Let’s indulge in a little virtual wanderlust, pack our bags, open our liquid passports and head to the Sherry Triangle in southwestern Spain together. While we are at it, why don’t we pour a glass of Sherry, pair it with some Spanish olives and get ready for a unique Spanish wine adventure from the comfort of our homes?
Ever heard of “The Angel’s Share”? This is what they call the liquid that evaporates from Sherry barrels as they age in the cellar, making the Sherry Triangle even more mysterious and exciting to learn about. One more reason to add it to your travel bucket list.
We have all heard of Barcelona or Madrid, some of the most famous areas in Spain, but the Sherry Triangle is a unique and exciting region that most read about first. And that’s usually enough to peak one’s interest or even convince them to make the trip there! Sherry is one of the most diverse styles of wine in the world and can only come from a very small production area called the Marco de Jerez in the province of Cádiz. It is located between Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa María, forming this unique area known as the ‘Sherry Triangle’.
Molded by over 3000 years of historical circumstances, Sherry is an ancient drink that is making its way back on trend–or maybe never left–with wine lovers and mixologists alike. Sherry can drastically change in style and taste profile ranging from bone dry and fresh (just like a white wine), to full-bodied and tertiary… to sweet… and even sweeter; and it can be said that there is a Sherry for everyone and for every type of palate. It can pair with many types of foods as well!
Sherry is a fortified wine (meaning that grape spirit is added to the base wine). It is made from Spanish wine grapes like Palomino, Pedro Ximénez and Muscat of Alexandria and comes in dry and sweet styles. Fino, Manzanilla, Amontillado, Palo Cortado and Oloroso, are always dry but can range in style and flavour profile, going from easy, light, fresh and salty, to rich, robust and nutty with intense tertiary characteristics.
Sweeter profiles and styles of Sherry include Pale Cream, Medium and Cream. There are also the naturally sweet wines: Moscatel and Pedro Ximénez. These wines are rich, full and robust and are the style most people associate with Sherry. Pairing dry Sherry wines with salty and savoury items is the way to go, and the sweeter wines can be paired with sweeter dessert dishes and even stinky cheeses. Historically, these wines were likely the first to be loved by wine drinkers, with dryer sherries earning their lovability a little bit later.
When it comes to the production of sweet and dry Sherry, Fino, Manzanilla, Amontillado, Palo Cortado and Oloroso, liquids are placed in oak barrels to sit and age in what is called a solera system. Barrels are laid on their side, stacked one on top of the other in a physical triangle on the floor. They are continually refilled with the youngest wine on top and the oldest wine moves to the bottom. Over time the liquid is drawn from the bottom barrels to be bottled. This, therefore, means that Sherry does not declare a vintage liquid as many years/vintages are blended to create a certain taste profile – just like they do for scotch in Scotland.
Have a craving for something sweeter? Try Pale Cream, Medium and Cream Sherry. These styles start out as Fino, Amontillado or Oloroso and are sweetened with concentrated grape must. The lusciously sweet dessert style of juice is produced from the indigenous Spanish grapes called Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel and are sun-dried to concentrate their sugar levels. This way, the sugar is natural and delicious! Whether it’s an after-dinner treat or a night cap, these wines are great in cocktails, or as a sweet treat!
Sherry Wine from the Sherry Triangle really shines when you pair it with the food from the region. Think about Manzanilla olives with a dry Sherry – it’s like a match made in heaven. Don’t forget about Spanish jamón and other fantastic Spanish tapas and charcuteries. You can also experiment using various types of Sherry in unique and fun cocktails. Sherry can be served chilled like a white wine, over ice, neat, in a cocktail or even in your coffee, too!
So there you have it! In 10 minutes and a short little read, you’ve just flown to the south of Spain and learned about a historic wine region known as the “Sherry Triangle” as well as discovered what the “Angels Share” is and how easily a bit of wine can disappear! Now it’s time to use your newly found knowledge on a virtual Spanish wine tasting with your friends in these 5 easy steps below!
How To Put Together A Virtual Spanish Wine Tasting Party
Cheers with Cava
Start your virtual party with a bottle or mini bottle of sparkling Cava! There are many great bottles at the LCBO, including small, mini bottles for responsible consumption. Serve with small bites, appetizers, and Spanish-inspired tapas.
Entertain with an Exotic White
Whether it’s Rueda, Verdejo, Albariño, keep these white wines chilled and pair with a fun seafood appetizer. Serve with light fish dishes like scallops, shrimp, baked fish or salads.
Raise a Glass of Rosado
Yes, it’s time for Rosado – also known as Spanish Rosé – rosado has notes of strawberry and pink roses! Pair with charcuterie, shrimp and even pork terrine.
Time for Tinto
Open up a bottle of Tempranillo from a fabulous producer in Rioja for added fun and knowledge, and you can also dive into Spain’s Organic wines too! There are many to choose from. Pair with red meat on the grill, like a Porterhouse, sirloin or even pizza!
Sip on Sherry
Whether it’s sweet or dry, ending your meal off with a 1-ounce pour of Sherry is a fun and memorable way to end your tasting! Get creative with a cocktail or enjoy it neat in a rock’s glass.
National Wine Picks:
Williams & Humbert Dry Sack
Harveys Bristol Cream
Tio Pepe Extra Dry
Featured Image: @sherrywinesjerez