On June 25th, Mood of Living attended a Sherryfest dinner at Racines in TriBeCa. Although many see sherry as a wine reserved only as a cooking ingredient or the occasional dessert beverage. However, this complex and versatile wine is one of the most flexible and multifaceted wines to accompany food.
Most sherries fall into one of two differing categories: fino, a dry and lighter-bodied wine, and oloroso, a richer flavored and fuller-bodied wine. Both of these types are blended using the unique solera system, which combines older and younger wines for a more complex and higher quality taste. This intricacy of flavor is what enables sherry to complement a myriad of foods and cooking styles.
Finos and manzanillas, sub-category of finos, have a nutty aroma and are paler in color. They complement seafood, creamy cheeses, and soups. Racines paired a tomato sorbet soup with three Lustau wines: the En Rama Fino, the En Rama Fino de El Puerto de Santa Maria, and the Manzanilla Pasada Almacenista Cuevas Jurado.
The Amontillado sherry – a third type of sherry that falls in between the finos and olorosos – is similar in color and body to finos and similarly serves as a fantastic accompaniment to seafood. We were served sesame-encrusted tuna on a bed of avocado alongside a Williams & Humbert Fino En Rama 2006 and a Williams & Humbert Jalifa VORS Amontillado – a refreshing combination.
The next dish was a bowl of risotto sprinkled with fresh morels and presented alongside a richer and nuttier oloroso-style sherry. This decadent course was paired with a Sánchez Romate Palo Cortado Regente and a Sánchez Romate Oloroso Old & Plus. Both of these wines are dry, rich, and bold with hints of walnut and a deep amber color. They rounded out the palate, balancing against the creamy risotto and earthy morels. These two sherries were also paired with a rabbit dish that was itself surrounded by butternut squash and a single garlic scape.
The final dish was a combination of gouda cheese and honey served with a Sánchez Romate PX Old & Plus and a Williams & Humbert Don Zoilo PX . These particular sherries have a syrup-like texture with notes of fig, date, and molasses – making them perfect for fruit and cheese-style desserts.
Rosemary Gray, the co-creator of Sherryfest, concluded the meal with a commentary on the versatility of sherry and its ability to flexibly accompany a variety of cuisines, which was wholly evident throughout this dinner with Sherryfest at Racines. To learn more about Sherryfest, click here.