A Visit to Delgado Zuleta

Delgado ZuletaAs temperatures rise, this time of year is perfect to cool off with a glass of Manzanilla!

When I was planning for my April trip to the Sherry Triangle – I knew I had to escape to the city of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, the home of Manzanilla. Manzanilla is created just like Fino, but the climate and location of Sanlúcar gives the wine a salinity flavor not present in most Finos.

Due to time constraints, I only had time for one bodega visit in Sanlúcar. I made sure it was with Delgado Zuleta, the oldest firm in the Marco de Jerez with the most famous Manzanilla.

I chose to take a taxi from Jerez because I didn’t want the hassle of figuring out the busses. Rubén was the sweetest driver. We chatted the whole way as we passed by windmills and vineyards. Once at Delgado Zuleta, he was willing to wait without running the meter!

I walked into the retail store out front and said I was looking for Nuria de los Reyes. A happy face greeted me with, “You’re my blogger!” as she popped up from her desk. With that, Nuria led me outside to the vines growing along the main road to start the grand tour.

As she told me about the history of Delgado Zuleta, we headed inside to a room full of their oldest documents. Although they were founded in 1744, some of the documents are dated back to 1719. She showed me a beautiful book on viticulture from 1879 with hand-painted pictures. Across the room stood a large cabinet full of proper sherry glassware through the centuries. Nuria explained to me that the typical cata vino copa, the a small tightlipped wineglass, is used in the bodega because they know the wines best by the way they smell and rarely have to taste them. They look for vanilla and coconut notes. If they smell something different, the barrel is removed from the solera pyramid.

Even though the current building is from the 20th century, they do their best to maintain tradition when it comes to making their wines. They even use a traditional venencia made from bamboo. Nuria pointed out that Manzanilla is the only female sherry style. The most famous from Delgado Zuleta is La Goya Manzanilla named after a famous flamenco dancer in the early 1900’s.

Delgado Zuleta bottlesAlthough 90% of their production is Manzanilla, Nuria and I sat down with their oenologist Salvador for a flight of their premier sherry styles.

First off was a refreshing glass of La Goya Manzanilla Pasada. It’s a richer, older Manzanilla in which the flor starts to fade and has a final average age between six to eight years. What I love most about Manzanilla that set them apart from Fino is the salinity.

Next we tasted through four of their premium wines under the Monteagudo label each aged for 10-12 years: a rich Amontillado with lovely nutty notes; a savory Palo Cortado slightly softer than the Amontillado with strong notes of walnut and coffee; a full-bodied Cream with intense dried fruit nuances; a luxurious Pedro Ximenez, soft, warm and sweet with strong raisin flavor.

Salvador, me + NuriaUnfortunately, my phone died before our tasting began. I love recording all my visits and I’m disappointed not to have the conversation between Nuria and Salvador available for review. I really enjoyed hearing them compare what nuances they tasted as if they weren’t experts in their own wines.

I’m so glad I was able to squeeze in this visit to Delgado Zuleta and was welcomed with such hospitality. All their wines – not just La Goya – are amazing down to the last drop!

me + Nuria

Sherryfest + I’m Obsessed!

unnamedSherryfest is in full swing in New York City this week! I’m unable to attend, but I’m not bitter. I owe my passion, or should I say obession, for sherry because of Sherryfest!

I love this picture from Sherryfest West 2013 of Peter LIem, Cheryl Wakerhauser + Jaime Gil  photo by Motoya Nakamura/The Oregonian

I love this picture from Sherryfest West 2013 of
Peter LIem, Cheryl Wakerhauser + Jaime Gil
photo by Motoya Nakamura/The Oregonian

In March 2013, Sherryfest West, Galaxy Wine and Cheryl Wakerhauser, the owner and chef of Pix Patisserie/Bar Vivant invited several sherry ambassadors to represent their wines in Portland, Oregon. Cheryl is the trailblazer for putting sherry on Portland’s radar. She has the largest sherry menu in town with some of the best the Marco de Jerez has to offer!

Had I not attended, I never would have met Jan Pettersen from Fernando de Castilla or Jaime Gil from Grupo Estevez. Out of several representatives, these two men took time to talk me through their wines, and made sure I slowed down to enjoy each one. You can read more on that night in my first sherrysips post.

Last June, Sherryfest returned to the west coast in San Francisco. I was only able to participate through Twitter feeds. However, a small Sherryfest after-party came to Portland only hours before I had to board a flight to Costa Rica, but I was determined to fit it in!

Jan Pettersen and Jaime Gil set up tastings at Great Wine Buys – a wonderful wine shop in NE Portland that has an amazing sherry selection! Jaime shared wines from Valdespino: Manzanilla Deliciosa en Rama, Inocente Fino, Palo Cortado Viejo C.P., Don Gonzalo Oloroso VOS and Moscatel Promesa. I’m a huge fan of anything from Valdespino – this tasting made me a happy camper!

Jan shared his some of the best from his bodega: Fino en Rama, Amontillado Antique, Oloroso Antique and Pedro Ximenez Antique. His wines are refined, aged to perfection and in my opinion, worth way more than their price tag!

After my quick visit with them, I zipped over to Pix Patisserie/Bar Vivant. I love that Cheryl Wakerhauser always provides opportunities to learn about sherry from the wine makers on her menu! This time it was Lorenzo Garcia-Iglesias of Bodegas Tradición, the first bodega I toured, and Peter Liem, co-author of my “sherry bible” Sherry, Manzanilla & Montilla.

This was a unique, intimate setting for Peter and Lorenzo to share the basics of sherry, allowing those attending to taste along and ask their questions. The flight included La Gitana Manzanilla from Hidalgo, Fino from Bodegas Tradición, Amontillado VORS from Bodegas Tradición, Palo Cortado Viejo C.P. from Valdespino, Oloroso VORS from Bodegas Tradición, and Pedro Ximenez Antique from Fernando de Castilla. As soon as the class ended, I had two hours pack and fly to Costa Rica for eight weeks with 25 high-schoolers. I think three sherry tastings did the trick to calm the nerves!

Sherryfest Get Flor'dNow one year later, I am celebrating Sherryfest NYC through social media streams. I love what Sherryfest does to bring sherry into mainstream drinking scenes. Someday, I will attend again and hope to meet the many sherry lover connections I’ve made in the past two years. Until then, I raise my copita from Portland and encourage everyone to Drink More Sherry & Get Flor’d!

Sharing the Sherry Love

PCA Sherry EventThis time of year has sherry on the radar, especially with the upcoming Sherryfest in New York City. It only seems fitting that I had a little sherry celebration of my own here in Portland, Oregon. PCA Sherry Event

The Portland Culinary Alliance provided an amazing opportunity for me to present my first sherry tasting at Cyril’s at Clay Pigeon Winery. The evening would not have been a success without the support and partnership of Sasha Davies. She and her team pulled out all the stops from setting up the room, to serving the guests, to providing the perfect pairings for each wine.

Sasha and I chose to showcase sherry as a wine for any style of food, not just tapas! The rule of thumb I was taught is: if it swims – pair with Fino or Manzanilla; if it flies – pair with Amontillado or Palo Cortado; if it runs – pair with Oloroso.

WE DID IT! PCA Sherry Event

For a Tuesday night after fighting rush-hour traffic, guests were greeted with a glass of sparkling wine to help unwind. It’s an easy transition for those who may not be familiar with sherry. Once seated, the sherry and food were served in groups of two while I told them a story; beginning, middle and end.

First they were served Inocente Fino from Valdespino paired with scallop crudo. I chose this Fino because not only do I love products from Grupo Estevez, but I love that this Fino has been aged for ten years under flor. Not only is it a challenge to sustain the flor yeast cap for so many years, but it also gives the wine a rich complexity of flavor and color unlike any other fino. The scallop crudo had an amazing brightness that was not only enhanced by the Fino, but brought out the characteristics of the wine in return.

Along side the Fino, guests were served La Garrocha Amontillado from Bodegas Grant paired with a chicken drumette with dates, olives and capers. This was my first Amontillado I fell in love with. I love it even more after having visited Bodegas Grant back in May. They are amazing people making amazing sherry! (I’ll tell you all about it soon, I promise!)

For the middle of the progression, guests were served Palo Cortado Viejo C.P. from Valdespino with pan seared artichokes in sherry vinegar, lemon and thyme. Sherry is one of the best wines for pairing with the most difficult dishes, like artichokes. This was the first Palo Cortado introduced to me and it is my favorite sherry style. Palo Cortado is considered the “rebel” and known for it’s mysterious rarity because it isn’t an Amontillado or an Oloroso, but somewhere in between. I have since tasted several Palo Cortados from other wine makers, but I’ll never forget my first.

For this evening, we did not have a dry Oloroso, but decided to serve a sweetened Oloroso Cream style before transitioning into dessert. Guests were served East India Solera from Lustau with prosciutto and basil wrapped figs. I’ve always loved the story of how its name refers the British trading company and is made mimicking the 17th century trade ships, maturing the blended wine in a hotter and more humid area of the bodega.

To conclude the evening, guests were served Moscatel Pasas from Bodegas César Florido paired with Turkish apricots stuffed with a walnut on mascarpone and crushed pistachios. As well as Pedro Ximenez from El Maestro Sierra with a lovely slice of Pleinvent Fermier Cheese. I wish I had the chance to visit César Florido, but did not get over to Chipiona where all Moscatel styles are made. I did however receive the invitation to visit El Maestro Sierra. This is a very special bodega I will tell you all about later. I’ll simply say they make amazing sherry using only traditional methods!

I DID IT!

This evening was so special for me! My audience was a perfect balance between supportive PCA members, friends and family. I was honored to have local support from Thirdwave Coffee Tours and Conserva. My greatest joy was having my parents and husband there to support me. The fact that my father (a frugal, retired Marine who would prefer a meal at the Village Inn) came across town during rush hour and smiled the entire night meant the world to me! Portland is full of good people who support those living out their dreams!

It could not have gone any better for my FIRST event. The many smiles,  praises and even a couple critiques I received by the end of the evening only further confirm I’m exactly where I need to be on this journey!

#drinkmoresherry

#drinkmoresherry