Thursday, September 21st at Solano Cellars
5-8pm (7:45 last call)
*Reservations not required
If your only reference points for sherry come from Edgar Allan Poe and the dusty bottle in the back of your pantry that you pull out twice a year for the odd recipe or two, it's time to level up (and throw away that old bottle).
Sherry has, over the years, been blighted by a series of woeful misconceptions: that it's always sweet (it's not), that it's musty and low-quality (again, throw away the cooking sherry), that the task of sipping on a glass is something only the gnarled palate of your great-great-grandparents could endure (your great-great-grandparents have good taste). In reality, Sherry represents a spectrum of flavors, derived almost entirely on the Palomino grape. From the time that production was first documented, way back in the Moorish period in Jerez, Andalusia, wines ranged from dry, light, and floral to dark, dense, and intensely sweet. By the 16th century, Sherry was considered the world's finest wine (for some context: when Magellan sailed the world in 1519, his Sherry budget far exceeded his weapons budget).
The magic element that allows for that spectrum? The presence (or absence) of Flor, the film of natural yeast that develops over Sherry as it ages and protects it from oxygen. Andalusia sits right above the intersection of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean sea, and the plentiful indigenous yeasts begin to form flor almost immediately after a non-topped up wine finishes its initial stage of fermentation ('topped up' refers to a barrel that's been filled all the way up; in this case, a space is left at the top of the barrel to leave room for the development of flor or for an oxidative environment). A Sherry that ages entirely under flor is light, salty, and very dry, with distinctive residual flavors of fresh bread and biscuit dough. Sherry that sees no flor at all and is instead aged with exposure to oxygen is richer, nuttier, and can range from completely dry to intensely sweet and concentrated. And sherry that ages partially under flor and partially in an oxidative environment? Well, you'll just have to taste it to understand.
On Thursday, we'll taste the full spectrum of Sherry - from dry, unfortified Palomino from both Jerez and California, to wines finished in Sherry barrels, to a range of Sherry that showcases the effect of flor. Eric Quilty from Merchants of Thirst will be in house to pour 6 wines and geek out about all things Saccharomyces cerevisiae. (Pro tip: sherry is the ultimate pairing for cheese and seafood. Don't miss the opportunity to try it with a cheese & charcuterie plate and some tinned fish!)
Flight of 6 wines for $25 ($15 Club Members)
Weekly Wine Bar Hours: Wed-Sat 4-8pm