Samantha Emily Evans,
On September 17th in St. Andrews Brewing Co. Tap House, I was fortunate enough to attend Luvian’s Sexy Sherry tasting for a tenner. As part of the Big Sherry Festival organized by the UK Sherry Institute, Luvians hosted a delightful evening with Javier Hidalgo of Bodegas Hidalgo-La Gitana, the six-generation family-owned sherry manufacturers. Javier was suave, charming, and funny, adding personal stories to each of the sherries.
Sherry is not a very popular drink, thus Luvians tried to amp up the sex appeal in their posters calling this night ‘Sexy Sherry’. Personally, sherry is my favourite. Ever since I was a toddler, my grandpa and I would drink sherry and eat crackers before dinner. He would pour himself a glass and a tiny thimble for me; we would sit on his bench in the garden, and he would tell me about life.
If you didn’t know, sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown near the town of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia, Spain. It can be served at any time. Javier recommended the Amontillado Seco Napoleón as a great first drink of the day: according to him, ‘Your day improves automatically.’
However, that evening, we didn’t start with the Amontillado. We started with the driest sherry, the Hidalgo Manzanilla La Gitana. It was paired with an old Basque recipe of roasted peppers, olives, and roasted and salted almonds.
Then we moved on to the Hidalgo Manzanilla Pasada Pastrana, paired with tomato and chickpeas with chorizo, and smoked nuts. This was followed by the Amontillado Seco Napoleón paired with local Anstruther Anster cheddar cheese with sundried tomatoes. These were both rather dry, pale sherries, with the Manzanilla being drier.
The meat of the night arrived with the Jerez Cortado Wellington. It was a braised, double-roasted pulled lamb, and it was divine. It worked perfectly with the Wellington. Javier explained that each of the names of the sherries had a personal story attached to them. He shared that they have one sherry called ‘the Napoleón’ and one called ‘the Wellington’ not randomly or because they wanted to name them after historical figures, but because when Britain was at war with France, they made a bottle for each side. They marketed the Napoleón to the French, and the Wellington to the British.
Then, as we moved sweeter and sweeter, we tasted the Alameda Oloroso Abocado paired with dried apricots, sultanas, and almonds. This one was my personal favourite, sweet but not too sweet. It was a cream sherry, which is the kind that my grandpa drinks. Javier said it is what the British drink because it is cold here, with the Spaniards preferring the dry sherries for their perfect, sunny days.
Our final tasting was the Pedro Ximenez Triana. It was a rich, thick sherry, which Javier’s friends have nicknamed ‘liquid Christmas Pudding’. It was absolutely delicious: when it was poured over Luvian’s finest vanilla ice cream, my taste buds were dancing! Archie McDiarmid, Luvians Bottleshop manager, recommends it as a quick, yet fantastic, dinner party dessert. Sadly, it does not have enough alcohol to set on fire, I asked.
Every month Luvians does a special tasting evening, and this one was truly special. I had a marvellous time, and there was so much food! Pop into the store or check online to see what great events they have coming up.
Samantha Emily Evans
Photos from Luvians Bottleshop and Samantha Emily Evans