On the right, Fernando de Castilla Antique Amontillado: palomino fino, unfiltered, dusty dry and old in name, spirit and feel. On the left, the Marques de Poley amontillado viejisimo: pedro ximenez, nearly sweet, rich and juicy. Two totally distinct examples of what an amontillado can be.
Tasted separately I really appreciated the breadth of flavours and aromas in the Antique Amontillado and missed it in the viejisimo, but tasting them together one notices how much more compact the Poley is, and how drinkable as a result. It is as if the palomino allows the aromas and flavours to drift apart like a frayed rug while the px keeps them tight.
It seems to me to be a good example of the two contrasting challenges in the creation of a really great sherry – how to achieve that diversity of aromas but hold them together in an elegant structure. (And at a given level of aroma and body the elegance, for me, is most important – it is not for nothing that the very name of fino means “fine”.)