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Wine and Chocolate: Sherry

Bruce Sanderson
Posted: November 11, 2002

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Emilio Lustau Sherry East India Solera NV
90 Points, $18
Technique: Solera

Sherry is made primarily from Palomino grapes grown around the Spanish towns of Jerez de la Frontera and, on the Atlantic coast, Sanlœcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa Maria. The best wines come from the chalky albariza soils, which create wines of finesse, with pungent mineral and apple flavors.

There are two principal types. Finos are light and dry, while olorosos, richer and nuttier, can be made in dry or sweet styles. Cream Sherries, generally made from olorosos, are very sweet. The sweetness in the best Sherries comes from dried Pedro Ximénez (PX) grapes; inferior Sherries use a sweetening agent made from grape-must and alcohol.

Lustau's East India Solera NV is a dry oloroso blended with Pedro Ximénez. The PX is dried for about 10 days after harvest. The two component wines are drawn from separate soleras, having aged for seven to nine years. After blending, the wine spends a further year aging in American oak to mellow, giving it rich coffee, caramel and grilled nut aromas and flavors with faint smoky overtones.

Also Recommended

Wine Score Price
PEDRO DOMECQ Pedro Ximénez Jerez Venerable NV 92 $80
Thick and rich, delivering complex fig, chocolate and caramel flavors on a structure and profile that never gets heavy or cloying. 715 cases made. -- B.S.
ANTONIO BARBADILLO Cream Jerez Eva NV 90 $12
A bittersweet chocolate note marks this sweet Sherry, which picks up a caramel accent midpalate. Balanced and long. 8,000 cases made. -- B.S.
ANTONIO BARBADILLO Moscatel Jerez Laura NV 90 $22
Aromas of dried flowers, grapes and figs, combining fruit, roasted nut and smoke components. 5,000 cases made. -- B.S.
BODEGAS DIOS BACO Cream Jerez NV 90 $20
Sweet, but creamy and focused, providing support for the smoky caramel and raisin notes. Finishes drier than it starts. 5,000 cases made. -- B.S.
GONZALEZ BYASS Pedro Ximénez Jerez Noe Solera Exclusiva NV 90 $23/375ml
Piercing and pungent, this supersweet Sherry is thick, evolving on the palate from raisin to caramel and coffee, with a nutty aftertaste. 500 cases imported. -- B.S.
VINICOLA HIDALGO Pedro Ximénez Jerez Viejo NV 90 $18
Delicious, combining fresh grape, floral and dried fig notes with a viscous texture, resulting in balance and harmony. 50 cases imported -- B.S.

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