One of the major discoveries I have made as a result of this blog is how little I know, how much other people know, and, fortunately, how generous they are with their knowledge.
First, I would recommend anyone interested in the wines of Jerez and Sanlucar to start by reading Peter Liem’s magnificent Book (written in collaboration with Jesus Barquin of Equipo Navazos fame): Sherry, Manzanilla, & Montilla. It really is first class. In fact I would recommend reading it annually – I recently dipped into it in preparation for a trip down to the locus in quo and thought it was excellent. (It is, though, just one of a number of excellent books that are around in English – some other great suggestions are in this piece on the Vine Inspiration.)
The very best writing on the wines of Jerez and Sanlucar, though, is in Spanish, and if you can I would really recommend diving in to some of it. I put together a little collection of writing on terroir a while ago but only really scratched the surface. One essential piece of reading would be Las Añadas en el Marco de Jerez, by Ibañez and Perez, and I would also highly recommend the mother of all below the line discussions between those two, Fernando Angulo and Alvaro Giron. Other places to hunt around would be:
- Elmundovino, which in addition to being the best source for reviews of Spanish wine, also has some great discussions in the “sobremesa” section with great articles by Victor de la Serna, Paz Ivison, Alvaro Giron Sierra and Jesus Barquin, amongst others. Almost more importantly, their historic catas – all carried out fully blind – of Oloroso, More Oloroso, Finos y manzanillas, More finos y manzanillas, Palo cortado, Amontillados, More amontillados, Even more finos y manzanillas, PX, More PX, and Even more PX are an excellent guide to what is what, largely unaffected by current fashions, and a couple of more recent catas – one controversial, one less so – have included some of the newest stuff too. (Although all in Spanish, they use a 20 point scoring system which is easy enough to understand).
- The Vila Viniteca blog, as befits one of the top Spanish wine merchants, carries some top class stuff. Quim Vila is a big big sherry man, and their blog pulls in people like Alvaro Giron Sierra (who contributed one of the best posts I have read to date) and Pedro Ballesteros of Gonzalez Byass.
- Enoarquia is an absolutely excellent blog by a group of knowledgeable wine enthusiasts that cover wines from all over Spain and the world but have put together an excellent collection of articles about the wines of Jerez and Sanlucar. I don’t know who these guys are but based on the photos on their blog we have been at the same tastings a fair bit.
- Spanish wine lover is a superb site and a great resource, with some brilliant articles on cutting edge winemakers, bodegas and (ahem) tabernas. Even better, it is bilingual (but still gets in the Spanish list in its own right.)
- Rooster Cogburn, a group of knowledgeable, passionate, maverick, and frankly mental characters who write a free magazine with no publicity and uncertain periodicity which, admittedly, may not feature much sherry, but is certainly infused with the right attitude.
An English speaking fan of these wines is not going to be short of options either. Luis Gutierrez, of The Wine Advocate, is a genuine expert and an excellent writer and I am very much looking forward to his report on the area at the end of April. Andrew Jefford, writing in Decanter appears to be coming around, and Julia Harding on Jancis Robinson also seems to know what is what. One excellent source mentioned above is Spanish Wine Lover, an excellent bilingual site that has some great writing and information about sherry amongst many others.
More importantly, there are some excellent English language sherry bloggers out there. Here are some favourites:
- Sherry Notes an excellent, far more thoroughly researched blog than mine – lots of great backgrounders on bodegas, wine styles, issues like terroir etc,
- Paula’s Sherry Blog one of the most encyclopaedic blogs in terms of wines tasted – just look at the list
- criadera.com, an absolute gem of a blog from Scotland which radiates enthusiasm,
- The Vine Inspiration, by Paddy Murphy (no relation, I understand, to the great founder of Domecq) and while not a sherry blog the man loves sherry alright
- Sherry Sips, some very nice writing and a great collection of links
- The Whisky Kiwi has a blog based on Montilla Moriles which looks great if you prefer the fuller bodied, high glycerol px wines
- The Sherry Blog, a newer blog that does exactly what it says on the tin
- Discover Sherry, a bilingual blog which has some fantastic information on events, tastings, expos etc in particular
And I am sure I have forgotten more than I have remembered. Apologies to the other great authors and bloggers, and if anyone has a suggestion for someone I have missed please drop me a line or a comment.