Do you usually reach for a glass of dry white wine with a bowl of nuts, dips or olives on a summer’s evening? Then it’s time to consider a glass of ice-cold ‘tan frio’ fino or manzanilla sherry instead – don’t worry, it’s still served in a wine glass.
Enjoying a renaissance after years in the doldrums, the trend for Spanish restaurants, tapas bars and smaller plates of food with salty bites such as cured sausage, manchego cheese and shellfish has spurred our thirst for something bone dry, cold and tangy.
Unbeatable value and a good introductory style to woo you in the right direction, Morrisons Fino Sherry (£5, 75cl, Morrisons) has typical savoury flavours with a lovely yeasty tang and a crisp, fresh finish.
A classic that always comes tops in tastings, The Society’s Fino (£6.25, 75cl, www.thewinesociety.com) is made for them by Sanchez Romate, one of the few remaining family-owned bodegas and will have you reaching for a jamon sandwich in no time. Distinct, bready aromas, a fresh, citrus element and notes of salty almonds make this reviving when the sun comes out.
A handy half bottle with a screwcap and perfect for picnics, Bodegas Gutierrez Colosia Fino Sherry (£8.49, 37.5cl, www.laithwaites.co.uk) displays a little more richness and complexity with nutty notes and dried fruits on the deep, savoury finish.
Meanwhile, a more delicate, lighter version of its fino cousin, a manzanilla such as Barbadillo Solear Manzanilla (£4.75, 37.5cl, Waitrose) is achingly dry but just as delectable. Bright and brisk with saline and almond on the tangy finish, there’s a citrus fruit note to make you want to pair it with fried squid or garlic prawns.
Another alternative from Bodegas Barbadillo in the coastal town of Sanlucar de Barrameda, the family-owned winery also produce Tesco Finest Manzanilla Sherry (£6, 50cl, Tesco) which is bright and balanced with round fruit notes and salty, tangy aromas ending with a lovely, salty kick on the dry finish.
Multi-layered and more complex, pasada manzanilla sherries are aged for longer and styles such as Hidalgo Pastrana Manzanilla Pasada (£10.50, 75cl, www.thewinesociety.com) share the same saltiness but with deep, savoury fruit, toasty nuances and a nice nuttiness adding to its saline charm.
Now, if these pale, dry palominos have still not convinced you that they can sit alongside a glass of albarino (the trendy white wine from Galicia), or a pinot grigio, why not try Berry Bros & Rudd Amontillado Medium Dry (£13.95, 75cl, www.bbr.com). A fino that’s come of age, it’s darker and richer from further barrel ageing and should be enjoyed slightly chilled. With hazelnut aromas and soft fruitcake flavours, it goes extremely well with iberico ham, aged comte, and can be drizzled into consomme or thicker soups.