Thursday, 9 November 2017

Xeco Fino sherry review: a new way to drink granny’s favourite tipple

I hate stereotypes. I do. But one I keep hammering home on, is that sherry is not just something your gran drinks at Christmas.

It’s so much more than the sickly-sweet Harvey’s Bristol Cream, and it’s still massively underrated.

Sherry is getting there in London – places like Bar Pepito, Barrafina, Capote y Toros, Jose, Copita, and Rosita & the Sherry Bar all offer great sherry selections, and great Spanish food to munch on the side. But even in the capital, where these places exist, I don’t have many friends that would be totally happy if I suggested going out for a Fino and some padron peppers (I’m trying!).

Exports of sherry have fallen to less than a fifth of what they were in 1979, so clearly sherry needs a bit of help. Enter Xeco Wines, coming in to change all our opinions on sherry in one bottle. Doesn’t it look awesome? I’ve had it in the fridge at home and my housemate was immediately intrigued.

If you’re wondering who that is on the label, you’ve got the likes of Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, Shakespeare and Cervantes (historic figures from the UK and Spain), with a splash of neon graffiti art. A bit different from your usual sherry label right?

The company was set up by three female Fino fiends – Beanie, Alexa and Polly, and was funded via an Indiegogo campaign.

Their first sherry, a Fino, is made with Palomino grapes from Jerez (like all sherries other than Pedro Ximenez – see our beginner’s guide to sherry), and aged biologically in American oak casks for a minimum of four years. This all happens at Diez Merito, a Bodega that’s been around since 1876.

So how do you drink it, and what does it taste like?

The Xeco fino is really crisp, refreshing and elegantly dry. It’s light, fresh, citrusy, and has a touch of nuttiness to it, along with a nice savoury note.

The easiest and simplest way to drink it is straight out of the fridge, but there are a few other ways to serve it. It’s great with lemonade, in cocktails, or with tonic.

If you’re considering replacing your G+T with an F+T, try 45ml sherry, with 100ml good tonic water (Fever Tree or Fentimans), a dash of orange bitters, and garnish with lemon peel.

I will say it’s not cheap at £15.95 (Master of Malt), and you may baulk at that price if you’re planning to mix it with lemonade, but it’s an unintimidating and exciting way into sherry that makes a very old drink that bit more modern.

And the Fino friends have got an Amontillado out now too, available for £18.95 from Master of Malt. One to go with the Christmas cheese plates?

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