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The Versatility of Sherry

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					The Versatility of Sherry
In 1940, the war in Europe had cut off supplies of French wines and only
a trickle of spirituous liquors was coming into the American market.
Importers turned en masse to California for a marketable source of
revenue. Men carrying brief cases were a familiar sight in the vineyard
valleys. They came with gold and promises of nationwide distribution.
Their offers were irresistible to all but a few, those few who today can
still call their souls their own.
Wine, unlike whiskey, gin, and beer, depends upon inventories built up
patiently from vineyards that are extended slowly. The product itself is
only as good as the grapes that give it life and the patient care that
gives it quality. Tremendous gallon-age is necessary for nationwide
distribution.
It is true that you can buy many of the finer wines in the principal
cities of the land but you will not find them on the shelves of every
little cork and bottle shop in even the largest metropolitan areas. This
is not an unusual situation with the products of any creative industry.
Wines that are widely advertised and distributed in seeming limitless
quantity are certainly a pleasant beverage, but you will not find, in
many of them those qualities which have excited the admiration of
discriminating hosts down through the ages. Obviously, rare and versatile
wines are harder to find and are much more costly than widely distributed
wines.
Sherry is one of the most versatile of all wines, much like Chardonnay,
both in its range of sweetness and dryness and in its uses. The most
famous Sherry in the world once was Harvey's Bristol Cream, and it was
also one of the sweetest. It was too sweet for anything but dessert
service or to accompany little cakes in afternoon hospitality, however.
At the other end of the line is dry Amontillado, a Sherry completely
without sweetness. A perfect aperitif, it is the most suitable of all
pre-prandial drinks.
There is no such thing as a "cooking Sherry" or, for that matter, a
"cooking wine." "Cooking wine" is the most expensive wine you can afford
for that purpose. When heat is applied to wine or any other alcoholic
beverage, the alcohol completely disappears in vapor because it is
evanescent, leaving only the intrinsic flavor of the product. What is
left is no better than the flavor of the wine and naturally, the better
the wine, the better its flavor.
Moscato Amabile, not to be confused with Muscat, is made in the Spanish
manner, a solera process. An old wine of the type desired is laid down as
the "mother cask." Each successive year a wine of the same type is laid
down next to it, until a series of casks is established.
Sherry, when blended, happily takes on the characteristics of the oldest
wine in the blend. All the wine that is sold or removed is taken from the
mother cask, but never more than half. The mother cask is then refilled
from the cask next to it and so on all the way back down the line.
Sarah Martin is a freelance marketing writer based out of San Diego, CA.
She specializes in travel, leisure, home improvement, life insurance, and
fine wines. She enjoys traveling, gardening, and trying new wines in her
free time. For one of the world's largest selections of wine, please
visit http://www.wineaccess.com

				
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posted:10/19/2010
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