A brooding nose rich with dark chocolate, molasses, tar, mocha, dried fig, spice and coffee bean. Amazingly concentrated and thick, it’s superbly balanced, with evolving flavours of apricot jam, orange peel and fruit cake. Delicious and fantastically priced (18%).
£8 Sainsbury’s

LUSCIOUSLY SWEET Pedro Ximénez is one of the signature styles of Jerez – dark, rich and with intense and complex flavours. Since 2011, Sherry bodega Williams & Humbert has been making this Trophy winner for the premium Taste the Difference range stocked by UK retailer Sainsbury’s.

Founded in 1877 and still owned by the Medina family, Williams & Humbert is one of the region’s leading producers of Sherry and brandy in the region, producing a total of 48 million bottles a year.

The company owns 300 hectares of vineyards in some of the best locations around Jerez, the vast majority devoted to the Palomino Fino variety reserved for most Sherry styles. Just 5% of the vineyards grow Pedro Ximénez (PX) grapes, which make the sweetest wines of the region.

The PX grapes are hand-picked and left outside on straw mats in the Andalusian sunshine for about two weeks to dry out and shrivel, becoming raisin-like, concentrating all of the grape’s sugars and flavours.

Following a short fermentation in stainless steel, the wine is fortified at the desired sugar level, then matured in oak casks, using the Sherry region’s famed criadera and solera ageing systems, for a minimum of 12 years.

Williams & Humbert’s winemaker Paola Medina Sheldon produced just over 31,000 bottles of this wine for Sainsbury’s in 2014.

PHOTO 1

The vast Williams & Humbert ageing cellars in Jerez

Tasted against

KWV, Classic Collection Cape Tawny, Western Cape, South Africa NV • Morris, Black Label Liqueur Muscat, Rutherglen, Victoria, Australia NV • Offley, Late Bottled Vintage Port, Portugal 2010.

PAOLA MEDINA SHELDON-WINEMAKER

Winemaker Paola Medina Sheldon