Revealing the mystery of Sherry

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Revealing the mystery of Sherry

Sherry, a historic and mysterious fortified wine that comes in different styles which can be a bit confusing for all of us. At Grand Cata we love and embrace Sherry as a unique expression in the fortified wine category deeply rooted in Jerez, Spain. A style of its own, with specific climate conditions influenced by the warm breezes of the Atlantic Ocean, a terroir influenced by the Albariza chalky soils with aging techniques using the Solera System develops wines with that are unique and complex with many styles and flavors. There's always a Sherry for every palate. 

To make it easier to appreciate and understand, this is what you need to know about this historic libation:

Sherry is a wine style created in Jerez, Spain centuries ago when the Moors introduce distilling to Spain the Sherry style came about. Sherry comes in many forms and flavors from bone-dry to middle of the road dry, off-dry and sweet. This wine is aged in criaderas always filled 2/3 of the way using the solera system of aging using fractional blending of aged sherry with younger sherry. The main grapes used for Sherry production are Palomino, Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel, the lighter styles such as manzanilla and fino are protected by the development of flor: a cloudy yeast the grows on top of the wine to protect the freshness of the wine and hinders oxidative qualities and complexity. Being a fortified wine adding grape based brandy during fermentation to stop the conversion of sugars to alcohol once the right amount of alcohol is achieved, alcohol levels can range from 15-22 % ABV. So in other words, please enjoy with moderation. 

 

Styles: Dry - Sweet:

Manzanilla: a light version of Sherry, bright, briny, salty, with balanced acidity, showcasing tart green apples, pronounced minerality, the perfect balance of fresh and complex. This style is meant to be drunk young, slightly chilled and paired with manchego, fresh olives and boquerones. 

Fino: a light version of Sherry, bright, briny, slightly oxidative with toasted almonds, dry pear and apple, fresh acidity, the perfect balance of fresh and complex. Enjoy lightly chilled and paired with goat cheese, pan entomatado with olive oil.

Amontillado: a medium body, rich tawny color, aromatic, nutty, dry apricot, peaches, hints of honey, fig and caramel, bright, fresh with long finish, amontillado can be dry and off-dry. Pairs well with cured meats and creamy cheeses with quince paste. 

Oloroso & Palo Cortado: a medium plus body, dark tawny color, aromatic, oxidative, dry stone fruits, hints of balsamic vinegar, black olives with a long pronounced finish. Oloroso can also be versatile, dry, to off dry and very complex. His side kick Palo Cortado is the perfect blend of an amontillado's freshness with the depth and complexity of an Oloroso. Both Sherry's pair well with blue cheeses, marcona almonds and jamón ibérico. 

Pale Cream, Medium and Cream: a medium plus body Sherry and sweeter style of Sherry: ripe, oxidative, complex showcasing cooked stone fruits with hints of figs, caramel, honey, orange peel. This style come a bit off-dry and sweet and still has a clean finish with a fresh acidity that makes it enjoyable by itself. 

Moscatel & Pedro Ximenez: a full body Sherry and sweetest of them all. Rich, thick, almost syrupy showcasing ripe cooked raisins, dates, plums, dark fruit marmalade, with hints of licorice, cassis with some herbs and spices. This is definitely a dessert wine that you can pour on top of fresh vanilla ice-cream with sautéed bananas with brown sugar and brandy reduction. 

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Grand Cata's Wines of the Year, 2016

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Grand Cata's Wines of the Year, 2016

2016 has been a great inaugural year for all of us at Grand Cata, as we shared with you our store opening and the careful (participatory) process of building our curated wine selections with the best representation from Latin America and European heritage countries.

We have tasted more that 1,500 wines this past year, where we always try to share honest wines that express the lesser known terroirs of our countries, that expresses as well what Grand Cata represents in the nation's capital. By investing so much in our selection process, we can pass that value to you in order to share the best and most unique flavors of Latin America.

The rules

In order to rank these top picks amidst the feedback of our staff and community, we applied a few ground rules:

1) We considered all wines available at the store in 2016, not necessary those released from the winery this year.

2) We consider the selections to be the best possible representation of their varietal and place.

3) You can still purchase these wines! They are all available at Grand Cata. 

With this in mind, we present our top 5 picks from 2016.

LOS VINOS: 

5) Bodegas del Desierto, Desierto 25, Cabernet Franc, Patagonia, Argentina 2014, $21

This wine represents a big discovery for Grand Cata: Cabernet Franc from la Patagonia, Argentina. The Bodegas 25 is well-balanced and with very round elegant tannins. The mid palate is full of red fruit, chocolate and spices. An awesome wine and the winner of the staff popular vote at Grand Cata.

4)  Valle dell Acate, Zagra Grillo, Sicily 2014, $22

It must have been one of the hotter wine regions of 2016. Sicilian wines are often expressive with mineral components. This grillo, a local varietal, is a textbook example of a quality wine with balanced acidity and herbal tones. A wine that can be enjoyed as an aperitif or dinner companion. We really enjoyed this wine this year. Zagra is a winery that it has been around for generations and its wine represent that history.

3) Viñedo de los Vientos, Angel's Cuvée Ripasso de Tannat, 2007, $50

This wine made of 100% Tannat grapes is the clear example of a powerful and elegant red wine from Canelones, Uruguay where the Río de la Plata meets the Atlantic Ocean. This bottle represents the full potential of wines from the South American continent. It’s made in the style of Ripasso from Valpolicella, Italy, which includes the use of some dry grapes and is fermented in oak barrels. At Grand Cata, we love the tannins, structure and the smooth finish of this tinto. This is a must to try for the holiday season.

2) Bodegas Carrau, "Sust" Brut Nature, Uruguay, 2012, $25

Another favorite from Uruguay and the favorite sparkling wine tasted this year by Grand Cata. This bottle from Bodegas Carrau is an homage to Juan Carrau Sust, one of the pioneers winemakers of Uruguay. Made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this bottle carries the best of the Old World traditional method or champenoise with the awesome fruit of the sandy soils of Uruguay which give a layer of complexity to their wines.

1) Matorral Pais, Maule, Chile 2010, $36

This natural wine from Maule Valley in Chile was the biggest and most delightful surprise of the year. A limited production from a centennial family-owned winery brought the unexpected to our glasses. Light bodied, fruity, juicy, with firm tannins. The Matorral’s expression of the Pais grape showed us red cherries, plums and even some tropical fruits. The wine is alive and a unique example of the new Chilean wines.  

Pais grape was brought by the Spanish Missionaries to the Americas back in the XVI mostly to be used in the Mass. It was the most popular grape in the continent before the introduction of the now more traditional grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. After many centuries of almost anonymity, Pais is coming back.

 

 

 

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Descorchados: Uncorking the Exciting Diversity of New Latin Wines

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Descorchados: Uncorking the Exciting Diversity of New Latin Wines

This event was to celebrate the publication of the 2016 edition of Descorchados, or “Uncorked”, a comprehensive guide to the wines of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay. While the guide series has existed for many years in Spanish, this is the first year the guide was published in English as well, marking a big turning point for producers and consumers alike in the relationship between the makers of the South and the enthusiastic drinkers here up North. Read more.

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El Verano Rosado: Rosés Three Ways

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El Verano Rosado: Rosés Three Ways

When people think of wine by category, we often think: red, white, and rosé -- with rosé as another word for "pink". In Spanish, we say rosado. However, this category goes beyond "pink" alone, since we find an entire spectrum of from nearly-clear dusty lavender or peach, to brighter sparkling and light ruby, fruity selections, all the way to deep magenta full-body varieties. Read more.

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