Understanding Sherry, understand the trend

12 December, 2018 by Andy Young

The idea of Sherry being a drink that grandmas keep in the back of their drinks cabinet to bring out once a year is finally being challenged and the complexity and diversity of the liquid is being increasingly understood.

From the sweetness of a Pedro Ximenez wine through to a Fino, there is such a wide range of styles that there is a Sherry for every palate and it’s easy to challenge anyone who says “I don’t like Sherry”.

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Two people looking to push that challenge and to bring more understanding of Sherry to more people are Sarah Miller and Manuel Terron, the owners of Bar Tapa in Sydney’s Stanley Street. Terron is a man known to the industry after previously working with Suntory and with SouthTrade International. In particular he and Miller are helping consumers understand that Sherry is a perfect partner for food, and that retailers who understand this element can look at premium up sales when consumers are looking for something impressive, and different, to take to a seasonal gathering.

“I think, almost by design, food and Sherry have a perfect partnership,” Terron told TheShout. Sherry can be known as that old, fuddy-duddy drink, but when you go to the land of its birth it’s that copita while you are having a little tapa. It’s intrinsic with food in Spain, and there is such a huge array of that drier style which means it works with different types of savoury food.”

For many people Sherry is all about the sweeter PX or Moscatel style, and they are not necessarily aware of the dryness that can be had from Sherry, although Terron believes this is beginning to change.

“I’m finding more and more people are graduating towards the drier styles. For people who aren’t used to it, it can be a bit hard to get stuck into a Manzanilla or a Fino straight away, unless they love a bone-dry style of white wine,” said Terron.

“But we try and give them something with a bit more character, something along the lines of an Oloroso or a Palo Cortado that have that wood component, which gets them understanding the wines and helps their palate become more accustomed to the sharper, zestier style.”

One way Miller and Terron have sought to navigate the different options in the Sherry style is through the tasting boards on offer at Bar Tapa, which offer four different sherries, from a dry board which covers Fino, Amontillado and Oloroso sherries, the tabla de Jerez (pictured) offers a wider range right from a Palomino Fino to Amontillado, Oloroso and PX, to really highlight what the Jerez region offers.

And in terms of encouraging consumers to look at Sherry over the festive season, Terron added: “It’s definitely a point of difference. Retailers can explain to consumers that with the dry styles of Sherry it’s a great drink for them to offer people with some nibbles before dinner. Sherry is such a good option for people who like to have a story behind the drinks they have and for those looking for something a bit different. Or the alternative is to try them with a nice bottle of PX, which they can have after dinner to enjoy a decadent and rich style of Sherry.”

Bar Tapa also offers Jamon and Jerez nights, which partner three different styles of jamon, both from New South Wales and imported, with four different styles of Sherry.

Terron explained the Sherry options: “We’ve put a lot of thought into the Sherries and are offering things just a little bit different. There’s a Palo Cortado in there, some Tio Pepe En Rama and it means that people can experiment and try different jamons with different Sherries and understand how well Sherry works with food.”

While the next Jamon and Jerez night takes place on Thursday, 13 December, this idea of getting people to experiment with Sherry and food options is a constant aspect of the Bar Tapa ethos. Anyone interested in understanding more about Sherry and getting at the forefront of the trend, can contact Bar Tapa through its website.