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Food & Drink

Sherry – a must try when in Seville

Hardly considered a staple in an average drinks cabinet, sherry is a drink that often goes under the radar, especially in a younger demographic. A trip to Seville could help change all that, though.

Made in south-western Spain, in an area called the Sherry Triangle, close to the sea and not far from Seville, sherry is produced from either Palomino or Pedro Ximenez grapes.

A glass of sherry and jamen serrano at restaurant Flores in Seville. Photo: Reece Iveson

Unlike other wines, it doesn’t have vintages – instead, the young wine is blended with older wine, with barrels arranged in tiers according to their age (oldest on the bottom row). 

Try a glass of sherry together with Spanish tapas. Photo: Reece Iveson

The other unusual aspect is that the younger, drier sherries, such as fino and manzanilla, are aged in the barrel under a layer of yeast called flor, in a process known as biological aging. These sherries have a pale colour, with a nutty flavour.

Amontillado and palo cortado are both first aged biologically and later oxidized in the barrel, like regular wines, producing a light yet complex drink. Meanwhile, oloroso is only aged oxidatively, and has a darker, golden colour and richer flavour. Pedro Ximénez is a sweet wine with a raisin-like taste.

In Seville you can order a glass of sherry in almost any bar – try matching it with tapas. At the city’s Feria de Abril (April Fair), a huge week-long party, everyone drinks manzanillasherry and dances till dawn.

In addition, Sherry Week is a worldwide celebration of this wine which takes place every November. In thousands of bars, restaurants and shops around the world, you can taste it at special events. Salud!

 Here are 5 places you should check out:

Creative dishes and a wide sherry selection is found at Palo Cortao. Photo: Reece Iveson

The best sherry selection in Seville

Sherry-lovers know that it goes beautifully with food – you just need to maridar (pair) the right sherry with each dish. The general rule is, if it swims (fish and seafood), pair with fino or manzanilla. If it flies (fowl), take an amontillado and if it runs (red meat), then go for oloroso. At this tapas bar near the Setas, Ana and Angel serve tasty, creative dishes, with an accent on seafood, along with 80-odd sherries, including the eponymous rare palo cortado, named after the “cut stick” symbol used for mark barrels destined to be fino, but which lose their flor and age oxidatively.

Palo Cortao

Calle Mercedes de Villa 4, Seville

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The sherry mixologists

As well as being versatile with food, sherry works as a great cocktail ingredient too. Centrally located next to Plaza Nueva, this lively night spot (though it’s open from 3pm, olé!) features a great selection of imaginative combinations, from the not-for-the-faint-hearted Sherroni (fino, amontillado, Martini and vermouth) to the refreshing-with-a-punch Flamenco de Paola (oloroso, orange and lemon juices, and ginger ale). Look out for the wall diagram explaining the sherry-making process, from grapes through aging to each different type of finished wine.

Premier Sherry Cocktail Bar

Calle Jaen 1C, Seville

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Join the locals for a glass of sherry at Las Teresas. Photo: Reece Iveson

Tiles and hams

You can’t come to Seville without visiting a traditional ceramic-tiled ham hanging bar. Join the locals under the yellow haunches of jamón iberico (Iberian cured ham), as they sip their ice-cold manzanilla and nibble mojama (dried tuna). Ask for the Tio Pepe en Rama – the connoisseur’s choice. This is a limited-edition unfiltered version of the famous fino sherry (think of the logo of a man in a black jacket, red hat and guitar).

Las Teresas

Calle Santa Teresa 2, Seville

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A Sevillano institution

Enrique, the owner of the Enrique Becerra is the picture of hospitable bonhomie, at this venerable tapas bar located between Plaza Nueva and the Arenal district. The traditional Triana tiles outside are balanced by a light, modern indoor space, with much-loved favourites such as carillada (pork cheek) and cola de toro (bull’s tail stew) – try matching them with Alfonso oloroso.

Enrique Becerra

Calle Gamazo 2, Seville

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Flores Gourmet has an impressive collection of different sherry. Photo: Reece Iveson

Check out the crowd

Perfect for people watching, with its large pavement terrace, you’ll find an impressive range of vinos de Jerez (sherry wines) at this shop-restaurant on Calle San Pablo – four shelves packed with amontillados, olorosos and manzanillas to drink or take away (we love the Cayetano de Pino palo cortado). Try a plate of salchichón and chorizo (cold pork sausage), or cheese, while daily specials might include chickpea and prawn stew, or dogfish and tomato.

Flores Gourmet

Calle San Pablo 24, Seville

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Open all day from 9am.

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