Sainsbury’s trolley dash
Sainsbury’s is my local supermarket, so I decided to start my trolley dash there. Our store isn’t enormous, but it has a fantastic selection of wines in general, including sherry. I guess the locals must like a drink!
I counted seven different bodega branded sherries in our Sainsbury’s. There’s a bit of a seventies vibe, with blends making a strong showing: Harvey’s Bristol Cream and Harvey’s Medium Dry Amontillado Blend sit alongside Croft Original and Croft Particular.
If you prefer your sherry dry there’s Tio Pepe in abundance, and two Manzanillas: La Gitana the classic Manzanilla from Hidalgo, and its elegant older sister Pastrana Manzanilla Pasada. Usually £11, but discounted to £8 at least twice a year, Pastrana is a bargain even at full price and not easy to find elsewhere. If you haven’t tried it, treat yourself. And if you need convincing before you invest your hard-earned cash, read more here.
Premium range own-label gems
All except the Fino are classified as 12 year old (average age) and all except the PX are produced by Lustau. The PX comes from Williams and Humbert. They’ve got a clutch of awards between them:
- Amontillado – Silver at the IWSC 2013
- Oloroso blend – Gold at the IWC
- PX – Gold and Best in Show at Decanter WWA 2013
Not too shabby for own-label.
There are two stars of the show for me. The Fino is elegant, rounded and super-drinkable. It’s fresh and zippy with classic Fino flavours of bread and almonds, alongside some green apple. It’s not excessively punchy and isn’t too olivey either – ideal for newcomers to Fino. I can’t quite place whether it’s a Jerez or Puerto Fino, and the label doesn’t say. Its softness hints at Puerto, but I could also believe that it was first criadera La Ina (but that’s just idle speculation on my part).
The second star, and my pick of the bunch is the Amontillado. At 12 years average age, it’s darker than some in colour and has complex mature aromas: toffee apples, varnish, and sticky toffee pudding garnished with crushed nuts. On the palate it has medium body and a velvety texture, with flavours of hazelnuts in their skins, vanilla and slightly burnt caramel, culminating in a long nutty finish. This is a classy complex wine and I wouldn’t have grumbled if it had cost me £25. At £8 it’s an absolute bargain.
If you’ve room in your trolley (and budget), all the Taste the Difference sherries are worth trying, but my top pick has to be the Amontillado; an exceptional sherry and awesome value for money. And don’t leave the store without a bottle of Pastrana – a Manzanilla gem at a brilliant price.