Fortified wines aren’t as popular as they used to be, but we’re here to change that and get you all hooked on fortified wines! Every few weeks we’ll highlight a new fortified wine available in store and introduce you to these very special and unique wines.
Tío Pepe en Rama 2020 - Sherry
D.O. Jerez, Spain
The Scoop on Sherry
Fortified wines can be so varied and quite confusing really— they are rarely discussed in popular culture and can range in alcohol percentages, sweetness levels, colour, body and complexity more than any other single category of wine. Port is probably the most familiar fortified wine for Canadians, and it is generally sweet. Sherry, on the other hand, is predominantly dry and made to be an aperitif to open your palate as opposed to a sweet end to a meal. Of course, the Harvey’s Bristol Cream your granny drank and other cream, medium and Pedro Ximinez-based versions are sweet, but the vast majority of production— and this Tio Pepe En Rama Fino— are as dry as it gets!
Dry sherries are particularly food friendly and go very well with items that are otherwise hard to pair with wine, such as olives, artichokes, asparagus, and vinaigrettes — all of these items meet their match with Fino or Amontillado-style sherries. Dry sherry also pairs wonderfully with fried fish and vegetables as well as mushrooms, and there is nothing that goes better with the famous langoustines of the region!
About the Producer
Gonzalez Byass is responsible for the original Tio Pepe — the green bottle found in every corner of the world and along with Harvey’s Bristol Cream, a ubiquitous ambassador of the region. In Jerez it is omnipresent on virtually every table at lunch time — you can not walk a handful of steps without seeing it! This, along with their line-up of dozens of other sherries, gin and brandy, have secured their spot as one of the most well-known producers from the region. Founded in 1835, the Bodega has grown consistently and considerably, all the while still being solely family-owned while successfully keeping quality intact.
From the original Tio Pepe, a classic bone-dry Fino sherry, comes the En Rama — essentially unfined and unfiltered and chosen from the best barrels in the entire operation. At first, it was a one-off bottling to celebrate the Bodega’s 175th anniversary at the best of one of their UK importers. It proved to be so compelling that Antonio Flores, their head enologist, decided to continue with En Rama yearly — lucky for us!
The 11th edition of Tío Pepe En Rama — an unfiltered and unclarified Fino — was bottled in April 2020. The annual spring saca of Tío Pepe En Rama was characterized by an abnormally mild, dry winter, which gave way to a cool and rainy spring. This created the perfect condition for the healthy growth of the ‘flor’ yeast which covers the Fino. As with previous releases, head enologist Antonio Flores selected barrels from the historic cellars of Constancia and Rebollo, carrying out the initial selection in October 2019 of 196 barrels, before narrowing it down to 69 just prior to bottling.
Intense and vibrant colour with clear notes of yeast, fresh bread and a touch of olives on the nose
Elegant and light on the palate with a good length, a touch of bitterness and mouth watering savoury notes
Very complex and nuanced flavour profile - there is a lot going on here
Serve chilled in a small white wine glass
A delicious and refreshing aperitif or perfect pairing with tapas or seafood
Sherry is made using a fractional blending system (called the “solera” system), so the wines are not vintage dated the way many table wines are. By fractional blending, we mean that each year, the amount of wine that is taken out of the barrels and then bottled, is replaced with that current year’s wine. There are limits required by law on what can be bottled and replaced. Fino, including our En Rama, is usually an average of 3 - 5 years old, with some tiny amounts of older wine. Basically, the wine in the bottle has benefitted from aging characteristics as well as freshness from new wines!