First published in the Irish Times, Wednesday 11th December, 2019
At Christmas I swop my usual fino sherry for another of my favourite wines; aged dry sherry and Madeira. Every year, I make sure I have at least one bottle open, my personal Christmas treat, to dip into when the time is right.
Once opened, a bottle will keep for a week or so and makes the perfect indulgent treat; a glass of Oloroso, Amontillado or Palo Cortado sherry, or a dry Sercial Madeira with some cheese, a few crackers, and maybe some nuts. Pour a small measure into a proper large wine glass to release the amazing aromas.
Dry Amontillado Los Arcos, Lustau
€13.50 per half bottle , 18.5%
A delicious, rich, rounded Amontillado with walnuts and hazelnuts, dried fruits and a touch of toffee. Drink it with firm cheeses and nuts.
From: Mitchell & Son, Dublin 1, Sandycove, and Avoca, Kilmacanogue & Dunboyne, mitchellandson.com; The Wine Centre, Kilkenny, thewinecentre.ie; Gibney’s, Malahide, gibneys.com
A superb precise intensely flavoured sherry with toasted almonds, mahogany polish, tangy crisp citrus acidity and excellent dry length. Serve lightly chilled with fried salty almonds, a few slices of chorizo or some pâté and toast.
From: Clontarf Wines, Dublin 3 clontarfwines.ie; The Corkscrew, Dublin 2, thecorkscrew.ie; Ely 64, Glasthule, ely64.com; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock, blackrockcellar.com; Green Man Wines, Dublin 6, greenmanwines.ie; Morton’s, Dublin 6, mortons.ie; Whelehan’s Wines, Loughlinstown, whelehanswines.ie
Hidalgo Oloroso Faraon
€16.50 for a 50cl bottle, 18%
A very elegant bone-dry sherry with toasted hazelnuts, citrus peel and raisins finishing on an attractive saline note.
Fernando de Castilla Antique Palo Cortado
€45 per half litre bottle, 19%
An exquisite sherry, elegant and concentrated with orange peel, toasted almonds, finishing long and bone dry. Try with blue cheese on sourdough toast.
From: Ely Wine Store, Maynooth; elywinebar.ie; Searsons, Monkstown, searsons.com