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Sherry

What is it about Sherry that holds a certain taboo? Rearing its lonely head around Christmas only to be put back on the dusty shelf once the festive period is over. It’s nonsense! We find that a good Sherry can help accommodate any situation, no matter what time of year.

For example, our Barbadillo Amontillado is a richly nutty sherry that has lingering elements of spice and fills you with a warm fuzzy feeling to help melt away that frostbitten heart and start you off right for the year ahead.

Of course it wouldn’t be England without a little bit of drizzle every now and then, but picture yourself being comforted by the sound of rain tapping at your window, feeling the warmth from inside your home and a glass of Barbadillo Pale Cream. A gently almond-y, freshly-baked-bread-dream, it’ll find you floating away on a little cloud of joy, as you gaze, unconcerned, at the rain-filled forecast.

But the defining thing about this country’s weather is that it is predictably unpredictable. Nobody ever knows whether to grab their mac or strip off entirely (woah there Nelly). So our next Sherry is the compromise – both caramel-driven and dry, toasty yet breezy, it is an utter joy and no fair-weather friend… We call it the happy medium and we think every British home should have one.

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  1. Barbadillo Amontillado Spanish Sherry

    Barbadillo Amontillado Sherry NV

    £9.50

    £9.50

    ‘This porridge is too hot!’… ‘This porridge is too cold!’… ‘This porridge is just right.’ So said Goldilocks, before being quite rightly evicted by three disgruntled homeowners...

    Luckily for them she hadn't found their bottle of Barbadillo Amontadillo Sherry! We can't imagine she would have been so quick to find faults with this ones deep amber colour and complex aromas and flavours of dried fruit. Mmm...this sounds just right to us!

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  2. Manzanilla Barbadillo

    Barbadillo Manzanilla Sherry

    £8.75

    £8.75

    Does anything recycle its own refuse quite as romantically as wine does? Crusted Port springs to mind, as does Muscadet Sur Lie, but Manzanilla Sherry takes the slightly salty biscuit.

    As it ages in oak, its light and tangy character is protected from oxidation by the natural formation of a layer of yeast called flor, which seals the surface of the wine and feeds on its compounds and alcohol.

    Oak ageing enables water to evaporate through the wood, maintaining the wine's alcoholic percentage, as well as its delicate body, tanginess and tapas-friendly salty tinge. Bloomin' 'eck, who'd have thought of that? That's what we call flor-ed genius!

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  3. Barbadillo Manzanilla Solear Sherry NV

    Barbadillo Manzanilla Solear Sherry NV

    £6.25

    £6.25

    We have some riddles for you.

    “Voiceless it cries, wingless flutters; toothless it bites, mouthless mutters.” What is it? The wind.

    “It’s salty but pleasant, dry but refreshing, small but mighty.” What is it? Solear Manzanilla by Antonio Barbadillo of course!

    Yes, don’t be fooled by its size, there is a whole lotta dry, nutty, sea-salty goodness in this wee bottle. One to watch Almovodar films and pick at olives with.

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  4. Barbadillo Pale Cream Fortified Wine Sherry

    Barbadillo Pale Cream Sherry

    £9.50

    £9.50

    With the light fluffiness of a cloud, combined with the delicate, mesmeric nuances of almonds and freshly baked baguettes, this is a little dream of a Sherry. Hints of coconut enter the gentle fray, from the American oak used in the Solera ageing casks.

    We’re not trying to psychically drive you or anything (we’ve been watching too much pseudo-psychoanalytical TV, clearly), but were you to serve up a desert of homemade crème brülée, this would go really rather well.

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  5. Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Gran Reserva Sherry 1986 - Half Bottle 375ml

    We’re trying to think of ways to describe this well-aged Pedro Ximenex that don’t have us cooing and gushing like some over-excitable newlyweds. Darn it, we just can’t help it: we are in love with this wine and we want the world to know!

    Here are some words we think of, as we gaze into the rich, dark depths in our glass: cocoa, liquorice, tobacco pouch, rosemary, black olives, Arabic coffee, vanilla and cinnamon. But how feeble words sound compared to the immeasurable depth of feeling in our hearts. We need to sit down.

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  6. Gonzalez Byass Del Duque Amontillado Sherry 30 Year Old

    Sometimes we really wonder how certain winemaking techniques were arrived at. Sherry making techniques in particular.

    After fortifying the wine to halt the alcoholic fermentation and keep it sweet (fair enough), someone must have then thought, ‘what if we let it sit in a wooden tub for, maybe, five, no no… ten, sod it make that thirty years. Yup, then let’s see what it tastes like then’.

    Well, these bonkers Andalusians, whoever they are, were obviously geniuses with much acumen, as this is precisely the way to produce moreish, almost umami-tasting Amontillado like this.

    The 30 years in American oak casks has transformed the humble Palomino grape into an unctuous, vanilla, cedar and fig-flavour bonanza of a Sherry. Three cheers for the vinous vanguard!

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  7. Gonzalez Byass Solera 1847, Oloroso Dulce

    Gonzalez Byass Solera 1847 Oloroso Dulce Sherry

    £13.75

    £13.75

    ‘I’m rich. Rich rich rich,’ sung Karen O in The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s track ‘Rich’, from their brilliant 2003 debut album, Fever to Tell. But was Karen sanguinely singing about her financial status, or had she penned lyrics from the perspective of the Solera 1847 Oloroso Dulce?

    We’ll leave that question to you, but what we will say is she must have had a very enjoyable time writing the song, because the Solera 1847 is awash with flavours of raisins, vanilla and salty caramel. Let’s just hope she had some good cheese, for Pete’s sake.

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  8. Gonzalez Byass Vina AB Amontillado Seco

    Gonzalez Byass Vina AB Amontillado Seco Sherry

    £13.75

    £13.75

    Rather brilliantly, Antonio Flores, the Master Blender at Gonzales Byass since 1980, was conceived in the room above the Tio Pepe cellar in Jerez...

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  9. Leonor Palo Cortado Sherry

    Leonor Palo Cortado Sherry

    £14.00

    £14.00

    Like a lot of Sherries, Palo Cortado likes to breathe. A lot. It is exposed to air for the entirety of its 12 year ageing in the Leonor Solera ageing system. And, as with humans, a large dose of fresh air does it the world of good and (unlike humans) it develops the most extraordinary hazelnut, toasty oak and caramel flavours but, despite this seemingly sweet flavour profile, is completely, delightfully dry.

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  10. Lustau Manzanilla 'Papirusa' 37.5cl

    Turbid the Crap Viking and his men were lost. Despite the GPS, his longship bumped into the coast of Britain. They parked their boat near the closest wine shop and attacked.

    The staff distracted the thirsty marauders with a beautifully dry sherry that was apple scented yet also reminded them of the salty sea air.

    The manager informed them it was called Manzanilla. They were so amazed by this stunning drink that they decided to give up vikingry, helped restock the shelves on Wednesdays and intimidate people with their new found knowledge of fine sherries.

    Thus their not -so-scary leader became known as Turbid The Vineking for evermore.

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  11. Lustau Moscatel Emilin NV 37.5cl

    Lustau Moscatel Emilin Sherry NV - Half Bottle 375ml

    £11.50

    £11.50

    Sherry is now out of the dusty cupboard and prancing around in trendy bars again (...can you use trendy as a current description of what's upmarket now?). Anyway, don't let all the cool cats in London have all the fun. Sherry is groovy. Sherry is 'with it'. Sherry...ah balls to these on trend terms. Burn the berets. Sherry is simply GREAT.

    This wine is a rare Moscatel version. It has a similar sweetness to the rich PX but is pale in colour. It's sweet dried fruit notes are balanced by citrus and floral flavours. And we sell it. Because we are the coolest, hippest wine shops in town!

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  12. Nectar Pedro Ximenez

    Nectar Pedro Ximenez Sherry

    £14.00

    £14.00

    Oozing with dried prune, fig and caramel flavours, the Gonzalez Byass Nectar PX is heady stuff and is made with loving care by the very talented Anotonio Flores, who adroitly says: “How often do you smell something that takes you back to a moment or a person that you loved, or you fell in love with once upon a time? Every perfume changes on every different woman. Every woman smells differently even when wearing the same perfume. And it is the same with wine. Every wine is different when tasted by different people"

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  13. Tio Pepe

    Tio Pepe Sherry - Half Bottle 375ml

    £6.50

    £6.50

    Antonio Flores Pedregosa is truly the nabob, the poo-bah, even the muckety-muck of Tio Pepe, one of the most esteemed wine blenders in the whole of Jerez. His father preceded him at the helm of the operation, and he grew up with Tio Pepe, he lived and breathed Tio Pepe, he was born and even conceived at the Tio Pepe winery. From an early age, then, he wanted nothing more than to be a journalist. Oh. Well, journalism's loss is our gain and instead of articles we have news of this delightful, almond-tinged, yeasty and piquant dry sherry.

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  14. Williams and Humbert Alegria Manzanilla NV

    Williams and Humbert Alegria Manzanilla Sherry NV

    £5.50

    £5.50

    ***2013 IWC Gold, 2013 IWC Trophy, 2013 IWSC Silver, 2013 Decanter Bronze***

    Paola Medina Sheldon. The name might not sit at the front of your mind, although we're not sure if she's ever surfaced from her studies long enough to introduce herself.

    She's the Head Winemaker at Williams and Humbert, a post she took up after obtaining separate degrees in Chemistry and Oenology, and Masters' degrees in Viticulture, Oenology and Legislation. Blimey, our Woodwork 'O' Level certificate can come off the wall now!

    We think she's just about qualified to make this elegant, nutty and salt-tinged Manzanilla. And she'd more than likely be able to take you to the cleaners if you disagreed.

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