One of life’s great pleasures is to usher in the evening after a long, hot dusty day in the city with a cool refreshing glass of Fino sherry. It’s the perfect way to de-clutch the spinning wheels of a busy day.
I spent most of yesterday down on the River Thames on the Silver Sturgeon, surely the best boat in London. I was busy with client wine tastings in my role as drinks consultant for Jamie Oliver’s Fabulous Feasts – it’s his event catering business. It was a full day and we finished at 8pm on the deck talking about tapas with, of course, a lovely glass of sherry.
We were drinking Tio Pepe, a favourite of mine and the base for one of our new cocktails on board. If you’re not familiar with dry sherry, then it’s time to pop out and buy a bottle. As well as being delicious, it’s such a fun wine.
It’s beguiling too in that it smells one way and tastes another. The aroma is very warm and welcoming with notes of vanilla, even caramel and almond. The taste though is bracing, zesty and fresh, underpinned by those richer flavours hinted at on the nose. The result is one of the world’s driest wines that also has serious weight and texture. From no where else can you find such a world class wine on sale for £10.
It’s very versatile too, as a regular in my fridge door, I put it to many different uses. I’ve used it as a social lubricant when catching up with old friends. I’ve barbecued with it – it is perfect for that part of the evening when you’re trying to light the coals and also very good if you’ve got some sardines or mackerel soused in lime. I’ve used it in mixed drinks: in a Sherry Cobbler and in the Reform Cocktail that we’re listing on The Silver Sturgeon. It works perfectly with tapas, as you’d expect, but is also tremendous with Japanese food and fantastic with Mexican dishes, especially ceviche.
Best of all, it’s widely available: every supermarket stocks it as do many delis and local shops. I always serve and drink it from a white wine glass in a goodish-measure 100ml or so. In our house the bottles never survive very long, but because sherry is fortified, it will last for a couple of weeks after opening if kept re-corked and refrigerated.