A couple of weeks ago I put into words some doubts I had as to the value of “Sherry” as a brand and the question of whether we wouldn’t be better off ditching it in favour of “wines of Jerez and Sanlucar” and other longer, but more precise, terms. I did a couple of polls on twitter and nearly 80% (of not many) agreed – most of the feedback I got was along the same lines (many thanks in particular to Alvaro Giron and Pelayo Delgado Zuleta).
But I had a feeling that mostly I was preaching to the converted/the existing tribe – the not particularly numerous subset of people that read the blog and follow on twitter, so I thought it would be good to widen the circle and asked the chaps over on winebeserkers.com, where I got a lot of useful feedback (from Drew, Ian, Greg, Sanjay, Paul, Leon, David, Doug, Don and David – I think you can see the thread here) that has turned me around on this.
In my original post my concerns were broadly that the use of “sherry” can be thought of as a category separate to “wines”, that the name had a lot of negative baggage, and that it obscured the great variety of wines and zones from the region.
Noone really touched the first point but there is, of course, a positive side to being your own category. As to the second point on negative associations, it was rightly pointed out that other denominations – Chianti and Riesling are examples – have turned it around, and while Champagne never fell all that low the metamorphosis there has driven a lot of new interest. More importantly, it was interesting to read the perspective from Australia and elsewhere: they would snap up the sherry brand in a heartbeat if they could. And as to the third point, and indeed in general, the overall view was that education was the way forward. That must be right: make nice wines and tell the world, educating while you go. No need to throw the centuries -old baby out with the bathwater .
So look, I take it all back. “Sherry” has its place and its role to play. What can I say? It was an early morning flight and something I just needed to get out of my system (almost as soon as I had done it struck me I was being a touch precious). But it shouldn’t be the whole story: sherry is not the new G&T, it is the family name applied to some unique wines each of which deserve to be famous in their own right.
But the catavinos, sherry glass or schooner, that I do not forgive.