Pedro Ximenez – the grape allegedly brought to Spain by the templar Pieter Siemens and primarily used in Montila Moriles – is the raw material for some massive, raisin intense desert wines which can repay serious study. As they age (traditionally) the residual sugar increases but so does the acidity and the barrel really helps integrate sugar, acid and alcohol producing wines that paradoxically come across as lighter and more refined. Emilio Hidalgo’s 90 year old Santa Ana must be tasted to be believed.
More generally there are some pretty interesting things being made with PX these days. This is a dry oloroso from Equipo Navazos which is excellent – the texture and mouthfeel of the PX really lends itself to the flavours of an oloroso.
In fact PX is used in the full range of finos, amontillados, palo cortados and everything in between (and indeed some very dangerous brandies). They are interesting, although to my mind not all of them work as well as the oloroso: I just don’t feel you get as many flavours or as much expression in the finos and lighter oxidized wines when compared to their palomino based rivals.
Nevertheless, it is another example of the many dimensions of Jerez – a fino style wine could be a fino (palomino), a manzanilla (palomino) or a fino (px) – one of these days I should organize a lineup.