It’s that time of year when Gran brings out the sherry. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. I was invited to La Tasca recently in Covent Garden to taste their sherry matching menu. I’m a big fan of sherry and food matching already but I wanted to see what they had put together.
Manuel, our waiter, hails from Jerez, the home of sherry, and he explained that he would be guiding us through the basics of sherry. I think it’s great that La Tasca has staff who have sherry knowledge and are able to communicate this to the average consumer. Briefly, sherry is a fortified wine made from palomino and aged in the solera system.
Manuel brought out 5 different sherries for us to sample. Tio Pepe Fino Muy Seco, La Gitana Manzanilla, Pedro Ximenez Triana, Oloroso Faraon and Amontillado Napoleon. Manuel explained the different styles of sherry from the dry Fino muy seco to the very sweet and unctuous Pedro Ximenez. After that brief introduction, the food started arriving.
Amontillado was next, paired with cheese, olives and prawns. This sherry was slightly sweeter but still dry with a slightly caramel note to it. Sherry has great acidity which makes it an excellent wine to have with food.
The next sherry was the Oloroso and this one is probably my favourite, savoury and salty but with a sweet, caramel nose. Delicious with trad tapas and cheeses, a medium bodied wine, it’s a great all rounder.
We finished off with Pedro Ximenez which is a very sweet sherry made from it’s eponymous grape which is dried in the hot Spanish sun before being made into wine. Manuel recommended that we pour the sherry over vanilla ice cream which we did. PX is full of raisins, prunes and dates on the palate and incredibly sweet. However, with the vanilla ice-cream, it takes on a maple syrup flavour but it lighter and finishes off with raisin notes.
I like the fact that La Tasca is making an effort to educate it’s customers in the wonderful food matching abilities of sherry. For something a bit different, ask about doing your own sherry and food matching the next time your in La Tasca instead of a bottle of red wine.