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  #1  
Old 01-22-2006, 01:16 AM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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What's a good sherry...

...and how much should I expect to spend for it? A recent episode of Frazier has made me curious about sherry. I don't know anything about it and am reluctant to just go out and buy the first one I see as I won't know how to judge it. Any recommendations?
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  #2  
Old 01-22-2006, 06:47 AM
hawthorne hawthorne is offline
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Well, it looks like everyone else is too ashamed to admit they drink sherry.

Broadly speaking there are three types. It is quite possible you will like one type and dislike another.

Pale/ dry sherries are good as a pre dinner drink or with tapas, particularly seafoood and ham. Fino and manzanilla are almost clear liquids. They are very dry, sometimes even a bit salty. I like this sort best - I have a half-size bottle of La Guita Manzanilla in the fridge at the moment. It is light and delicious.

The next sort is rather brown in colour and is the most common. Most people wouldn't keep the in the fridge. At the dry end there is amontillado (sp?), oloruso is sweeter. I'm not too keen on these and the cheap ones taste like cough medicine. Harvey's Bristol Cream is thought to be good at the latter end, Dry Sack at the former.

The third sort is Pedro Ximenez. It's dark and weird and is a good match with stinky cheese, nuts and other after dinner things.

I dunno how popular sherry is where you are, but here it ranges in price from $2 a litre to $30 a bottle. I paid A$10 for my half bottle. I've never been disappointed by anything from the actual region (Sherry= Xeres= Jerez, Spain) Note that - as for port - some English sounding brands are the genuine article.
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Old 01-22-2006, 12:39 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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Cool! I love sherry! For general information, visit here.

I like a chilled glass or two before dinner, and nearly always opt for a Manzanilla rather than a Fino (I enjoyed my visit to San Lucar de Barrameda -- Manzanilla town -- more than the time I spent in Jerez de la Frontera, where all the other sherries come from).

I've bought Manzanillas in NYC between $5.99 and $20 a bottle....I think the best I've had here is made by Osbourne. It fetches $6.99, so it's also a great buy.

Incidentally, hawthorne, you spelled "Amontillado" right, but the heavier sherry is "Oloroso."
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Old 01-22-2006, 12:43 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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And this is a pretty terrific book on sherry history. Out of print, but fairly easy to find online.
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  #5  
Old 01-22-2006, 08:42 PM
Shalmanese Shalmanese is offline
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This is an excellent article on sherry and will, hopefully, point you in the right direction.
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  #6  
Old 01-22-2006, 10:07 PM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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That was just what I needed to know. I think the amontillado, the oroloso, and possibly the Harvey's Bristol Cream are what I would most enjoy. Thanks for the info and the links, guys.
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  #7  
Old 01-22-2006, 10:19 PM
roger thornhill roger thornhill is offline
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Starvers, good to see you back. I thought perhaps you'd quaffed one bottle of meths too many and had slipped, Gitane in hand, out of your garret onto the cobbled street below.

Sherry's pretty damned cool. Bristol Cream is a bit sweet for a "non-sensitive" artist like you (I have you down more as a Hemingway than a Wilde), but the medium or dry (amontillado) was made - by the Brits in Spain - to fill that awkward gap before English Sunday lunches with relatives you didn't now and didn't much like. You know (complete with Woody Allen style subtitles]:

"Very warm for the time of year." [Who the fuck are you?]
"Yes, isn't it?" [When are you going to die so I can inherit my money?]
(Looking over your shoulder) "Splendid sherry, no?" [Right, I'm off to talk to someone more interesting]
"Indeed." [I've poisoned yours]

The amontillado gets extra points for being served in these dinky little fluted - more like hour-glass - glasses. Americans should know that you're not actually meant to knock it back in one, but the average Brit would probably put it down to your being American and forward, and be trying to bed you for the rest of the afternoon. (Given that Sunday is the gardener's day off.)
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Old 01-22-2006, 10:32 PM
Waterman Waterman is offline
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Lustau produces a very wide range of excellent sherries that are available in many wine stores. The one that I liked the best is their Amontillado Jerez Almacenista Gonzalez Obregon, which retails for about $24 a bottle. They also have a very good Pedro Ximenez San Emilio Solera Reserva for about $16 a bottle. Alvear also makes many different sherries ranging in price from the inexpensive to greater than $80 (which for sherrry is pretty expensive).

As a somewhat related sidenote I would like to put my $0.02 in for solera style sherry vinegar which can be just as enticing as balsamic vinegar in terms of complexity of taste.

I use sherry as an excellent deglazing liquid in cooking which adds a very distinct, and unexpected taste, to many dishes.

Now if you really want to delve into the subject of obscure and neglected fortified wines then perhaps we could start on thread on Madeira. Talk about overlooked!
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  #9  
Old 01-22-2006, 10:43 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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The best sherry is, of course, Amontillado. And I happen to have a fine cask of it here! If you'll just follow me down this long, dark basement tunnel . . .
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  #10  
Old 01-22-2006, 11:18 PM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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I'm very blessed, it appears, and while I can usually discern the difference between a bad wine and a good one, there really doesn't seem to be -- or at least I haven't encountered it -- a variety of wine that I don't like. Sweet, dry, red, white, fortified, non-fortified...it doesn't seem to matter: there are notes, flavors and sensations to be enjoyed with each. I'm the same about art; basically, if it's good I like it.

One of the advantages of not being a snob, I guess.
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  #11  
Old 01-22-2006, 11:24 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterman
Now if you really want to delve into the subject of obscure and neglected fortified wines then perhaps we could start on thread on Madeira. Talk about overlooked!
Hah! Now that I have! Of course, I've never had it to drink...the wife uses it to cook with. She has a mushroom with Madiera recipe that is just divoon.
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  #12  
Old 01-22-2006, 11:50 PM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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Ah, yes...Madeira! Brings to mind an old Limelighters' song...

Have some Madeira, my dear?
You'll find it quite better than beer...

She awoke the next morning with a headache at both ends,
and a terrible ringing in her ear...
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  #13  
Old 01-23-2006, 12:44 AM
roger thornhill roger thornhill is offline
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Wasn't it a Flanders and Swann number originally?

'Have some madeira, M'dear
You really have nothing to fear
I'm not trying to tempt you, that wouldn't be right
You shouldn't drink spirits at this time of night
Have some madeira, M'dear
It's very much nicer than beer
I don't care for sherry, one cannot drink stout
and port is a wine I can well do without
It's simply a case of Chacun son gout
Have some madeira, M'dear!'

('Gout' to rhyme with 'out' not, a la Francais, 'poo', of course.)

More here
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  #14  
Old 01-23-2006, 01:34 AM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roger thornhill
Wasn't it a Flanders and Swann number originally?
I believe it was, though I never knew it prior to Googling for the Limelighters' lyrics a short time ago. My only exposure to the song was the Limelighters' version from approx. 44 years ago. My parents were playing cards one night with some friends, and the album belonged to one of the two couples my parents were playing with. My thirteen-year-old self found it quite amusing.

Another amusing thing happened that night also - well, amusing for all but the husband of one of the other couples. This couple lived across the street from the home where the card game was taking place and the wife - a very vivacious, attractive and flirtatious woman - was trying to entice her husband to come home to bed. Hubby wanted to continue the evening and suggested that she go home without him. She replied in a plaintive/naughty way (which was completely over my innocent head at the time) that if she went home alone she wouldn't have anybody to go to bed with. I was plenty tired myself by this time, and so I said that I'd go to bed with her. Needless to say, this was met with much hilarity on everyone's part. Everyone, that is, except for her husband who, it turned out, was quite jealous and thought that I knew damn well what I was saying and just sat there, glaring at me. Oh, well...no matter: she thought it was adorable, took my face in her hands and gave me sweet kiss, and this time managed to drag her recalcitrant husband back home.

My father later enlightened me as to the nature of my faux pas.
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  #15  
Old 01-23-2006, 01:46 AM
roger thornhill roger thornhill is offline
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Something not quite right here, Starvers. You knew this woman was flirtatious, you found her strangely attractive, and yet, and YET, you feigned innocence when she said she'd take you up on your offer of a quickie. She then drives her tongue down your throat in front of the assembled company, and off you go for a threeway.

What really gave the game away, incidentally, was the fact that no self-respecting boy brought up in the Eisenhower era would know what a faux pas was.
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Old 01-23-2006, 02:04 AM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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Damn, damn, damn!...I never can get one past you! You have instantaneously devined the true nature of that encounter, which was indeed my initiation into the delights of the flesh...and my subsequent lifelong interest in attractive, vivacious women!

And btw, I hadn't a clue about 'faux pas' at that tender age; it was only after attaining a sophisticated and worldy adulthood -- i.e., two or three years ago -- that I became both knowledgeable of such words and willing to use them.

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Old 01-23-2006, 01:07 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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I dig the Poe references above.

I knew a guy who quaffed Dry Sack sherry now and again. Is it regarded as any good, by purists?
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Old 01-23-2006, 01:10 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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And now that I think of it, "Monty Python" had a skit about an Anglican priest with quite a taste for sherry, to the point where he plans to have a huge underground storage tank of sherry built under the vicarage. A sherry distributor visits him and is delighted to take yet another order from him: "Glad to help, Vicar. You're our biggest customer, after North America."
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Old 01-23-2006, 01:40 PM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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Old 01-23-2006, 07:41 PM
roger thornhill roger thornhill is offline
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The American connection to the produce of Jerez is closer than you might think. My initial exposure to the amber liquid was through a TV commercial in the late 60s starring a very fat fellow imbibing in front of an oaken cask. It was only later that I discovered that this "Orson Welles", dressed a la mode in cape as I recall (it was the 60s), had - "had had" is perhaps more accurate at this stage of his decline - another career.
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