Emilio Lustau: ‘Sherry, the world’s greatest fortified wine’ – Tim Atkin

Emilio Lustau

'Sherry, the world’s greatest fortified wine' – Tim Atkin

Sherry has been made in Southern Spain for centuries and Lustau, established in 1896, is one of the most famous producers, with their almacenistas winning 'Best Fortified Winemaker' in London for more than a decade. This is remarkable because they're only a small to medium-sized bodega for Sherry.

From the chalky soils in Jerez, Sherry is made with white grapes, notably Palomino. Most are bone-dry and are the ultimate food wines with their saltiness and super fresh acidity.

Put simply, there are two main styles of Sherry – one with flor, a layer that protects the wine, and one without. Manzanilla and Fino are the freshest, with alcohols of about 15%, protected from oxygen by live flor.

Pairings (Manzanilla & Fino): Olives, almonds, sushi and tempura vegetables
Pairings (Amontillado & Palo Cortado): Curry, aged cheddar, artichokes, seafood, roast chicken
Pairings (Oloroso): Braised beef or venison, dark chocolate and mature hard cheeses
Pairings (PX): Blue cheese, brownies, vanilla ice cream

When the flor fades, you get the nutty, richer and darker-coloured Amontillado and Palo Cortado. Amontillado is an aged Fino, and the rarer Palo Cortado sits between Amontillado and Oloroso in style.

Oloroso has no flor, so the complexity and flavours come from its exposure to air – often over many decades. It's dark and spicy and can drink like a finely aged brandy. The exception is PX, or Pedro Ximénex, which is an intensely sweet, dessert-type Sherry made from sundried grapes.

The lighter styles of Sherry can be drunk over a few weeks, whilst the heavier, richer versions will last for months in the fridge once open.

View all Lustau sherries

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