I wonder what would happen if we weren’t left to age and form personalities on our own. But instead, the younger generations were mingled with the older generations to form their personalities. We might become indistinguishable from one generation to the next and would live in the a world of uniformity year after year. To some of you, this may sound like a timeless charm, but to others, it may mean a stifling, individuality-lacking conformity. Several years ago in Andalusia, Spain’s Southern most sun-baked region, I discovered the interesting “non-vintage” fortified wines called “Sherry”. The Andalusian method of creating sherry is a blending of older wines with new wines in a unique aging process called ‘solera’. Their sherry taste consistently delicious, complex & delightful. Uniformity and big-personality both co-exist in the Andalusian sherry.
Sherry can be made either dry or sweet. It can also be crafted in a light, delicate Fino-style or in a full-bodied Oloroso-style. This week I’m opening a Sandeman Armada’s Oloroso Sherry made from 90% Palomino grapes and lightly sweetened with 10% Pedro Ximenez grapes, which are sun-dried for 2-3 days to concentrate sweetness. Aged for 7+ years, this wine has delicious aromas and flavors of roasted walnut, fig, raisin, caramel and toffee with a velvety, round texture. With just a sip, I’ve immediately fallen in love with it. I hope this Sherry stays “undiscovered” so that I can continue to enjoy the great value of this hidden jewel.
While enjoying a glass of the creamy Oloroso Sherry, I’m experimenting with curing fresh tuna using the sherry. First, I make a marinade by mixing together 1 cup semi-sweet Oloroso Sherry, ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, ¼ cup white wine vinegar, 4 chopped scallions, 4 minced garlic cloves, 2 Tablespoons Italian parsley, 2 teaspoons sea salt & 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Then, I add thinly sliced 2 lbs fresh tuna to the mixture and let it sit in the refrigerator for 5-6 hours. Finally, I serve it with Italian parsley to bring a crunchy “accent” to the creamy texture.
This tuna dish is very rich and complex, just like the Oloroso Sherry. The wine flavors of raisin, walnut, fig & toffee beautifully integrate with olive oil, tangyness of white wine vinegar, garlic & scallions. And, the alcohol makes the texture of the tuna meat incredibly buttery. How pleasantly the after-taste lingers in the mouth after a simple bite! Spanish Sherry truly is a miraculous wine, not only drunk by itself as an aperitif or dessert wine but also as a meal flavor enhancer.
I hope you enjoy the discovery of a “now-very-distinguishable” Andalusian Sherry & cuisine. It will warm you up and delight your palette on a cold winter day. Happy Cooking!