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
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
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.

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine