My first encounter with sherry was at university. It was memorable – for all the wrong reasons. Back then cheap and lots of it were pretty much my only considerations. You can see where this is going. It almost ruined me for sherry. Kinda like my visit to a major (can’t name names) processed-meat producer’s plant in Germiston round about the same time. I haven’t touched polony since. But, unlike with polony, I did eventually come around on the whole sherry thing. And that’s fortunate, as we make some truly excellent ones.
Of course we can’t actually call it sherry anymore because, rather like a Jack Russell with a T-bone, the Europeans want it for themselves. These days only fortified wines from a region near the town of Jerez in Spain may be called sherry.
Our answer to this naming quandary? Pale Dry, Medium Cream and Full Cream. Yup, when you see this on a bottle, it’s a sherry in drag. Last Thursday I hoofed it into town to Society Bistro in Orange Street where the lovely folks from KWV were putting on a showcase of their ‘not sherry’ wines paired with food. Salted hake with a coconut crust and minted pea purée came with KWV Cape Pale Dry (the name says it all, it’s dry). Next up was gorgonzola soufflé with chorizo paired with the slightly sweeter KWV Medium Cream . Then Wagyu bresaola which was a bit of a revelation paired with KWV’s sweet (there’s nothing wrong with sweet folks, as long as it’s good) Full Cream.
They may be fortified (to about 17.5% alcohol, compared to the 12-14% of most wines) but here’s the thing – these are nevertheless wines, which makes them not only the perfect tipple with food, but wonderful to cook with too. Don’t think purple-rinse little old lady when you think of them. Think sexy Spanish Señor/Señorita whispering sweet nothings as they feed you tapas on a sultry, sweaty Barcelona night. Now that’s more like it.
With Javier Bardem firmly in mind, I opened a bottle of KWV’s Pale Dry a few days later and used it to cook up this super quick and easy prawn and chorizo tapas dish. Naturally I drank some too.
Until next time
P.S. I also tasted some rather fine KWV Cape Ruby and Cape Tawny (Port in drag). But that’s another recipe idea for another time. Watch this space!