Only vaguely familiar with Harvey’s Bristol Cream, I was skeptical of how our sherry tasting would turn out. My interest was piqued when Jen said that it was a wine that had a lot of enthusiastic fans and that restaurants have been adding sherry to wine lists, but I can’t say I was completely converted by the end of the evening. I probably had some preconceptions that it would all taste like raisins, but only one really had a raisin-y quality — the Lustau Pedro Ximénez, which was the sweetest sherry we tried. This Humpday definitely changed my general perception of sherry, so it was successful in that respect.
To me, tasting sherry is different than tasting wine. First off, swirling it in the glass doesn’t seem to do much beyond releasing the extra alcohol in the wine — after all, this is basically fortified hooch. In that sense it seemed like tasting spirits to me — you don’t swirl tequila because you’ll just get a big whiff of alcohol. The tasting part was strange, too — for me, each of the lighter sherries had a big almost grappa-like quality to them, followed by a finish of nuttiness and in one case (the Alvear Asuncion Oloroso Sherry) a distinct maple taste. It was fascinating, but so different than most wine, which to me tastes more balanced from beginning to end. Some of the sherries seemed to “settle down” on subsequent days, losing some of the grappa taste.
I spent a lot of time on the food, hoping that we’d get it right — sherry seemed like it would need more thought than, say, a steak and Cabernet required. The pairings were definitely interesting, and some of it was really good (not my doing — I just tried to follow different recommendations), but I still can’t see ordering a sherry with a main course. I’d of course try some more sherries — maybe we just didn’t get the right ones for me.Posted: October 25th, 2010 | Author: Scott | Filed under: The Humpday Tipples | Tags: Sherry