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Winner Details

Sherry


2017 Gold: 6 Silver: 4 Bronze: 3 Commended: 5
2016 Gold: 2 Silver: 3 Bronze: 0 Commended: 2

The past few years we’ve grumbled – with some justification – about the lack of entries in the Sommelier Wine Awards from Andalucia. This year was far better – and the medal count went up significantly as a result.

It wasn’t just a numbers game, though; there were some great wines here – and  our tasters could see a real use for all of them. Even PX.

With a range of Golds covering manzanilla, amontillado, palo cortado and PX, this was – by some distance – the most balanced and stimulating sherry selection we’ve managed since SWA started 11 years ago.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘There were quite a few older examples of fino here. It shows that if you want to serve the flor styles of sherry, you don’t have to go to manzanilla pasada to get something with character. They’re shockingly good value.’ Sarah Jane Evans MW, team leader

‘The oloroso flight contained my wine of the day – it absolutely blew my socks off! The sad thing is that it’s a blinking hard sell. It’s got to be by the glass.’ Tim McLaughlin Green, Sommelier’s Choice

‘I have sherries on my list and they sell quite a lot – especially fino and manzanilla. I push the other styles with food pairings. The quality is amazing for the money,’ Christopher Delalonde MS, Bleeding Heart Group

‘I list four different sherries by the glass: fino, manzanilla, oloroso and a PX. There is a fashion now for drinking fino and manzanilla as an aperitif – a fashion which is now visible outside London…’ Marcin Oziebly, The Wild Rabbit

‘I found a sherry here that would be perfect with the bread-and-butter pudding on our menu.’ Tony Denis, Mosimann’s

 

FOOTNOTE: While prices shown on these pages relate to the size of bottle on sale, for judging purposes, prices were given for the 75cl equivalent volume.

Award winners

Found 18 wines

Sherry

Fernando de Castilla, Antique Palo Cortado NV, Jerez, Spain

Gold medal winner

The first of two Golds this year for Fernando de Castilla, this was ‘topaz-brown with an old golden tinge, with plums, honey, cooked apples, nuts and spices on the nose’, began Bleeding Heart Group’s Christopher Delalonde MS, impressed with its ‘complex palate of wet leather and stone, cooking spices, dried nuts and dried flowers, ginger and darker spice notes, with beautiful and vivid acid structure, all superbly knitted and poised, through to a long and savoury finish’. ‘Great balance and style, and full of umami character,’ added team leader Angela Reddin. £24.59/50cl

£24.59 Size: 50cl Boutinot

Fernando de Castilla, Antique, Pedro Ximénez NV, Jerez, Spain

Gold medal winner

Fernando de Castilla chalked up a second Gold, this time for its Pedro Ximénez. ‘Coffee and chocolate characters with dates and mixed nuts, this is sweet and complex, and sticky with a long finish and great mouthfeel,’ said Neil Tabraham of Paris House. Team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW described this as ‘toasted, leafy and salty, with a silky, dense and powerful palate, with thrilling freshness’, while Bleeding Heart Group’s Christopher Delalonde MS liked its ‘peat and tar notes on the nose, with honey, orange peel, ginger and molasses’. £21.78/50cl

£21.87 Size: 50cl Boutinot

Bodegas Fundador, Harveys, VORS, Very Old Amontillado NV, Jerez, Spain

Gold medal winner

Tony Denis of Mosimann’s was very taken with this Gold medal amontillado’s ‘nutty flavours, spirituous perfume, sweet preserved fruit notes and complexity on the nose, followed by a palate that’s beautiful throughout, showing fig, grilled hazelnuts and a splendid finish with dark chocolate richness’, adding: ‘Honest sherry for a reasonable price, this will be ideal for both young or expert palates.’ Bleeding Heart Group’s Christopher Delalonde MS also noted some ‘savoury notes of smoke and leather, as well as a salty, tangy mid-palate’, while team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW was impressed by ‘a powerful nose and a towering grip on the palate, softened by orange and caramel notes’. £20.37/50cl

£20.37 Size: 50cl Whyte & Mackay Limited

Bodegas Yuste, Aurora, Manzanilla NV, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain

Gold medal winner

Mattin Larraburu of Sexy Fish found this superb Gold winner to have an ‘aromatic nose of classic oxidative notes, with bright, fresh and riper fruit notes and great complexity’, followed by ‘good freshness all the way on a dense and rich palate, showing quince and beeswax notes’, with team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW summing up: ‘Clean, pure, racy, mineral, pungent and long.’ £9.99/50cl

£9.99 Size: 50cl Top Selection Ltd

Bodegas Yuste, La Kika, Manzanilla Pasada En Rama NV, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain

Gold medal winner

Snapping up a well-deserved second Gold for Bodegas Yuste in the category, this was ‘really focused, with a great mouthfeel’, began Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte, impressed with its ‘green apple, brioche and almond complexity with fresh lemon notes and beautifully balanced length’. ‘Very dry, with a lifted, saline character and a herbal note, with fresh acidity overall,’ added team leader Sam Caporn MW. £16.04/37.5cl

£16.04 Size: 37.5cl Top Selection Ltd

Valdespino, El Candido, Pedro Ximénez NV, Jerez, Spain

Gold medal winner

Valdespino’s PX was lavished with praise by our judges, who awarded it Gold in the process. Tim McLaughlin-Green of Sommelier’s Choice found it ‘extremely rich, with prunes and caramel figs’, while Neil Tabraham of Paris House highlighted ‘dark chocolate, dried figs and coffee bean intensity’. Team leader Simon Woods felt it was ‘big and syrupy, with notes of treacle toffee, cough sweets and slight hints of wintergreen mint, with great length on the palate’. £15.05/75cl

£15.16 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

Delgado Zuleta, Goya XL, Manzanilla En Rama NV, Jerez, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Lean and refined, elegant on the nose with balsamic notes,’ began team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW, who found ‘fine stony minerals and roasted almonds on a long and limpid palate’. ‘Lots of bruised white fruit, very salty with green olive and almond skin notes,’ agreed Andrés Ituarte of Coq d’Argent. £11.25/50cl

£11.25 Size: 50cl C&D Wines, Ultracomida Trading

Fernando de Castilla, Fino En Rama NV, Jerez, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘High concentration in aromas of roasted nuts with dried mango and apricots, a very savoury attack on the palate, which is bone dry, full-bodied fresh and very long,’ said Cristian Sanchez of Hotel du Vin Cambridge. ‘Big, rich and very expressive, with complexity on the nose,’ added Mattin Larraburu of Sexy Fish. £6.46/37.5cl

£6.46 Size: 37.5cl Boutinot

Bodegas Fundador, Harveys, Very Old Oloroso Blend, Medium NV, Jerez, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Roasted, nutty, oxidised character on the nose, followed by baked apple and roasted nuts, pronounced freshening acidity and a long and complex finish,’ said Neil Tabraham of Paris House, while team leader Simon Woods enjoyed its ‘magnificent, deep, dark aromas, great depth and heady style’. £20.37/50cl

£20.37 Size: 50cl Whyte & Mackay Limited

Valdespino, Inocente, Single Vineyard Fino NV, Jerez, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘A more aged style, pungent, with definite notes of flor on the nose and palate,’ began team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW, while Mattin Larraburu of Sexy Fish praised its ‘very good-quality aromas, oxidative notes and fresh, bright fruit with lots of almonds, bone-dry style with nice bitterness and great length’. £12.65/75cl

£12.74 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

Bodegas Fundador, Harveys, Pedro Ximénez NV, Jerez, Spain

Bronze medal winner

Taken with its ‘deep brown, almost black colour’, Tim McLaughlin-Green of Sommelier’s Choice enjoyed its ‘super-concentrated prunes and figs on the palate, and a surprisingly lifted, spirity finish’, adding that it was ‘generous without being over the top, and could be very good with salty cheeses’. £17.40/50cl

£17.40 Size: 50cl Whyte & Mackay Limited

Grupo Caballero, La Ina, Fino NV, Jerez, Spain

Bronze medal winner

‘Big, yeasty attack on the palate,’ began Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte, who enjoyed its ‘richer, fatter style, with notes of bruised apple, lemon drops and salted almonds’, with Cristian Sanchez of Hotel du Vin Cambridge highlighting ‘light citrus and roasted nuts, savoury in style but fresh on the finish’. £10.21/75cl

£10.21 Size: 75cl Bibendum

B Rodriguez La-Cave, Goyesco, Amontillado NV, Jerez, Spain

Bronze medal winner

In this complex and unusual style, Neil Tabraham of Paris House noted ‘walnuts and baked apple, touches of sugared almond, citrus, big acid and bready yeast, and mixed dried fruits on an oxidised finish with relatively dry oak’, while Tim McLaughlin-Green of Sommelier’s Choice picked up ‘light orange peel aromas and refreshing notes hints of flor, spirity character on the mid-palate and a very dry finish’. £8.95/75cl

£8.95 Size: 75cl Berkmann Wine Cellars

Bodegas Fundador, Harveys, Bristol Cream NV, Jerez, Spain

Commended medal winner

£8.26 Size: 75cl Whyte & Mackay Limited

Bodegas Fundador, Harveys, Signature 12 Year Old NV, Jerez, Spain

Commended medal winner

£10.35 Size: 50cl Whyte & Mackay Limited

Bodegas Yuste, Aurora, Amontillado NV, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain

Commended medal winner

£12.23 Size: 50cl Top Selection Ltd

B Rodriguez La-Cave, Barbiana, Manzanilla NV, Jerez, Spain

Commended medal winner

£4.77 Size: 37.5cl Berkmann Wine Cellars

El Maestro Sierra, Fino NV, Jerez, Spain

Commended medal winner

£7.50 Size: 37.5cl Indigo Wine

 

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