Sherry can break the ennui

Sherry can break the ennui


Who: Taylor Wine Company
What: Dry Sherry
Where: Canandaigua, New York
Why: As an aperitif or with dinner and dessert
How much: $9

My wine drinking seems to be routine right now. Everything picked up recently is a red blend from California. There are many other interesting wines available, and it's difficult to admit I am suffering from "wine ennui syndrome." No, this isn't a real syndrome, but it very well could be in the wine world.

Wine ennui can be described as wine drinkers finding a varietal they enjoy and that's the end of it — the search is over. We continue to drink the same thing over and over and forget to be adventurous and try something new. I am guilty of this myself, so a decision was made. It is time to deal with this syndrome and get some help. Picking up my laptop, I pulled up Wine Folly (if you're not familiar with it, check it out). I did some research and made a list of wines I wanted to try. I am on a mission.

Upon entering the liquor store this past week, I ventured to the dark side and visited the Moscato aisle. I'm not saying Moscato isn't worthy, just saying it's not one of my favorites and I rarely drink it. I kept moving forward past the champagnes, sparkling types and dessert wines. It felt like wine ennui therapy. You know, facing my fears and coming to terms with my insecurities. I was feeling anxious and a bit nervous, but knew this was something I had to do. I reached down and grabbed a bottle of Taylor Dry Sherry. This is totally foreign to me, but knew if I wanted to achieve wine health and knowledge, it must be done.

While making dinner, I twisted the screw cap and poured the sherry into a glass. I didn't even have to put my nose to it to catch the heavy aroma of alcohol. In checking the bottle, it's listed at 18% ABV. I guess that's why you're supposed to sip it. With my first sip, the taste of alcohol burned in the back of my throat, combined with a nice fruity sweetness, making it quite tasty.

Sherry is a fortified white wine, which means a distilled spirit (usually brandy) has been added. The best sherry is made in one tiny corner of the world in Southern Spain. Andalucia is the one place where wind, humidity, soil and seasonal changes create the character found in wines produced there. Depending upon personal taste, there are several styles of sherry to choose from: Fino and Manzanilla (very light); Amontillado (an aged Fino); Palo Cortado (richer, more intense); and Oloroso (oxidized wine). Simply "dry" sherry, though, has slightly more sugar (5-45g per liter) than all of these. Various styles of "cream" sherry" have yet more (45g-140g/L), right up to "sweet" sherry and "Moscatel" sherry, which both have more than 160 grams per liter of sugar.

The Taylor Dry Sherry I tried is an inexpensive brand made in New York with about 10g/L of sugar. "Sherry" in America is a generic term, whereas in Europe and the rest of the world it is a protected term indicating a fortified wine made from that small region of Spain, much like Champagne means sparkling wine from a small region of France. Recently, Australian and Canadian "sherry" makers have started calling their product "apera," though the people who buy it still call it "sherry."

But Taylor is a good place to start for comparison purposes. Try serving sherry over ice as an aperitif or slightly chilled with a savory entree of chicken or seafood. This wine will even move to dessert and complement the sweetness perfectly. Because it's fortified, it lasts longer and is good to keep on hand for cooking too.

This was a successful trial. And to make sure I don't relapse back into wine ennui syndrome, I plan to venture down many different aisles in the liquor store from now on. It will be a compelling adventure with new discoveries to share.