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Medium Sherry

Sherry, a fortified wine from southern Spain, has a rich history and an even richer palate of flavours, with medium sherry sitting as a delightful bridge between the world of dry and sweet sherries. It is a wine that is as versatile in food pairing as it is varied in its taste profile.

Origin and Production

Medium sherry, like all sherries, traces its origins to the Jerez region in Andalusia, Spain. It is here that the unique climate and chalky soils of the area combine to produce the Palomino grapes used in sherry production. While many sherries are made purely from these grapes, medium sherries often include a portion of Pedro Ximénez or Moscatel grapes to introduce additional sweetness.

The production of medium sherry is a combination of science and art, melded over centuries of tradition. The wine undergoes a process of fractional blending known as the 'solera system'. In this system, wines of various ages are mixed together, ensuring a consistent product year after year. Medium sherries are typically aged in American oak barrels, which impart some of their character into the wine.

Flavour Profile

The beauty of medium sherry lies in its balanced palate. While it possesses the nutty, tangy characteristics of dry sherries like Fino or Amontillado, it also has sweeter notes reminiscent of the more sugary sherries like Cream or Pedro Ximénez. This results in a wine that can appeal to a broad range of palates. Expect to detect flavours of dried fruits, toasted almonds, and even hints of caramel or toffee. Its amber-to-mahogany hue in the glass is inviting, and its aroma promises — and delivers — a taste adventure.

Food Pairing

The versatile nature of medium sherry makes it a wonderful companion to a variety of foods. It shines particularly well when paired with dishes that mirror its flavour profile. Think roasted almonds, mature cheeses, or even richer fare like foie gras. Its slight sweetness allows it to complement spicier dishes, perhaps from Asian cuisines, or to stand up to the robust flavours of smoked meats.

Serving and Storage

Medium sherry is typically served slightly chilled, often between 12°C to 14°C. This allows the wine to express its full range of flavours without being too cold to mute them or too warm to become overpowering. Use a wine glass with a broad bowl, allowing the sherry to breathe and release its aromatic bouquet.

Like most sherries, once opened, a bottle of medium sherry is best consumed within a few days to a week. While its fortification gives it a longer life than many other wines once opened, it will still begin to lose its character after a certain point.

For unopened bottles, it's generally recommended to consume them within a year of purchase. Unlike many wines, sherry doesn’t continue to mature in the bottle. Store them upright in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight or strong odours.

The Resurgence of Sherry

For years, sherry suffered from an outdated image — often associated with the older generation or relegated to being a mere cooking ingredient. Recent years have seen a resurgence in its popularity. With the global trend of rediscovering and appreciating classic spirits and beverages, sherry, including medium sherry, has found a new and enthusiastic audience.

Top mixologists from around the world have begun to introduce sherry into their cocktails, valuing its complex flavour profile. Medium sherry, with its balanced sweetness, has become a favourite in this new wave of sherry-based mixology.

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