O’Briens recently introduced some great wines from two exciting Sherry producers. Both are family-owned with a long and noble history. More importantly, both produce some great wines.

Bodegas Barón was founded in 1895 by Manuel Barón Fernández. His wife’s family had been involved in the sherry business for ten generations, so they could claim to be amongst the oldest producers in the region. Today the company is owned by José Rodriguez Jiménez and his two sons. Based in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, they specialise in Manzanilla.

Once a large successful Sherry producer, Bodega Cayetano del Pino & Cia, like many bodegas, went through a difficult period in the late 20th century, as world consumption fell, and the market became dominated by mass-produced poor quality wines. The family-owned bodega has recently re-emerged and developed a reputation as one of the leading producers of Palo Cortado Sherry.

VOS stands for Very Old Sherry and signifies that the wines are at least twenty years old. All of the wines below are bone dry. I am indebted to the excellent website for much of the background information above.

Hats off to O’Briens for sourcing these fascinating wines. If you enjoy Sherry, all are definitely worth a try.

Xixarito Manzanilla Pasada en Rama Bodegas Barón
€24.95 from O’Briens.

Yeasty aromas, fresh and saline with green apples, green olives (including the brine), and almonds. It has a lightly toasty note, with a delicious freshness and crisp dry finish. Enjoy this chilled with jamón ibérico, toasted almonds and other simple tapas.

Xixarito Oloroso Bodegas Barón
€29.95 from O’Briens.

This has light mahogany polish, toffee and caramel, toasted walnuts and a tangy freshness. It finishes bone dry. This is fine but doesn’t quite reach the heights of the other wines below, but then it is quite a bit cheaper.

Amontillado VOS Bodegas Cayetano del Pino & Cia
€39.95 for a 50cl bottle

A beautiful wine with real elegance and depth; there is a refreshing acidity alongside toasted almonds, wood polish and burnt orange peel. The finish lingers very nicely. The flavours are not quite as explosive as the Palo Cortado, but this is a very stylish refined Sherry.

Palo Cortado VOS Bodegas Cayetano del Pino & Cia
€49.95 for a 50cl. bottle

This is an incredible complex wine, packed with flavour and full of character. Intense aromas and flavours of toasted walnuts and hazelnuts, orange peel, dried fruits and citrus with a long tangy dry savoury mineral finish. I am a big fan of aged sherries with Comté cheese. By chance I stumbled across a brilliant match for this Palo Cortado; Ossau-Iraty, a sheep’s cheese from south-west France.

Posted in: The Wine on Wednesday, Top Drop

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