I must admit to being beguiled by sherry as a child when my father used to go and collect his KWV quota each year, he always bought Sherry. My brother and I used to go and look at the Sherry Bodega with its barrels all piled up one on top of the other having no idea then about the magic taking place in those barrels. The barrel systems are known as the Criadera [the nursery] and the Solera, the tower of ageing barrels. After lying under the flor yeast, the wines are then used for topping up the barrels at the top as sherry is drawn from the lowest barrels, and then topped with up the next row etc, and creating a gap in the top layer for the fresh new wine. For this reason, Sherry never has a vintage as it is blended with many years of top ups.
Sherry making is a fine art and the only wines named thus have, by the Law of Origin and Appellation, to come from Jerez de la Frontera and the sherry producing triangle which lies to its west. Sherry is an English corruption of Jerez. The J pronounced like a hard gutteral G and the Z with the Castilian lisp which untrue legend has it King Ferdinand spoke. He supposedly spoke with a lisp so the courtiers and down the line lisped as well in deference. The drink is magical, and I believe is becoming more popular, and so it should be. Chilled, it is just delicious in a glass – I prefer using a large wine glass as I find the little so-called sherry glasses are too small and it gives you the opportunity to swirl the glass and pick up the wonderful nutty aromas, and those of the fruit used, and the oak and its concomitant spices.
The Douglas Green Sherries are available in three different types, a Medium Dry, a Pale Cream and a Cream. The Douglas Green Medium Dry Sherry is produced from the Palomino grape. Amber in colour and gem bright, there are oaky aromas and raisin fruit. Perfect balance. It is ‘discreetly’ sweet though really medium dry. Do serve it chilled, we keep a bottle in the fridge at home. Delicious as an aperitif or with cue cheese at the end of a menu.
Also made from the Palomino Grape, the Douglas Green Pale Cream Sherry is a pale gold straw in the glass. Flowers and nuts on the soft nose and a rich mouthful ending in a lengthy dry finish. The mid palate is generous and baked apples and tropical fruits abound. Again, serve it chilled. It is great with soup, like a mild curried butternut soup served either hot or cold. Perfect with a richly textured French Country Terrine.
The Douglas Green Cream Sherry is produced from both the Palomino and Pedro Ximénez grapes. Rich, amber like in the glass. The aromas are of a dark Karoo honey and a fynbos herbaceousness, smoke and soft sun-dried fruits. Opulent, round and smooth in the mouth with a subtle sweet ending. An excellent food Sherry which goes well with food, and cake at afternoon tea. This is the sherry we were given as children, a tiny glass at supper.
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