The highly respected Spanish wine writer Luis Gutierrez says of sherry: ‘Sherry is not the type of wine you immediately like, it’s more of an acquired taste….but once you are in, you’re hooked’ In Ireland our experience of sherry has often been about sad bottles brought out at Christmas and served to elderly relatives: You might think of sherry as a dusty remnant of the past, but you would be very wrong. In the world of wine, sherry is currently one of the most interesting and delicious styles to explore. One of the producers that has helped create huge excitement around sherry is Equipo Navazos.
Equipo Navazos started out as an informal group of sherry connoisseurs; they sought out obscure and interesting wines that were sitting almost forgotten in the cellars of some of the great sherry houses. Sherry was unfashionable for a period and there were many aged sherries that had sat unsold waiting to be rediscovered. Equipo Navazos would purchase a barrel of a 20 year old Amontillado (for example) then arrange for it to be bottled. The original bottlings were tiny and circulated amongst a group of about 30 enthusiasts. Word spread about these extraordinary sherries and from 2005 onwards these started to be more widely available, although every bottling is still tiny.
Sherry can seem confusing because it is not just one, but many types of wine from Jerez in Spain. It ranges from pale, elegant and bone dry through to rich, dark and sweet. Great sherry has a savoury note that separates it from most other wines: This obscure salt / umami element is difficult to tie down, but it helps to define the very best sherry. I would urge anyone with a serious interest in wine to try some of the extraordinary sherries from Equipo Navazos. Many wine critics have been blown away by these sherries and I am sure you will be as well.