We know what you're thinking: “Sherry? That's what my nan used to drink at barbecues and funerals.” Well, it turns out your nan was onto something. Despite its old-fashioned image, sherry is a fantastic and versatile wine that comes in a variety of styles and flavours. [fold]
Frank Dilernia knows this. That's why he opened Tapavino last year. Located in Bulletin Place near Circular Quay, Tapavino is Sydney's very own sherry bar and serves over 60 varieties of the Spanish wine. Since opening, it has become a favourite of those seeking to relive memories of languid Spanish holidays, or those just keen to explore the wonderful world of sherry.
So what exactly is sherry? “Sherry is a wine made in a specific part of the south of Spain, the Marco de Jerez [sherry is an English derivative of Jerez],” explains Dilernia. “It’s a fortified wine, which means that neutral grape spirits are added to bring it up to a minimum alcohol level of 15 per cent.”
Sherry is then aged for a minimum of two to three years (often much longer). As Dilernia explains, “After ageing in barrels, a sherry is produced into different styles – dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet and sweet. Those styles then fall into categories – Fino, Amontillado, Palo Cortado and Oloroso – which are all made with the Palomino grape. The last category is Pedro Ximenez, which is your sweet sherry, the one most people associate the wine with.”
And being one of Australia's leading sherry enthusiasts, what does Dilernia like to drink? “I prefer anything dry. Like a nice dry Fino that's been aged six to 10 years. And I'm partial to break out the 30-year-olds also. The longer they age, the better in my opinion.”
This Sunday, Tapavino will open its doors from 2pm to 6pm to celebrate World Sherry Day. There will be over 80 types of sherry available (including some 100-year-old drops) and all sherries by the glass will be 25 per cent off. There is also talk of a giant paella being whipped up in the kitchen. The celebration at Tapavino is just one of the 200 events that will be held across 23 countries worldwide to mark the inaugural World Sherry Day.
So pop down and explore the wonderful world of sherry. As Dilernia says, “It is the most versatile wine on the planet, with a very long history, and it tastes absolutely fabulous.”