As the summer continues to occasionally feel as hot as Spain, I have an urge to chill some dry Spanish sherry, make some gazpacho, and eat some tapas. Sherries, to be called sherries, must come from Spain, down in the south-west corner, in the region known as Jerez. Sherry is an Anglicization of the name, Jerez. And while Sherries are relatively inexpensive considering the quality, their neighbour next door, in the region known as Montilla, makes them even cheaper. While the quality is not quite as high as the wines from Jerez, the Montilla fortified wines are still worth trying and delicous in their own right!
Last weekend, I chilled an Alvear Fino Montilla. This is a bone dry sherry....fino, Spanish for finest, the driest and palest of the fortified wines in Spain. Most Spaniards drink this type rather than the sweeter dessert wines,because fino is so versatile with food, the Spanish love to eat and drink, and the British old ladies need the dessert sherries. Served chilled, the Alvear is meant to be enjoyed with the tapas appetizers, bite sized snacks with serrano ham, manchego cheese, garlic prawns, stuffed olives, marinated red pimentos, tinned tuna...in other words with a real variety of food.
The Alvear has a bouquet of the salty ocean, along with hints of toasted almonds. The flavour is complex, dry fruit, nuts, green olives. When I sip the fino along with the chilled gazpacho soup, the flavour takes on more of the stuffed green olive personality...its wonderful how a wine will develop a new flavour profile when eaten with food. There is the tanginess that one gets when you dive into the ocean after a hot day at the beach and a savoury finish that lasts till sunset!
Alvear Fino Montilla, Spain, Mighty Fine Fino, Dry Fortified White
Spain, $14.99, 14%, Highly Recommended