Best-Value Sherry

March 29, 2011

$21

Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Fino Sherry

April is the month to thaw out the taste buds with a bottle of Tio Pepe. The retro style of this classic fino (the driest and palest of the traditional varieties of sherry)—a winner in our 2011 Wine Competition—packs a tangy, bracing, briny punch. A great aperitif all by itself, it’s also splendid when paired with food—and has no more alcohol than many a red wine. First thing first: get rid of any rinky-dink sherry glasses inherited from elderly aunts and serve very cold in a big glass with Serrano ham, cheese, chorizo, olives, and toasted almonds.

$20

Emilio Lustau East India Solera Sherry

Lustau’s East India Solera sherry, inspired by the boatloads of sherry barrels that sailed to India from Spain, neatly encapsulates the themes of this month’s Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival (namely that it’s fortified, Spanish, and unfamiliar). By blending Palomino Fino and sun-dried Pedro Ximénez grapes this sherry becomes deep amber in colour, like weak coffee; its flavour is toffee sweet but bursting with date, dried apricot, and raisin flavours, spiced with cinnamon and cloves. It’s beautiful slightly chilled with hard cheeses or desserts like crème caramel.

Red & White: Chris McFadden, Sommelier


Missed the Playhouse wine festival but keen to find out why sherry’s back in vogue? Discover this underrated wine’s extraordinary appeal at Gastown’s Salt Tasting Room and next-door pintxos bar Judas Goat Taberna. Chris McFadden is the man for these two rooms, and he wants nothing more than to convert you to sherry’s pleasures. A former actor, he’s enamoured of what he calls “this often misunderstood element of the wine world.” He’s got 17 sherries on the list—including the best of the LDB’s selection—and others to come, and he’s happy to pick a flight of three to match the charcuteries and cheeses Salt serves, or to recommend a glass of Manzanilla with manchego and olives or Amontillado with blue cheese and figs.

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