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Sherry's a wine for all seasons


     Here’s my rant about sherry from last week’s WLRN food & dining show:
     Poor sherry. It’s the most misunderstood, misused wine in the world.
     If you ever watch a British drawing room comedy, or the antics of Niles and Frasier Crane, you see them picking a bottle off the shelf and pouring it into a thimble-sized glass. Wrong and wrong.
     Sherry is wine; when it’s opened, you have to keep it in the refrigerator.
     And sherry has marvelous aromas; to properly swirl and sniff, you should pour it into a regular white wine glass.
But when you become familiar with sherry, it’s a marvelous drink. It comes in several styles, so it can be served as everything from an aperitif to a dinner wine to a dessert wine. Here are some of the tyles.

     · Fino sherry: The lightest, driest sherry, made from the palomino grape, with a delicate, nutty flavor. In Spain, it’s the standard aperitif wine.
     · Oloroso sherry: It’s fuller in body and richer, but still totally dry, with walnut flavors. A good wine with dinner. It’s especially good with lamb. Oh, I have some nice memories.
     · Sweet sherries: For these they take oloroso sherry and add various amounts of wine from the Pedro Ximinez grape, which is picked, then laid out on mats in the sun to turn almost into raisins, raising its sugar content. Examples are Harvey’s Bristol Cream, Croft’s Cream Sherry and Old East India Sherry. These are the sherries I would drink with cookies, fruit tarts and so on.
     · Super sweet sherries: The sweetest sherries are made from the Pedro Ximinez and/or Moscatel grapes, which are also picked, laid on straw mats in the sun, and dried almost into raisins to concentrate their sugars before fermenting. These are so thick and sweet their favorite use is to be poured over really top-quality vanilla ice cream. Fabulous.


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