On June 24, the Mood of Living team attended the Art of Blending seminar at Skurnik Wines in Flatiron. This particular event was centered around the sophisticated process of fusing robust and unique white grape wines from Jerez into one refined product– sherry. Blended sherry is essentially a combination of both wines that have been aged with yeast and wines that have been aged without yeast. Each aging method creates a distinct flavor, meaning that the combination creates even more complexity to enjoy. From bitter to sweet there are a multitude of varieties for anyone’s preference.
This particular seminar honed in on two prestigious and historic Spanish vineyards that have been intertwined with fortifying and producing sherry style wines since the early 19th century. Lustau and Williams & Humbert directed the tasting’s participants through the intersection of history and taste. From Sir Francis Drake sacking Cadiz in 1587 to the Phoenicians distilling their wines in 700 AD, events of the past have served as catalysts to the modern sherry.
This blended wine style is classified according to a myriad of factors, including vineyard, zone, grape, and must. Collectively, these characteristics dictate the taste, dryness, and sweetness of the sherry. Furthermore, there are two main distinctions that separate sherry from other wine styles: the introduction of grape-based-spirits following instead of during fermentation and the incorporation of air during the fermentation process. Whereas many wines are stored in cellars below ground, sherry is stored above ground and thus receives an infusion of flavors and aromas from the wind and other air exposure.
After being picked and dried in the sunlight, the fermentation process is confined to a cask, a stainless steel tank which matures the wine’s notes as time passes. After the individual wine has aged, it can be blended with other wines and further aged for a distinct and sophisticated taste. Many regard sherry as a underrated wine that is often forgotten about or merely used for cooking. However, this is an alcohol that can be enjoyed with a classic charcuterie, Spanish tapas, or even vanilla ice cream.