Like a lot of American wine lovers, Sherry is a personal blind spot. It’s not that I haven’t had good or great Sherry – in fact the only wine I have ever rated 100-points is a Sherry – it’s just the style is hard to get your head around. For starters, many Sherries are intentionally oxidized to create a unique beverage that takes some getting used to. But the main problem, as I previously blogged this afternoon, is that freshness is an issue. And, unfortunately, this is the situation we have tonight with my selection for Wine Blogging Wednesday 70.
Emilio Lustau is one of the better Sherry houses and is widely available here. In fact, it’s the only major producer that I have not yet tasted making it perfect for this month’s theme to taste Spanish wines we have not yet tried. To top off the trifecta, I can’t remember if I have ever tasted an Amontillado, a type of Sherry made in the same way as Fino but then oxidized either intentionally or due to the flor yeast dying in the barrel. These days most Amontillado is made by fortifying the Fino to 18% alcohol which kills the flor yeast and then aged for 6 or more years. The resulting wine is both dry and savory combining the best of the fresh and salty Fino with the nuttiness of oxidation and further reduction in the solera. But as I posted earlier, there is a shelf-life to Amontillado of up to 3 years past the bottling date.
Emilio Lustau, Sherry Dry Amontillado, “Los Arcos” Solera Reserva NV ($17) – Tawny-copper in color with aromas of orange peel, almond and raisons. Pecan and toffee flavors finishing dry with cocoa on the finish but a bit dried out and overly oxidized even for a Sherry. Seems like it’s best days are behind it but still interesting. Bottled May 17, 2007.
Thanks go out to Gabriella and Ryan Opaz from Catavino for hosting the revival of Wine Blogging Wednesday this month. And I will look to pick this very same wine up soon with a more recent bottling date to compare tasting note. Watch for the announcement of next month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday coming in the next couple weeks.