As International Sherry Week draws to a close today, it is appropriate to end it with a couple of stunners from Spain.
I have such happy memories of my first visit to Spain which was my introduction to real sherry. Visiting the Sherry Bodegas in Jerez towards the end of harvest with grapes lying out in the sub on straw mats desiccating before going to the presses for the making of sweet sherry.
Lustau – their tag line is the best Sherry in the world – and they are not wrong, they are stunning wines. The wines are elegantly packaged as you can see from the illustrations in sloping shouldered bottles.
I first met Lustau Sherry some years ago through a fabulous product of theirs called East India Solera –a fabulous sweet sherry. Lustau’s philosophy has remained the same since its inception in 1896: the pursuit of the highest quality in order to offer the market the widest and finest range of sherry. In recent years, Lustau has been honoured and recognised with several awards; it was named “Best Spanish Producer” in 2011 at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in London. In 2012, it was the “winningest” winery in Spain and 7th worldwide.
Lustau oenologist, Manuel Lozano, has been named Best Fortified Winemaker of the Year five years in a row by the International Wine Challenge of London.
Their Cathedral-like wineries with vaulted ceilings and immaculate “albero” floors that stabilise the temperature and humidity to maintain the unique microclimate required by Sherries which are produced in each of the three cities entitled to name their wines Sherry, Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
Lustau Solera Reserva Amantillado Los Arcos is made from Palamino Fino grapes and is aged in American oak casks in the traditional Solera system in Lustau’s bodegas in Jerez de la Frontera. The wine undergoes maturation under “flor” in Lustau’s Criadera, or nursery, and then further maturation in the Solera.
It looks like: Pale amber in colour, gem bright. Elegant packaging.
It smells like: Roasted nuts with an undertow of oak.
It tastes like: Delicate in flavour, ‘dry’ raisins. A much fuller flavour than one anticipates, rounded, silken and a delicious ling lingering aftertaste.
It’s good with: Chilled makes a great aperitif. An excellent match with olives and salted almonds. Good with a hot consommé and thin slices of Iberico style ham and large green olives.
Lustau Solera Reserva Pedro Ximenez Muy Dulce [Very Sweet]
Also made in the Lustau Bodega in Jerez de la Frontera. The Pedro Ximenez grapes are laid on straw mats in the sun for several days to desiccate and concentrate the juice. Fermentation is stopped to keep the high natural sugar of the grapes. After fortification, the wine undergoes the traditional Criadrea and Solera maturation system.
It looks like: Rich dark mahogany coloured amber, almost green around the edges of the glass. Very viscous.
It smells like: Rich ripe sultanas and raisins, soft dried figs and mild roasted coffee beans.
It tastes like: Sweet, thick and unctuous. Rich full flavours of dusty fruit. Caramelly coffee.
It’s good with: Works well with desserts, and in winter with a steamed fruity pudding. Also good with a creamy blue cheese like the Simonzola. Post prandial pleasure too in front of a fire.
Roland Peens, Director of The Wine Cellar, a wine merchant in Cape Town, with a branch in Johannesburg, stocks the Lustau Sherries and a range of other imported well known wines. I am indebted to him for the gift of these two bottles. He is well worth cosying up to as the perfect wine merchant. Recently Roland has been joined by James Pietersen, a well known local wine judge, they have an exciting and unusual list of Cape Wines. The bank of knowledge they offer can only help you to choose the wines best suite to your palate. They also deliver to your home in the major areas.
CLICK HERE for more information about The Wine Cellar.
Coordinates: S 33.933551, E 18.469273