Thursday, 1 January 2009

Sherry - Try a Glass Today

It's a real shame that sherry seems to be criminally overlooked as a drink in Australia. I think part of the problem is that people consider it to be a bit of a nana's drink (apologies to all the nanas out there). But once you've tried a glass of good sherry, you'll realise what I'm on about.

The first time I tried a good sherry was, not surprisingly, in Spain. My friends in Madrid took me along to a sherry bar. I'd never been to a bar anything like this place. Against one wall were massive barrels of different types of sherries. The barmen would just pour glasses straight out of the barrels. They served the sherry with tiny slices of this salted, preserved fish. When you had a nibble of the salted fish and washed it down with a mouthful of dry sherry, it was a fantastic match. Anyway that night made me determined to hunt down good sherry in Australia.

At this time of the year, my favourite sherry is manzanilla. Manzanilla is a bone dry sherry, which is matured at the sea-side town of Sanlucar de Barrameda. As soon as a you taste a mouthful of manzanilla, you'll get whacked over the head by its distinctively tangy, almost salty, taste. Its tangy, dry flavour makes it an excellent match with oysters. After a few oysters and a glass of manzanilla, you'll have the flavours of the ocean dancing around your mouth. Manzanilla sherry should be drunk chilled, and you can pick up a decent bottle from Dan Murphys for about $15-$20. So next time you're munching away on some oysters, crack open a bottle of manzanilla as well - it's a great way to enjoy a summer lunch.

My other favourite type of sherry is pedro ximenez, but it's definitely a winter drink. Pedro ximenez (or PX) is a dark brown colour and has a luscious, thick texture. It tastes of caramel, honey, toffee and raisins. In winter I always have a bottle in the cupboard, which usually lasts only a week or two - it can be drunk by itself on a cold night, but is also a great match with chocolate desserts.

You can find both manzanilla and pedro ximenez sherries at good bottle shops across Brisbane. Try one out next time you're looking for something new to drink.

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