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Most wine enthusiasts consider dry sherry an aperitif, and sweet sherry, either  for a refreshing drink between meals as a pick-me-up or after dinner. The reality happens to be completely different. Sherry is a versatile, and may be even more so than most other wines.

This happens to be the case because sherry is produced in a wide range of styles (from bone dry to deliriously sweet). Mild cuisine specialties such as sushi and sashimi, along with consommés, are excellent accompaniments to dry sherries. Roasted, lightly salted almonds go superbly with Manzanilla Sherries as do tapas of all sorts, popular in Spanish bars.

Sanlucar de Barrameda, the home of Manzanilla is located at the mouth of the Guadalqivir River. The sherries of this little lovely ton, particularly those of Zuleta and Lustau, enjoy a world-wide reputation
All sherries are created equal – bone dry and may be classified as fino or olorose.

Finos are served chilled and tend to be delicate. Manzanilla sherries are considered to be the most delicate of all finos. Amontillado sherries belong to the the fino classification. But are aged longer (minimum five years), and tend to be darker than average finos. They can be paired with semi-soft cheeses, and even pan-fried swordfish with capers.

Olorose sherries are dark and rich. Often nutty in taste, they are perceived to be sweet due to their high glycerine, a component of alcohol, Oloroso sherries go well with unsalted nuts, crème caramel and sweetish cheeses.

Cream sherries are oloroso sweetened with thickened grape juice, the most famous nrad of which is Harvey’s Bristol Cream. But manyt sherry shippers offer a bevy of cream sherries, one more flavourful than the other. Cream sherries are best with dry cookies; biscotti come to mind, or even ginger snaps. You can also enjoy a cream sherry between meals as a pick-me-up.

After a good meal, a glass of cream sherry in your hand may compel you to contemplate the beautifully maintained sherry vineyards extending for many kilometres on the chalky terrain of southwestern Spain. A trip to this part of the country will thrill you not only for its wines, but culture, architecture and richness of heritage.

Architecturally visiting bodegas (cellars) of sherry shippers will be thrilling enough without indulging in their superior quality wines. All sherry shippers tend to be very hospitable and offer well guided tours at the end of which participants are treated to several glasses of fine wines.

Here are some sherry and food matches;
Seared tuna, topped with mustard and miso vinegar
Maguro sashimi marinated in soy sauce and wasabi (Japanese     horseradish)

beef consommé
Beef broth vegetable soup roasted root vegetables perfumed with balsamic vinegar
Fish soup with dried bonito tuna flakes, scallops, tofu and soy sauce

Palo cortado ( a sherry between fino and oloroso. They are rare)
Seaweed with vinegar infused sesame sauce
Seviche of scallops, sole fillets, salmon and shrimp
Grilled squid in teriyaki sauce
Grilled beef rolled in enoki mushrooms

Cream sherry
Crème brulee Biscotti
Chocolate chip cookies
Here are some excellent sherries at very low prices
Medium Amontillado, Burdon
Elegante Cream Sherry, Gonzales Byass
Tio Pepe
Harvey’s Bristol Cream

Article contributed by Hrayr Berberoglu, a Professor Emeritus of Hospitality and Tourism Management specializing in Food and Beverage. Books by H. Berberoglu

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