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Winner Details

Sherry


High quality, as usual, but the equally traditional paucity of entries meant that this year our Gold List looked rather unbalanced

 

Sherry is, as they say in the fashion world, having a bit of a moment. And for once it’s not one driven by journalistic wishful thinking either. Real people are genuinely starting to realise that there might be something in Andalusia’s famous fortified worth exploring.

Sherry is, as they say in the fashion world, having a bit of a moment. And for once it’s not one driven by journalistic wishful thinking either. Real people are genuinely starting to realise that there might be something in Andalusia’s famous fortified worth exploring.

So this, surely, would be the year when we were bombarded with fascinating efforts from tiny cellars in southern Spain.

Well, no… as usual the sherry entry was piffling. Better than last year, but still nowhere near where it should be – particularly given that the drink’s salvation supposedly lies in convincing sommeliers (and therefore the public) that it belongs in the country’s restaurants.

And they’ll need some convincing, too.

‘There are some great and great value wines here, but they are still difficult to sell,’ warned Matthew Cocks of Cubitt House. ‘With the right person, and the right wine, you can sell sherry to the customer, but it is hard work.’

It’s not, frankly, likely to be made any easier by having nothing cheaper on the Gold List than £11.85 ex-VAT for a 50cl bottle, and stalwarts such as Tío Pepe and Hidalgo can probably count themselves unfortunate to have topped out at Silver Medal stage. 

Was it only two years ago that Andaz’s Joris Beijn was talking about ‘lots of good wines around the £5 mark…’? Dear reader, I believe it was.

One judge wryly remarked that we should rename this the ‘Fernando de Castilla’ section, and while two Golds was one less than it managed last year, this superlative producer remains a beacon of excellence – albeit a pricey one. Even blind, the wines stood out for their depth and complexity.

‘The nutty, superb character of the [Antique Palo Cortado] offers fantastic drinking for great value,’ said team leader Simon Woods. ‘It needs to be on the list. And the sommelier simply needs to work harder to sell these wines!’

And perhaps, we humbly suggest, the suppliers need to work harder to send ’em in in the first place…


FOOTNOTE: while prices shown on the winning tasting notes relate to the size of bottle available, prices are normalised for 75cl for judging purposes.


‘You have to put wines like [the Fernando de Castilla Palo Cortado] on by the glass and work a bit harder to sell them. But a small number of people really get the wine style once they’ve tried it and will come back for more.’ XXXX XXXX