If you didn’t know this already, Sherry is sexy. London has a dozen bars (La Pepito, Jose’s and more), dedicated to the drink. I was curious to see what the fuss was about, and was recommended to try La Gitana from Bodegas Hidalgo by my flatmate who just so happens to work at Highbury Vintners.
La Gitana is a dry Manzanilla sherry from Hidalgo, one of the most well established houses in Spain, they’re based in the coastal town of Sanlucar de Barrameda in Andalucia. It’s an independent family run estate, and apparently started up in 1792 – good stuff. The conditions in the region help cultivate the flor, which is a special yeast that grows over the surface of the wine during maturation, protecting it from oxidation. Elsewhere in the Sherry district, the flor dies off to form Fino sherry instead, so it’s pretty unique.
At first I thought I didn’t like it, it smelled funky as hell (which I guess is the influence of the yeast), it kind of reminded me of overipe bananas. While it smells like it should be sweet, it’s not and that’s a good thing. It had a lovely roasted nuttiness, with fantastic limey acidity and it does have a touch of savoury saltiness. The finish is fantastic and clean and while you expect it to be quite full bodied, it’s surprisingly delicate Apparently in Spain, Camomile Tea is known as Manzanilla, and the Sherry is named after the tea.
I guess it looks the same, and does have a camomile tea-ish quality about it. (I researched this after I tasted it, and now wish I had a cup of Camomille alongside to compare).
I tasted this alone as an aperitif and it was lovely, although I wish I had some salted almonds to nibble on. I also love the bottle, the portrait is of ‘La Gitana’ – The Gypsy – and was painted for the firm by Joaquan Turina, father of the famous composer of the same name. Nice cleavage.
It’s a sexy, slow sipper. We all know gypsies are sexy, just ignore My Big Fat Gypsy weddings and watch Chocolat.
Available from Highbury Vintners for £9.50 – I would buy this again, my friend was in two minds about it.