Waitrose has unveiled its latest wines, including a remarkable range of sherries. Fortified wines (those, like sherry, with a little spirit added in the production) were included in a tasting event and southern Spain’s finest put on quite a show.
Most exciting are the three new sherries about to be added to Waitrose’s “On the QT” range of exclusive, limited-edition wines. Each comes from one barrel that’s been slumbering at the Gonzalez Byass bodega in Jerez and they are single vintage wines (unusual, in that sherry is normally made by fractional blending from many different years in the solera system).
As well as the one below, there’s the fresh, elegant and beautifully nutty, dry On the QT The Sherry Edition Barrel 7 2E 51 Oloroso 2011 (19%, £19.99 for 50cl), and the fresh-bready and orange-soused, also dry, On the QT The Sherry Edition Barrel 7 1E 51 Amontillado 2011 (16.5%, £19.99 for 50cl). Collectors’ items all, with 600 bottles of each available only from waitrosecellar.com, arriving in early November.
Other sherries, found in store as well, reflect the good value this style so often offers. I loved the own-label palo cortado below, as well as the golden, richly yeasty Hidalgo Pastrana Manzanilla Pasada (15%, £12.99 for 75cl) which is aged for longer than Hildago’s better-known La Gitana manzanilla and is more intensely savoury.
Next week is International Sherry Week (Nov 2-9). This year’s events will be virtual, but do check out sherry.wine/sherryweek for news of them, plus cocktail recipes galore, tips on matching sherry to food and much more.
On the QT The Sherry Edition Barrel 7 1E 63 Fino Anada 2010
Jerez, Spain (16.5%, waitrosecellar.com, £19.99 for 50cl)
Ten-year-old vintage fino, stored in oak casks under a layer of flor (surface coating of yeast). The result is a bone-dry, pale sherry with a lemony streak, hint of green olive and a saline dab. Drink chilled with salted almonds.
Waitrose & Partners No 1 Torre del Oro Palo Cortado
Lustau, Jerez, Spain (19%, Waitrose, £11.99 for 75cl)
This keenly priced amber-hued palo cortado is deeply aromatic with rich, lingering and ultimately dry flavours of walnuts, brazil nuts and light treacle. Try it with jamon iberico, extra mature cheddar or manchego cheeses.
Williams & Humbert As You Like It Amontillado Blend Sherry
Jerez, Spain (20.5%, Waitrose, £29.99 for 50cl)
A treat for those who prefer a medium-sweet sherry, this is from 27 butts that were untouched (indeed, forgotten) at the Williams & Humbert winery for over 30 years. It has emerged mellow and nutty with a rich seam of toffee.