maandag 2 november 2020

Sherryweek 2020 : Tio Pepe

Two years ago I was invited at the González Byass bodega in Jerez to participate in #Sherrymaster2018, together with a group of wine-professionals. (Art1) (Art2)

During that week in the south of Spain we learned all the basics of sherry, while we could taste and experience it on the spot. We learned about the grapes in the middle of the vineyard, we learned about the casks in the dark warehouse. And we tasted lots of sherry, even straight from the Solera-casks.

This week is #sherryweek and since I was asked to share a few posts promoting this week, I’m trying to recollect some of the things I have learned during that unforgettable week in the sherry-region of Andalucía. This week I’ll be posting about delicious sherry wines, tasty cocktails made with a wide range of sherry wines, from the cork-dry Palomino Fino to the decadent and very sweet Pedro Ximénez. And last but not least I’ll also share a few great foodpairings. 

We will taste this beautiful range by González Byass : 

  • Tio Pepe Fino Dry
  • Cristina Medium Jerez-Xerez
  • Vina AB Amontillado
  • Alfonso Oloroso 
  • Solera 1847 Cream
  • Leonor Palo Cortado
  • Nectar Pedro Ximénez

Next to this ‘normal’ range we will also take a sip from these more exclusive beauty’s : 

  • Fino En Rama 2019
  • Fino Una Palma
  • Del Duque Amontillado VORS

We kick off #Sherryweek with a very easy aperitif, based on the flagship sherry of González Byass: Tio Pépe. This is the driest sherry in the normal range, made from 100% Palomino Fino grapes. Aged 4 to 5 years in American oak, following the traditional Solera system. For me this is the bottle that displays the most terroir. The grapes are grown on the typical Albarizo soil of Jerez, a white soil that contains 60% chalk, which is why it can hold moisture very well. I can still remember the white powder on our shoes after visiting the vineyards. Jerez has a warm micro climate and long hot summers with dry and hot winds blowing up from Africa. 

The grapes used for Tio Pepe are handpicked and transported to the production plant in small 15 Kg crates. Only the ‘first press’ of the grapes is used for Tio Pepe. Following fermentation to 11 to 12% alcohol, the wine is fortified to 15,5% alcohol. In the casks an empty space of 100 liters is always left for the yeast to grow it’s typical flor (a yeasty foam layer on top of the wine) and interact with the oxygen. This is what gives the sherry it’s unique nutty aroma and character. The wine remains “under the flor” for at least 4 years in a Solera system.  

There are two different production methods for sherry : Biological ageing and aging by oxidation. Biological aging means the flor will protect the sherry during maturation. “By oxidation” means we let the sherry interact with the oxygen, which normally would ruin the wine. In this controlled production method they let the wine age long enough so it develops into a new kind of balanced sherry. Oloroso is a good example of the oxidation method. But we start this series with Fino which is biologically aged sherry, protected by the flor layer during the entire process. It’s a taste you might need to get used to, because you really can’t compare it with anything else. Mixing it with tonic can lower the threshold.

All wines in this week’s series are produced by González Byass, one of the most important sherry producers in the world. Founded in 1835 and still in the hands of the González family. The head office is the bodega in Jerez de la Frontera, Andalusia. 

Pepe Tonic 

70 ml Tio Pepe (Fino sherry)
200 ml San Pelegrino Tonic
2 drops of Angostura bitters

Fill a longdrink with icecubes. Add the sherry and bitters. Top with tonic. Give it just one gentle stir. Garnish with lemon cuts. 

Fino sherry is a perfect aperitif. I think I like the smell of fino even more than the taste. It‘s also an excellent companion for tapas. Works very well with nuts, olives and Jamon Iberico. Can also be served with seafood, fish, sushi or sashimi. I have tried adding a little bit of fino to a raw oyster… Absolutely delicious.  

: All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations.

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