Sherryfest – Old and Rare Sherries
Sherryfest – Old and Rare Sherries was Sherryfest‘s last afternoon seminar. Beltran Domeq, Consejor Regulador of the Jerez Sherry Region, started off this session of Sherryfest discussing VOS and VORS Sherries, a certification created in 2000. Sr. Domeq is a regular participant and speaker at Sherryfest. VOS, Very Old Sherries, are 20+ years old. VORS, Very Old Rare Sherries, are 30+ years old. The former categorization was Old and Old Plus. They are between 20-22% alcohol. The older the sherry, the darker, so you will never see a 20-year old-Fino. Mainly, you will see the range of Amontillado to Pedro Ximinez in this category. Their determination is made by a three-tier strategy – blind tasting, analytical perimeters involving stuff like Carbon 14, and a shipping quota of less than 5%. If you want to know more about Sherry, go to my page, Have a Sherry Party.
Sherry evaporates from the solera system at an average rate of 4% per year. So, think about that. In its 20 year history, a VOS will lose 55% of its quantity. Isn’t that amazing??? Sherryfest did such a great job informing its audience by such wonderful speakers delivering relevant and significant facts.
Borja Leal of Sanchez Romate was the first to present. Founded in 1781 and still a family-owned business, it is one of the oldest in Spain. Sanchez Romate makes sherry, sherry brandy and sherry vinegar. Bodegas Tradicion’s Lorenzo Garcia-Iglesias spoke about his company. Sr. Garcia-Iglesias also spoke at our sherry pairing dinner at our Trou Normand Sherryfest dinner. Bodegas Tradicion produces only 18 VOS products.
Rosemary Gray, found of Sherryfest and owner of Flatiron Wine and Spirits tells me that her store gets only three bottle allocation of some of these wines. I feel SO special and so fortunate to taste these amazing sherries. So on to the tasting –
Sanchez Romate Amontillado Old & Plus or VOS – This is their high end category. Aged 20+ years in American casks, this amber almond oak tasting sherry is great for appetizers.
Williams & Humber Amontillado Jalifa VORS was next. At 19.5% alcohol, this sherry was clean and citrusy with both a dryness and sweetness which is hard to believe since there is little or no sugar in this sherry.
Barbadillo‘s Palo Cortado VORS, served at Trou Normand’s amazing Sherryfest dinner, is dark amber and 22% alcohol. It smells of caramel and walnuts with a sharp, woody taste.
Sanchez Romate Oloroso Old & Plus VORS has a full oak nose, with a complex full body. It’s aged in 30-100 year old barrels and is great to serve with meat and mushrooms.
Bodega Tradicion Oloroso VORS is pale for its age with a caramel taste. It’s great for pork and game or even charcuterie, basically anything greasy. The Oloroso cleans the pallet.
Sanchez Romate served a Moscatel Ambrosia which has been aged 15 years. It smells like a port and is raisin in color. There are hints of orange and jasmine. It’s sweet and dense at 18% alcohol.
Bodega Tradicion served our last sample of Pedro Ximenez VOS, great over ice cream. It’s a very rich, syrupy wine, more thick than port, so I personally don’t find it drinkable but eminently pourable over a delightful dessert.
I was so honored to be a part of Sherryfest. The sherries served were extraordinary and extremely difficult to acquire, but the knowledge given will help me to understand sherry better and purchase some exceptional sherries in the future.