In defence of sherry: the Fino things in life

Long suffering from an image problem, sherry has seen a hipster renaissance in the last few years, with sherry bars like Sack popping up in London and the increased popularity of Spanish tapas restaurants such as Barrafina and Sabor. Why then is it still not being given the appreciation it deserves?

From complex, nutty and briny to sticky and sweet, there’s plenty of things to love about sherry. A few sips and you’re transported to the whitewashed mountain villages of Andalucía. Long a favourite with sommeliers and wine writers alike, what if we could get customers firmly behind sherry? With some creative serving suggestions and food pairings, there is a real opportunity, and with sales projections predicting strong growth of the category, there is no reason it shouldn’t be a firm favourite on your wine list.

Why is it so misunderstood?
Today, sherry is still trying to recover from a market that was dominated by sweeter and cheaper styles, wrestling with a ‘back-of-the-cupboard-Christmas-tipple’ reputation instead being a fashionable drink you’d enjoy in a cool Hackney bar. But it’s not only an image problem that sherry suffers with. One of the biggest obstacles the category faces is getting consumers to understand the different styles. A common misconception is that all styles of sherry are sweet, but there are some fantastic dry products out there! The breadth and quality of the options available now provide a real opportunity for consumers to be re-educated and to discover a sherry they like. The opportunity is there, with research by the IWSR projecting that sales of premium sherry will grow 18% from 2016-2022 as well as a new generation of wine drinkers who are willing to get stuck in and experiment.

More than just an aperitif
We know sherry is great on its own, but what else can you do with it? The possibilities are endless as sherry is surprisingly versatile, whether it’s in cocktails or paired with food. Fino and Manzanilla are perfect partners for seafood; try Manzanilla with sushi, the saltiness makes it a great match, complementing it in a similar way as soya sauce. Or for something a bit different, try a dry Oloroso as a fantastic accompaniment to game.

Shake it up!
With the increased popularity of craft cocktails, using sherry as an ingredient is a great way to boost the category and reintroduce it in a contemporary style.

Why not try…

Coronation Cocktail

Mix equal parts La Guita Manzanilla with Noilly Prat Dry. Add a dash of Luxardo Marschino, stir and serve in a chilled glass.
Or The Sherry Cobbler

Sherry in style, but not place
If you’re one for looking off the beaten track, look to Montilla for some interesting wines made in the sherry-style. While not part of the sherry triangle, this region is only a two-and-a-half-hour drive north east of Jerez and is the kingdom of Pedro Ximenez. Alvear are one of the top Bodegas in the area. Making anything from dry styles of Pedro Ximenez to Fino. But what truly sets them apart from the rest is their range of dry PX wines, a Bibendum favourite!

Some of our favourites
We’re big fans of Sherry at Bibendum, so here are some of our top picks to enjoy:

La Guita Manzanilla En Rama

Tabanco Dry Amontillado Jerez NV

Not quite sherry, still delicious

Alvear Fino C.B.

Marques de la Sierra Dry Pedro Ximenez Montilla-Moriles

Alvear Pedro Ximenez de Anada 2015

*Please drink responsibly

Have we whet your appetite for this Spanish staple?

Check out our sherry range here.

Growing up in a family restaurant, wine and food were always bound to be a passion for Tori. She found her love for wine while living in South Africa, making days trips to the plush wine farms of Stellenbosch for tastings. So after moving up the ladder in a leading London communications agency, she made the move to Bibendum to head up PR.

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