Photos and original publication via bitterbooze.com
From time to time it’s just about right to leave behind the beaten tracks, cut the cord from your everyday life and breathe some fresh air.
Summer –for quite a few folks– is the perfect occasion for a holiday break and well deserved pause from school, university, job or whatever the hell they normally do the rest of the year.
We had a bit of a timeout here at Factotum Fortified as well, albeit we can hardly imagine anything better than watching the sunset over Andalucía, properly armed with a glass of crisp Fino or Amontillado, some great tapas in good company, maybe a bold Robusto alongside an old Cream or pack-a-punch Pedro Ximenez.
Good news: we’re back and the colder months of the year are just as perfectly suitable for fortified friends in a glass.
Chances are that –if you’ve been following these articles for a bit– you know not only about our passion for all things beefed up with a little fortification alcohol, but also for the outstanding food matching ability of Sherry, Madeira, Marsala, Port and Co.
Sherry and cheese = heaven
A match made in heaven is Cheese with Sherry. Of course there’s plenty of obvious Stilton and Port pairings and most people might have their favorite combo mind set up.
Therefor we would kindly like to invite you on a sherry and cheese adventure, offering two surprise couples. Even though you might not have access to the same cheese artist’s delights in the UK as in Greece, France, Italy or Turkey, if you get the base concept, any local cheese variety will do.
Once you understand what to look for in a sherry and cheese matching attempt, you’ll be just fine with whatever animal provides the freshest milk in your area, whichever soft hard, blue or cured delight is typical to where you live.
Go fancy, go cheesy and don’t wrinkle your nose – it’s gonna be smelly, in the very best way possible.
Goat’s Milk Camembert, matured in wine leaves
Creamy, soft, elegant, but with a bold, underlying earthy aroma. The cheese is a symbiosis of soft mellow deliciousness and just that little hint of spicy excitement. The wine leaves add another dimension and act as a protecting outer layer for this relatively young and vivid goaty from happy Austrian animals.
Equipo Navazos, La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada #59
Originating from a 15-butt solera at La Guita cellar’s Calle Misericordia, this exceptional Manzanilla is almost like a time journey in a glass, a glimpse of former glory and Sherry’s true greatness.
The butts are very rarely touched and refreshed sparsely with only the finest of La Guita’s solera. The result is a super complex Manzanilla Pasada, a Manzanilla already on the edge of drifting towards Amontillado characteristics.
Therefor there’s an incredible dialog of salty, almost briny focus, crisp and clean refinement, counteracted by a hint of mellowness, growing body and vague oxidation. It’s not only a perfect resemblance of the Goat’s cheese character but also an organoleptic rendezvous of utter perfection.
Sherry and cheese, Second Act
Basalt stone flour matured hard cheese (cow, over 3 years)
Very mature, ripe hard cheese, bearing a slight similarity to super-old Gouda, Parmigiani or Gruyere.
This monster of a cheese wheel though was matured in specifically tailored flour from basalt rocks, forming a protecting outside layer. And then one has to wait… and wait… and wait… because some things simply take time. The reward will come, trust me!
Equipo Navazos, La Bota de Oloroso #46
A monster wine, point. In all honesty, I should shut off right here and not lose another word about this epic wine. But then again, that’s what you’re all here for. We shall proceed: the average age of this Oloroso is somewhere around 25. The base is second yema of 100% Pedro Ximenez grapes, we’re in Montilla after all.
So technically this is not a Sherry anymore, since this is not a sweet PX edition, further aged in the Sherry triangle, but simply and Oloroso styled wine from land inwards.
The grape variety’s typical structure, body and roundness make for a remarkable wine, obtaining even more greatness during decades of slow maturation. Just as the cow milk cheese, this is all about patience and perseverance. Once you bring the two together, all hell breaks loose.
The salty but somehow sweet creaminess of the cheese is perfectly accompanied by the bone dry but also mellow signature of the Oloroso. It’s a clash of umami, an exponentiation of lip-smacking delicacy.
Forget everything around you; don’t even consider anything else to add, because frankly you couldn’t make the situation any better.
One piece of cheese, one glass of wine, that’s all you need. (Okay, make it two.)
And a bit of appreciation for the delights in front of you, especially after a wee break. ‘cause that’s what life is all about, isn’t it?
With my very best wishes and spirits