I know what you’re thinking.
Sherry? Sherry, as in Granny’s cheeky Christmas tipple, the housewife’s favourite, that dusty bottle two-thirds full at the back of the drinks cupboard?
Nope. Think again.
If you’ve ever been to Spain and remember that first sip of dry, ice-cold fino sherry with a plate of Jamón Ibérico, then you will be nearer the mark. Today, sherry is more about food pairings and cocktails than it is about doilies and the Queen’s speech; this class will get you up to speed.
We were met by Paul & Bel, owners of The Tapas Room - a family of tapas bars and wine shops across Tooting, Deptford, Brixton, Battersea and Peckham. You can tell the venues are siblings but they each have a unique personality; Peckham has a cosy downstairs dining/events area perfect for small classes such as this, where you really feel involved.
Sophie Crawshaw and Hamish Irvine Robertson from Moreno Wines started with a brief overview of sherry and its origins before leading us through five different Diez Mérito sherries, from the mouth-puckeringly dry Manzanilla - my personal favourite - through to a Pedro Ximenez so sweet that you could (and they do) pour it over ice cream as a sauce.
The wines were accompanied by a generous plate of delicious cheese and charcuterie tapas together with dishes of olives and almonds, perfect partners for the sherries.
The class was relaxed and informal with plenty of chatting but some fascinating tips and tricks: how to taste wine (thankfully nobody suggested spitting it out!), how to swirl it and notice the streaks down the side of the glass, called tears or legs, that indicate how much alcohol and sugar is in the wine, and a great hack for matching sherries to different kinds of food:
If it swims – Fino or Manzanilla
If it flies – Amontillado or Palo Cortado
If it runs – Oloroso
How cool is that?
I came away from this evening having had a thoroughly good time, determined to come back and try more of the tapas and with a new respect for, and interest in, sherries. Check Design My Night for the next class, or just head to one of the Tapas Rooms and try some for yourself; after all, you’ll now be able to match them like a pro.
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Chatting Food Contributor: Amanda David
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