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From the archive: Dry Sherry for summer – panel tasting results

Choose one of these dry Sherries to drink with olives, ibérico ham, caramelised nuts or seafood this summer...

Originally published in Decanter magazine's March 2014 issue and now available online in full, with tasting notes exclusively for Premium members

  • 71 wines tasted with seven rated Outstanding

  • The panel tasters were: Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW, Sarah Jane Evans MW & Nick Room

Depth of flavour (and colour) and the range of styles were undoubted highlights, though the en rama wines, while exciting, were uneven in quality and freshness, says Sarah Jane Evans MW

The results are excellent news for Jerez. They make clear what Sherry lovers have long known – that among the finos and manzanillas there are exceptional wines.

The first interesting feature of this tasting is depth of flavour. Until recently – and still on far too many wine lists and retail shelves – dry Sherries have been about watery pale colours, and wines that have had life and soul filtered out of them. Yet the top seven scorers in this tasting all have colour and character. Just look at the tasting notes.


Bodegas Hidalgo, Napoleón, Manzanilla Amontillada

This wine met all my expectations of a true amontillado. It’s the purity that marks this out; delicate yet concentrated, pungent yet very fine. There’s such a lot going on in this glass – truly bone dry, toffee and roasted nuts with underlying saltiness that makes it uniquely manzanilla. 95

Lustau, Papirusa, Manzanilla

Lustau’s position as a premium Sherry producer continues and this manzanilla was a fabulous example. Stylish, perfectly integrated, with wonderful balance; fresh, layered, superbly textured, and very long on the finish with a fine apple and fresh-baked bread flavour. 95

Valdespino, Deliciosa, Manzanilla

It’s often remarked that Grupo Estévez has respected Miguel Valdespino’s style when the latter sold his stock on retirement to this much larger company. So hats off again to Estévez – this wine exemplifies Miguel’s searing style. In my notes I said this wine makes an enthusiastic ‘statement for Sherry’; yes, it does. 95

Sherry: the facts

Production zone 10,000ha
Production (2013) more than 80 million kg
Ageing zone Jerez, El Puerto and Sanlúcar only
Bodegas 64 exporters, plus 30 or so who do not export, including almacenistas (wholesalers)

Top scoring dry Sherry from the panel tasting


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