Taberna Palo Cortado

I have finally made it to Palo Cortado, Madrid’s latest sherry destination.

It is an old school tavern in one of the quiet streets a stone’s throw from the palace and opera-house. The menu is full of Andalucian classics and standards – we had an excellent salad of partridge of escabeche in particular.

But the main attraction for sherry fans is the wine list – I didn’t count them (or take a picture, I really am a shocking blogger) but I reckon there must have been 60-odd sherries available, examples of every area and style and excellent prices (even for the blockbusters). Even better is the person behind that wine list, Paqui, one of the Sherry Women and a much loved member of the Madrid wine scene. Because when you have a list as long as this one you really need some expert advice.

In my case, I opted to go a vertical of manzanillas that I don’t know well from Bodegas Argueso.

First up was this manzanilla – Las Medallas – with five years under flor. It had aromas of straw and a big, meaty body to it. Really broad and robust for a manzanilla – amazingly meaty and chewy, like a very doughy loaf of bread, with more toasted bread than almond but a lot of umami. I really liked it (15/20).

Second was this, the San Leon, a more typical manzanilla – again with five years under flor. Also hay bales and herbal tea on the nose, much finer, more elegant but not quite as meaty as the Medallas. Bit quiet on the finish. (15/20)

Last but not least, comes the San Leon, Reserva de la Famila. This has had seven and a half years under flor and is recognizeably more refined – maybe lacking a little less scent compared to the junior version but a more elegant, powerful and compact wine. (16/20)

Three excellent glasses of wine – for a combined total of €8.70. There is no doubt that Palo Cortado is an essential visit for any sherry fan (and an excellent alternative even for laymen).

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