In the vinuous straitjacket that France can bizarrely be, sherry or Xeres, comme ils le disent, makes few inroads. When I say few, I am exaggerating wildly; it makes none.
I have long been born and raised to the merits of Fino and its coastal sibling Manzanilla. There are few wines I esteem more in an everyday sense, and have long held that a magic Manzanilla and almond machine would be my Desert Island Disc luxury, while I listen to a never-ending repeat of Nick Drake’s “Saturday Sun.”
But there is one better. In all these years, I cannot remember ever deliberately and decisively tasting Amontillado, and certainly nothing as devastatingly good as Valdespino’s Tio Diego Amontillado. There was of course, the acetaldehyde that so marks fino and its biological ageing under flor, but there was also great depth. Fino and Manzanilla refresh and lighten with their zip and zest. This Amontillado makes you think.
Interestingly, a week on, justement, that acetaldehyde had faded just a little. Like all manzanillas and finos, best out of a cold, half bottle for immediate, life changing verve.