Know sherry? Our panel scores 5 dry bottlings

sherry-blind-tasting what the stars mean

By Sam Bygrave
Generously hosted by Rushcutters, Sydney
ruschcutters logo

Sherry: this is one of those drinks that the trade can really get into, but just doesn’t catch on in the mainstream marketplace.

I’m just fine with that: more sherry for the rest of us. But there is a sherry resurgence going on: overseas, the New York Times’ wine writer, Eric Asimov, has been writing more and more on sherry; the accomplished bartender, bar owner and booze scribe Derek Brown, from Washington DC, has added a new sherry bar to his stable called Mockingbird Hill — it’s web address tells you what it is all about:

We put on five dry sherries to taste: four manzanillas and one amontillado.


sherry blind tasting panel

As we do when we’re getting a little more vinous with our tasting, we asked our favourite somm to jump on board — Sarah Limacher from Sydney’s Keystone Group — and headed down to their latest restaurant, Rushcutters. We asked her what charaacteristics she looks for in dry sherry.

“I’d be looking for things like salted, roasted almonds, looking for a characteristic of sea salt, or an oyster shell character as well,” said Limacher.

“A lot of that character comes from the close proximity the sherry region has to a maritime climate. And the great thing about sherry is that they are beautiful with food, in particular cured meats, walnuts, that Spanish-style of tapas food as well.”

“Then as you get a little bit more complex we should be looking for things like dried seaweed, sometimes like a miso soup characteristic, a little saltiness, then you get that oxidative brown apple, pear, some times a banana character too — it depends what you’re drinking,” she said.

Click on the image below for a larger version.

sherry blind tasting notes

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