Spanish showdown: Sherry and Montilla in Beijing

– By Jim Boyce

The Friday night wine tasting at Sequoia Café on January 25 featured three fortified wines from the Sherry region and two unfortified wines from nearby Montilla.

Sherry tastings are rare in Beijing – the only other I have attended was the launch of the Greater China Sherry Association.

We tasted the wines in the following order (I’ve included, in quotations, comments from other patrons):

Bodegas Almocaden Fino Paquiro Sherry NV (15%)
Green apple and floral scents, with a slight sweet body: it had a nice mouth feel, though a bit bland in terms of flavors. / “It’s not completely dry, it’s too sweet for Sherry – it is rounder, fuller, sweeter” – AL

Lustau Solera Reserva Puerto Fino Sherry
Baked apples on the nose, this was drier than the first, though a bit one-dimensional. / “So-so” – AL

Fino En Rama Montilla Moriles 2003 (15%)
This had a nice balance of alcohol to body. / “This is the best” – AL

Lustau Solera Reserva Capataz Andres Sherrry Deluxe Cream (20%)
This smelled a bit syrupy, a bit like Grand Marnier, with a sweet finish. / “It has a bit of citrus-y smell, like orange peel.” – ER

Pedro Ximinez Alvear Solera Montilla Moriles 1927
Sweet, viscous, dark candy apple, almost a little oily; a long finish but syrupy. / “Burnt caramel – I like this one a lot” – PS

We finished up with some Taillan XO Brandy, bottled in China by winemaker Alain Leroux, and ventured beyond the point of note-taking…

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