Sherry is an amazingly misunderstood wine category, usually thought of as sweet, cheap and drunk by little old ladies. It’s such a shame because good sherry is incredibly delicious, varied and complex. It’s been going through a bit of a renaissance lately among the “geeks” but it never seems to bridge to the mainstream. Fino sherry, the light and completely dry (no sweetness) category is especially misunderstood. Fino is what is drunk all over Spain, with a good chill on it, with tapas. It’s meant to be enjoyed just like white wine. Manzanilla refers to a Fino Sherry that exclusively comes from the seaside town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. It is light gold in the glass,very dry and has a briny, almost saline note. It also tends to have a distinctive almond note to it that is my favorite part. It is light and refreshing and works best as an aperitif, and pairs particularly well with almonds, olives, oysters, or any other light (and preferably salty) pre-dinner fare. It should be served well-chilled.
One of the nice things about sherry being unpopular is that it remains an amazing value. The process of making sherry is expensive and time consuming and really interesting (try this article). In fact, the process has a lot in common with Champagne (without the bubbles) and we pay $50+/bottle for that. The wine on offer today is $10.99. Open a cold bottle of Manzanilla with a bowl of Spanish green olives or Marcona almonds and enjoy one of the great wine pairings on the planet.
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