Sherry (the topic of this week’s Fermentations column) is probably the most overlooked major wine category in the U.S. today. Part of the reason, I think, is that Americans generally seem to prefer fruit-driven, plush, simple wines that tend toward the sweet end of the spectrum. Lighter-styled, more-complex dry Sherries that pair well with food can therefore be quite a shock to the palate for many consumers.—-
In addition, many people still think of it as drink for grandmas and snobs — like Frasier and Niles Crane on TV, who often helped themselves to a tipple after a hard day at work. Quite a change in attitude since Shakespeare’s day, when Falstaff famously swore that if he "had a thousand sons, the first humane principle I would teach them should be, to forswear thin potations and to addict themselves to sack." (NB: Sack is what they called Sherry in Elizabethan times).
If you’re interested in learning more about Spanish Sherry, I highly recommend checking out the Secret Sherry Society web site as a first step.
Imaginatively constructed, it’s a great marketing/promotional site developed by the Sherry Council of America. If you like your educational material to be as dry as a fino Sherry, this is not the website for you. Rather, in a breezy, amusing format, you’ll find out how Sherry is made, how it should be consumed, how it can be stored, variations in style – and even cocktail recipes. You can also watch tongue-in-cheek videos of ‘secret society members’ like Wiley Dufresne (Top Chef regular and owner of the Michelin-starred restaurant WD-50) talking about Sherry, cooking with it and mixing drinks.
Check it out. And give Sherry a chance next time you’re looking for a dry white to pair with dinner.