Sherry, Withnail? – The Property Chronicle
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Sherry, Withnail? Why this year really should be the year of Sherry


For the past several years, without fail, various trade magazines, in partnership with some think-tank or another, have boldly predicted the coming 12 months to be “The Year of Sherry”. They point to Majestic Wine recording a 25% increase in sales, the bastardisation of the wine with pop in order to appeal to hen-dos and the opening of numerous trendy tapas restaurants in Shoreditch as sure fire evidence of this. It never comes to pass. But it definitely will next year.

Poor Sherry. The fortified white wine of Andalucía, has had a torrid time of it for the past 30 years. Ask most people with a passing interest in wine what they think of it and they’ll tell you it’s the cheap, sweet tipple of little old ladies, tramps and Uncle Monty from Withnail and I, best drunk from a glass thimble. Harvey’s Bristol Cream and Croft’s Original are largely responsible for this.

Source: DO Jerez y Manzanilla

Perhaps this is in part due to the fact industry insiders, who pride themselves on liking things no one else does, simply can’t believe a wine of such high quality, offered at such extraordinary value can continue to be so underappreciated (cf. Riesling).

They’ll point to its versatility as a food wine, its length, consistency, uniqueness and how it’s always released ready to drink. Styles other than Fino and Manzanilla can also be left open for days if not weeks without losing their freshness and are therefore ideal for drinking a couple of glasses at a time.

The problem is, like so many of the best things in life, Sherry is, particularly in its driest expressions and even more so when biologically aged, an acquired taste. In my experience, handing a glass of Fino as a pre-dinner heart-starter to a guest hoping for the usual Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio can be like offering a bowl of anchovies to a teenager weaned on Haribo Starmix.


About Robert England

Robert England

After graduating from university I spent the following decade living and working between Hong Kong, Shanghai and Melbourne. During this time, I was exposed to a world of food and wine I’d never experienced back in blighty (thank you company Amex) where, truth be told, I was more concerned with where my next pint of snakebite was coming from. With the help of some very generous sommeliers and winemakers, I found myself spending the hours I should have been flogging corporate health insurance touring wine regions and filling my face with good grub and artisanal Pinot Noir until I got to the point I had to jack it all in and pursue a career in wine full time. Since then I have studied and sniffed my way through the WSET L4 Diploma becoming an Associate of the Institute of Wine and Spirits, winning the Earl of Wessex Scholarship, the LISCIO Tasting Trophy and judging at international wine competitions along the way. I now live in Lewes where I run my own business, Wine Boar, hosting tastings, dinners, selling the occasional case of Soave and writing intermittent drivel on food, booze and my other passion, sport with balls. Email: | Website:

Articles by Robert England

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