Eating & Drinking: Not to be trifled with

I don't know about the briny infiltrations, but I do know that a good Manzanilla is a thing of beauty

STOCK MARKET investors sometimes look for "value" shares - those that are out of favour and therefore cheaper than they ought to be. As far as I'm aware, there is no comparable breed of wine drinker. Hell, if you're not going to drink what you want to drink, there isn't much point in drinking. But there certainly are "value" buys. And if you asked 10 aficionados to name their top three, I bet all of them would include sherry. Sherry is a perennial "value" wine because we don't drink as much as we should and therefore prices are too low.

How else to explain what they're doing over at Majestic, where there's a new line of sherries from Hidalgo in Sanlcar de Barrameda? The full prices, which apply from 3 August, range from pounds 4.99 (for their Fino) to pounds 8.99 for an old Pedro Ximenez Viejo Napoleon. Until then, there's 50p or pounds 1 off each one.

For wines of this quality, the reduced prices are a steal; and none is more larcenous than the tangy Manzanilla La Gitana, a wine that usually sells for more than pounds 6. At Majestic, for now, it's just pounds 4.99. That's

cheaper than many a dull, over-oaked Australian Chardonnay with one tenth the character and one fiftieth the quality.

And the offer is particularly tasty at the moment because fino and Manzanilla are the bee's knees of summery aperitifs. The difference between the two is geographical: Manzanilla is a fino produced in Sanlcar rather than Jerez. Since Sanlcar perches right on the ocean (with seafood restaurants you'd kill to have lunch at), ocean breezes make the climate cooler and more even in temperature than the Jerez bodegas. They also, it is often claimed, impart to the ageing sherries a salty tang.

I don't know about the briny infiltrations, but I do know that a good Manzanilla is a thing of beauty. And that there are huge differences between wines from the various Sanlcar bodegas, even when they're separated in space by no more than a sardine's throw.

This latter point was borne home by one of the few methodical tastings I forced myself to do at the recent London Wine Trade Fair. The LWTF fills Olympia for a few days every May - tens of thousands of wines and spirits under a single roof, a sight that makes me want to turn around immediately I walk in the door.

I did manage to stick with the 20 Manzanillas on show at the Sherry Institute of Spain, however. And boy, was I glad I did. The wines ranged from the best-known style, young wines of pale colour, to the older Manzanillas Pasadas and Amontilladas, which take on a more sombre hue and a greater weight of nuts-and-dried-fruit flavours.

There were a few bummers but many more happy surprises, and none happier than the gorgeous Manzanilla Aurora from Pedro Romero. This producer rarely climbs on to anyone's list of major Manzanillas, which makes me realise that oversights still happen. Aurora is sublime, with a full range of flavours which easily justify its price tag (about pounds 9.50). Almonds and sultanas, creamy mouth-feel, tongue-warming alcohol - if you want a taste, ring the Exclusive Brandy Club (0169 773744).

Close contenders for first place in my tasting notes are the Solear Manzanilla Barbadillo (pounds 7.65, Safeway and independents), with a sharp cutting edge of acidity, and Valdespino Manzanilla Deliciosa (Lea & Sandeman, 0171 376 4767), with abundant tang and an exceptionally long finish. The name ain't hype. Price, about pounds 6.95. Incidentally, these prices, fair though they are, should make you realise what a bargain La Gitana represents at Majestic.

There were a few interesting appearances in the spirits section of the LWTF, on some of which I'll be reporting after making further enquiries. One that I'll probably not investigate is a curious spirit called Manx. This colourless fluid is made in the Isle of Man by removing the colour and the "impurities" from whisky, thus (supposedly) turning it into a drink you can chug all evening without suffering the next day. It's a clear attempt (no pun intended) to capitalise on the turn from whisky to vodka, but I fail to see the point. Why not drink vodka instead? Or, better still, one of those glorious Manzanillas.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
film
News
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
tv
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor