Often relegated to the aperitif and dessert ends of a meal, the complex wines of the Jerez region of southern Spain are in fact incredibly diverse and food-friendly, great at every stage of a meal. Here’s an excuse to get a few friends together for a Sherry-matched lunch or dinner: my suggested menu, with lots of easy do ahead steps, and each course paired to one of the main Sherry styles. Salud!
Soup Tomato Gazpacho with Manzanilla
Gazpacho, Spain’s famous cold soup, makes a delicious, appetite-stimulating start to a summer meal. It’s best made a day ahead and chilled overnight, so perfect for entertaining. An ice-cold Manzanilla, such as Barbadillo Solear, is a perfect match, being the driest, most elegant of the Sherry styles.
Salad Manchego, Fennel & Orange with Fino
Spain’s wonderful sheep’s milk cheese, Manchego, stars in this salad that can be prepared (right up to dressing stage) hours ahead. The complexity of an unfiltered Fino with a little age, such as Equipo Navazos La Bota 35, is a delicious match for the buttery, salty, slightly nutty cheese.
Entrée Stuffed Artichokes with Amontillado
Artichokes are notorious for making wines taste metallic, not so Sherry (perhaps due to the slightly higher alcohol). I love an Amontillado, like Sanchez Romate’s NPU, with this rustic dish that can be prepared a day before and served at room temperature or just slightly warmed in the oven.
Meat Lamb & Romesco Sauce with Oloroso
Versatile romesco, one of Spain’s most popular sauces, is great with vegetables, seafood, poultry and red meat. I love it with juicy lamb cutlets and charred spring onions, especially with a rich, nutty Oloroso like Lustau’s Don Nuño, which beautifully echoes the hazelnuts and almonds in the sauce.
Dessert Orange Almond and Yoghurt Cake with Palo Cortado
Orange & almond cake with orange & date salad is a deliciously easy do ahead dessert. It’s moist, so leftovers last well … though that’s unlikely to be a concern. Serve it with the most beguiling of Sherries, an old Palo Cortado such as Gonzalez Byass’ Apostoles VORS.
When should you serve Sherry? Can you drink Sherry throughout a meal?
Yes, despite the misconception that Sherry is either an aperitif or a dessert wine, this diverse wine category offers something to match every stage of a meal.
What foods match well with Sherry?
There’s a Sherry to match almost any food, from the most elegant, minerally Manzanillas with freshly shucked oysters, through richer amontillados and olorosos with meat courses, to wonderfully complex palo cortado with light desserts and rich sticky PX with chocolate.
What type of Sherry should you serve with soup?
Soup is perhaps the course most often associated with Sherry … but which Sherry to serve depends on the nature of the soup. Manzanilla or a light fino is best with fresh vegetable soups, especially chilled gazpacho, while a more complex aged (pasada) or unfiltered (en rama) fino or amontillado works well with richer soups.
What’s the best Sherry to serve with dessert?
Chocolate is notoriously difficult to match with wine, except for wonderfully complex Pedro Ximenez Sherries which seem to be made for it. Moscatel, the other classic sweet Sherry is great with most sweet desserts, while a dry Palo Cortado can work well with less sweet, fruit-based desserts, especially citrus.