Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wine Blogging Wednesday #51: Baked Goods

Today is the 51st Wine Blogging Wednesday. Today's theme was picked by the #1 Wine Dude Joe Roberts. He asked us to drink something "baked." What Joe meant by this was he wanted us to pick a wine that had been deliberately heated and oxidized (otherwise known as Madeirized after the classic Madeira wines from Portugal).

Wisely, Joe realized that these might be hard to locate. So he gave us the option of tasting Port or Sherry instead.

Because life is fairly nuts right now with relatives stopping by and the semester winding to a close, I decided to write today about rare sherries. I had the opportunity to taste some when I was a guest of Osborne in May, and one of the reasons I wanted to highlight them today is because they are not only great wines, they represent excellent QPR if you are looking for a single dessert wine that you can have on hand during the holidays and serve over several weeks without them going off or tasting stale.

The reason why this is possible is because they have been fortified with Brandy. This means that if you stopper them up and keep them in a cool dark place you can drink them over weeks, and in some cases months. It also means that they pack a serious punch, so tiny glasses are in order.

N.V. Osborne Rare Sherry Pedro Ximénez Viejo ($100)
Quite simply, this is the best wine I have ever tasted. It opened to a thick blackish brown. At first, I tasted coffee, dark chocolate, and burnt sugar. As it opened, there was an increasing lift of candied lemon and orange peel, some molasses, and even coconut oil. Every time you took a sip, it tasted different--but every sip was delicious.

N.V. Osborne Rare Sherry Solera BC 200 (sorry--couldn't find this anywhere!)
This sherry was drawn from the famous “ABC” solera. The “A” barrels were sold to the Tsar of Russia, leaving 200 “BC” barrels. If you can get your hands on some (lucky you!) you will smell aromas and taste flavors of citrus, toffee, and a little black tea and a brandied cherry aftertaste. This wine was complex, fine, and unforgettable.

N.V. Osborne Rare India Oloroso ($78-$90)
The wine in this bottling is an average of 35-50 years old. This wine was all about caramel aromas and flavors. I tasted not only caramels but sea salt, toast, and burnt sugar. Another fantastic wine.

N.V. Osborne Rare Sherry Palo Cortado Solera PAP ($100)
A stunning sweet wine, with candied orange and toffee aromas. The flavors were a bit less sweet than the aromas suggested, turning to orange marmalade and brown sugar. Dessert in a glass.

N.V. Osborne Sherry 1827 Sweet Sherry ($11-$24)
A budget-friendly and more widely available version of the rare wine listed first, this is nothing like what you would expect. It is coffee-colored, with molasses and cherry cola aromas and flavors. It's so syrupy that I believe the people who told me that they serve it over vanilla ice cream in place of chocolate syrup. Sounds like a perfect dessert to me!

For those of you who think I've lost my mind to label a $100 wine "excellent QPR," fear not. I haven't lost my mind. For $100, you get the perfect ending to every holiday meal from late November all the way through late December. And if you are looking for a special gift for a wine-loving friend? This is it. Those of you on tighter budgets (like me) can get their hands on that 1827 Sweet Sherry and a pint of Häagen-Dazs and check "desserts" off your to-do list.

Thanks to Joe for a great theme, and one that brought back many happy memories of my time in Spain this spring. As usual, I'll have the roundup and the theme for next month's WBW for you when they're available.


Joe Roberts said...

Holy Hannah - the best wine you've ever tasted!

Wow - now it's gettin' serious!! :-)

Justin Roberts said...

What great wines. You are so right about QPR. What other wine region can sell you a fantastic, +30yr wine for 100 bucks?

Anonymous said...

These are true treats, some of the best Spain has to offer, and a chance to try these is something everyone should make a priority! Thanks for the great write up.

Dr. Debs said...

Thanks for the comments. I hope that people will give these sherries a chance. There's a lot of prejudice against them in the US, but these are just astonishing.