December 03, 2008

Bodegas Tradición Jerez Muy Viejo Palo Cortado, about $100

The warmest welcome I ever had at a restaurant was a small bowl of warm olives tossed with oil and salt with a small, cold glass of dry sherry. The combination was arresting — rich, saltiness contrasted by the bracing, sea breeze-fresh fino. Lingering work worries were instantaneously replaced by Iberian reveries. I keep a bottle of dry sherry in the fridge now — usually something affordable (and excellent) like La Ina, but recently I discovered Bodegas Tradicion Palo Cortado. It's pricey, but Palo Cortado is rare stuff. It typically comes about by accident — the flor (the thin veil of yeast that grows on an aging sherry's surface) unexpectedly dies, exposing the wine to more oxygen than was intended. The resulting sherry falls someplace between the nutty dryness of a fino and the caramel richness of an oloroso. This Palo Cortado is made from wines that are more than 20 years old (thus "Muy Viejo"), adding extra complexity to its briney almond flavor. After opening, it lasts for weeks in the fridge. That equals many warm welcomes to many guests between now and the holidays — making it feel not quite so expensive after all.
Imported by Steve Miles Selections, Denver; smswine.com

This first appeared in the Denver Post.

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