Friends say ‘aye’ to a Spanish PX

WHEN was the last time you had a glass of sherry?

While many of my friends have refused point blank to even tolerate the thought of a glass of sherry, they will happily drink this stuff called PX (Pedro Ximenez). Once they have started, they can’t get enough of its sweet, mouth-filling, muscat-like characters.

Sherry and its various styles are worth exploring. Not all will be your cup of tea, but it is worth recognising that sherry is a serious wine, with many of the better quality sherries promising to reward the adventurous consumer.

Sherry has been around since the 13th century, but its boom days started in the early 1800s. It was the British who first refined and developed the art of maturation of sherry styles.

The word sherry is thought to have arisen from the Brits’ inability to pronounce Jerez, the major sherry producing area in Spain.

In those early days, sherry flowed quite freely and celebrities such as Falstaff widely praised the sweet styles of the day, and rejoiced in ‘black half hour’ of sherry swilling before dinner.

The styles of sherry range from bone dry through to sweet dessert type wines. Fino wines are the driest and most delicate; they are clean and crisp best drunk chilled and consumed within a few days of opening.

Amontillado wines are aged finos that acquire a darker colour and nutty characters. Olorosso styles are darker again, more fragrant and are richer on the palate. These wines are mostly sweeter but have a dry finish. Pedro Ximenez, or PX, is dark brown in colour and quite sweet, due to its naturally high sugar content.

This has been a long time favourite wine of mine.

Valdespino Pedro Ximenez

Jerez, Spain

rrp $29.99

Not just to be consumed over cold winter nights, I have found that this wine is just fantastic poured over some ice cream with Christmas pudding. As you pull up your favourite chair and sink in to a glass of this, you find yourself saying “just one more little glass before bed, please”.

Mouth-filling flavours of figs, fruit cake, treacle and molasses, with structured acidity and natural sweetness, the finish hangs around a lot longer than an English batsman. It is seriously good wine.

Distributed through Negociants Australia, 9350 5544.

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