Sherry and Shopping – introducing sherry to Edinburgh’s fashionistas
As part of International Sherry Week, I ran a tasting at an after-hours shopping event at my favourite Edinburgh accessories boutique – Covet.
One of the owners, Anna, had fallen in love with sherry last Christmas when I introduced her to Rey Fernando de Castilla Antique Amontillado. So, she and co-owner Blaise were up for doing something for International Sherry Week. We can safely say ours was the only sherry and shopping night on the ISW calendar, and it was a blast!
Our tasting line-up
As most of the attendees were new to sherry, we decided to go with three different varieties: Fino, Amontillado and Pedro Ximenez. Something for everyone, I figured. I chose sherries by Gonzalez Byass, to ensure people could easily find them again if they liked them, so we had Tio Pepe, Vina AB Amontillado and Nectar PX. I also love tasting Tio Pepe and Vina AB together since the Tio Pepe solera feeds the Vina AB system and it’s fun to taste the similarities and differences.
Fifteen people attended the tasting – some regular customers, some friends and some who’d found details of the event on the International Sherry Week website. By the end of the evening, everyone had found at least one type of sherry they liked, and some were out-and-out converts!
Picking a winner
The biggest hit was the PX, followed by Amontillado, but we had several people who simply couldn’t choose a winner. As Blaise put it:
I can’t pick a favourite. It turns out I just like sherry!
As the evening wore on, several people wanted to know more about the sherry that they hadn’t tasted – Oloroso. So Stuart was swiftly relieved of his duties as chief photographer and dispatched to the Bon Vivant’s Companion, a brilliant wine shop conveniently situated only fifty metres from Covet. He returned with a bottle of Rey Fernando de Castilla Antique Oloroso for everyone to try. Most people liked this one too, but felt it was more of a winter sherry – not so suited to warm summer evenings (which we often hope for in Edinburgh, but rarely get!).
Picking another winner
Part of the evening’s festivities was a prize draw for a £100 voucher to spend in store. Customers had to submit their sherrylover selfie to be in with a chance of winning. The lucky winner, Sarah, was also one of the evening’s biggest sherry converts – as her selfie shows!
A special visitor
We were honoured that Miguel Utray, the Spanish Consul General. came along to the event. Miguel comes from Sanlucar de Barrameda originally, so loves Manzanilla and sherry, and so he was curious to see what kind of reception sherry received in Edinburgh. I’ll be completely honest – I was a little bit freaked out that someone who grew up in the Sherry Triangle was there – what if I got something wrong?! However, I was thrilled when I discovered that I could teach him something too – Miguel had never tried PX poured over vanilla ice cream. He promised me he was heading home to give it a try!
Plotting for 2015
Our sherry and shopping event was great fun, and I was thrilled to introduce sherry to new people and see them enjoy discovering these incredibly special wines. One of the attendees runs pop-up restaurants, so we’re hatching a plan for a sherry and tapas feast later in the year. And Anna, Blaise and I are already plotting what we can do for International Sherry Week 2015. All we need now are the dates and we’re good to go!