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A Spot of Sherry

Febbraio 2008
Apprezzatissimo dagli inglesi da più di 500 anni, un po’ meno conosciuto in Italia, lo sherry viene prodotto in Spagna, per la precisione a Jerez, in Andalusia. Un vino pregiato straordinario che merita di essere riscoperto. Ve lo presentiamo.

di Derek Workman

File audio:

Sherry
Sherry
Jane Ward
Jane Ward

Speaker: Justin Ratcliffe (Standard British accent)

Sherry has been one of England’s favourite drinks, ever since that day in 1587 when Sir Francis Drake raided the port of Cadiz and stole 3,000 barrels of the stuff. Sherry has, of course, always been produced in Spain, where several companies have British names. The drink specifically comes from the area around Jerez de la Frontera in Andalucia and the town’s original name, Xerez, explains the origin of the word “sherry.”
Jane Ward is export manager for Bodegas Lustau in Jerez. As she explains, sherry was always considered a drink for formal occasions, but in recent years it has become “cool” and “sexy”:

Jane Ward (Standard British accent):

Sherry is not one wine, it’s a whole spectrum of wines, from very dry to very sweet. It can combine with all kinds of foods. That versatility is very important to sherry and that makes it attractive with gastronomy. Chefs and sommeliers is the UK, and perhaps in the USA as well – well, a lot of countries – are becoming more and more interested in the... matching of styles of sherry with different foods, so I think that’s where the “sexy” bit comes in.

THE AGEING PROCESS

Sherry begins life like any other wine, as the juice of the grape, but there are two main differences between it and table wine:

Jane Ward:

One of the main differences between table wines and sherries are that sherry is a fortified wine, as is port, as is madeira, for example, and that means the addition of extra alcohol, but perhaps the biggest difference, aside from the alcohol content, is the ageing process. Table wines we can find on the market at enormous prices, which have probably only aged in stainless steel. Sherry, however, is aged in wood for many, many years.

DRY, SWEET OR MEDIUM?

Just as table wines vary in colours and flavours, and can be enjoyed with different foods, so can sherry. The dry “fino” sherries can be served chilled with sea food, while a medium sherry, like an amontillado, goes well with nuts, cheeses and even foie gras. And last, but not least, a sweet sherry, like Pedro Ximenez, is perfect for dessert:

Jane Ward:

That is really rich, very, very rich, and very viscous, and… apart from sweet it’s velvety, almost, in the mouth. Now, that can go with chocolate desserts, a wonderful combination with chocolate desserts, or maybe with a crème brulé, and you could have it as dessert on its own.


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Glossary

raided - fece razzia.

barrels - barili.

stuff - roba.

a whole spectrum - un’intera gamma.

juice of the grape - succo dell’uva.

table wine - vino da tavola.

ageing process - processo di invecchiamento.

aged in stainless steel - invecchiati in (recipienti di) acciaio inossidabile.

chilled - ghiacciato.

sea food - frutti di mare.

velvety - vellutato.