktail enthusiasts adds sherry to their growing arsenal of ingredients. Having studied with educators from the Jerez D.O. and as a member of the Secret Sherry Society, a fan club formed by the Sherry Council of America, I'm in good company among hundreds of professed sherry fanatics—sommeliers, bartenders, chefs, restaurateurs, journalists, producers—as an advocate of a product that not long ago seemed in very real jeopardy of becoming extinct. It wasn't until I met in San Francisco with Felipe González-Gordon, President of González Byass—one of the largest producers of sherry and brandy de Jerez in Spain and a company that has wineries in Rioja, Somontano, Castilla and Cádiz—that I learned sherry isn't stuck in a time warp. For starters, González- Gordon is well suited as the new "face" of sherry, not only as a much-needed contemporary point of reference for both the wine and spirits industries, but also as a category expert who is in step with global trends. Felipe González-Gordon, President of González Byass. González Byass is among the first producers to offer new, high-quality styles of sherry that include "raw," barrel select and vintage bottlings. The com- pany marked its 175th year in 2010 and, to celebrate, bottled a fino sherry en rama, or raw, without the protection of cold stablization or clarification. The resulting small lot of Tío Pepe Fino en Rama is slightly cloudy with fresh, bright flavors and is a hit in the U.K., where sherry is undergoing a renaissance known as the "sherry bar phenomenon." Tío Pepe Fino en Rama is also headed stateside, arriving in mid-June through San Francisco Wine Exchange. "We are bringing it in on a pre- sell basis to selected accounts and already have several commitments in different metropolitan areas," says González-Gordon. "Fino en rama has a three-month window for consumption," notes González-Gordon, who likes to pair fino with egg dishes that can be dif- ficult with wine. Tío Pepe en Rama is released in the spring, reminding me of Nigori saké, while a series of older amontillado-based en rama wines, the Palmas range, are released in the fall. Given England's long love affair with sherry, it seems fitting that sherry-themed bars and restaurants designed to cater to younger audiences are now being widely adopted there. I can't help but wonder whether the trend will eventually cross the pond, giving American sherry enthusiasts the opportunity to experi- ence new styles and more of our old favorites. 28 / the tasting panel / may 2012 Tío Pepe en Rama is González Byass's "raw" sherry. DISCOVERING SEASONAL SHERRIES PHOTO: DEBORAH PARKER WONG

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - May 2012