On June 25, Mood of Living attended the Grand Tasting hosted by Sherryfest at the City Winery. This tasting is one of the largest and most extensive in the world, showcasing 23 producers and over 170 sherries. The Grant Tasting provided an opportunity to sample an enormous selection of wines created across the Jerez region, as well as to delve deeper into the variety of flavors that this province infuses into its products. The wines were divided into three major categories: biological wines made with a type of yeast called flor, blends, and oxidized wines that don’t use flor during their fermentation process.
Flor is the layer of yeast that forms a blanket along the top of the wine while it is inside a barrel. This protective layer will prevent oxygen from penetrating the sherry, granting the drink its distinct flavor. Sherries produced in this manner are referred to as “Finos” – or “Manzanillas” if they hail from the port-town of Sanlúcar. Other types of sherries that do not incorporate flor are labeled as “Olorosos.”
One of the unifying characteristics between sherries produced both with and without flor is the solera system. This is a process that enables producers to blend different vintages together and to harness the flavors into one complex and refreshing product. Sherries can be aged anywhere from a minimum of two years to multiple decades. The time and energy devoted to infusing, fermenting, and aging these wines creates complex and satisfying results; they not only pair incredibly well with meals as cooking ingredients or accompaniments, but they also create sophisticated cocktails.
Shannon Ponche, who bartends at Clover Club and Leyenda, mixed up a batch of Slapdash cocktails that may just become your summer go-to. They are a refreshing blend of manzanilla, lime, and cucumber.
2.5 oz manzanilla
1 oz rhum agricole
.5 oz cane syrup
.25 oz lime juice
Stir and strain over fresh ice. Top with soda and a cucumber garnish.