Sherry today is neither well known nor appreciated by the average consumer. Yet it is one of the world’s most delicious and interesting wines and also presents great value relative to price. Fortunately, wine connoisseurs are once again exploring the delights of this special beverage, assisted we hope by our Special Report: Introduction to Sherry, published five years ago. It’s time for us to revisit Sherry, and this retasting of those produced by Bodegas Dios Baco is the first of several.
Many of the most important sherry houses were established in the 18th century, including Palomino & Vergara in 1765. In the mid-20th century it became part of the huge Rumasa conglomerate, which was later dissolved by the Government, with the Dios Baco cellar of Palomino & Vergara purchased by José Páez Morilla in 1992. He renovated the cellar, and today he and his daughter Alejandra handcraft small batches of sherry and manzanilla.
Thanks to the importer, CIV (USA), we tasted the full range of Dios Baco wines, ranging from the fresh and saline Manzanillas to the silky, amber Amontillado, the complex, mahogany Oloroso, the soft, dark cream sherry, and the black, syrupy Pedro Ximenez.
Imported by CIV (USA), Sacramento, CA
Dios Baco Riá Pitá Manzanilla Sanlucar de Barrameda DO ($10/500ml) 91 This is a fresh and vibrant Manzanilla revealing green olive and briny notes on the nose and bright acidity on a refreshing palate. It has flavors of citrus and herbs with a light saline note and finishes on a crisp note. Aged a minimum of five years. Goes wonderfully with Spanish olives, sushi, and other seafood.
Dios Baco Bulería Fino Manzanilla ($22) 90 The Bulería Fino smells of the sea with saline and iodine notes. Salinity also shows in the mouth, along with light oxidative notes. The sea-like character continues on the finish.
Dios Baco Amontillado ($24) 91 With its bright rich amber hue, this Amontillado reveals lightly caramelized and nutty aromas. It has a silky texture with bright flavors and fresh notes of orange peel marmalade and a touch of roasted nuts, finishing with a pleasing bitter note.
Dios Baco de Elite Oloroso ($24) 92 Mahogany amber in color, the Oloraoso is complex and rich. Dates, figs, and a light cherry note show on the nose, while in the mouth it is unctuous and dense with notes of dried red fruit, dates, and an undefinable savory aspect. The finish lingers, ending with a bitter note again. Aged a minimum of eight years and includes a small portion of sweet Moscatel. Aged 12-15 years. Try this with walnuts and manchego cheese.
Dios Baco Cream Sherry ($24) 90 Graced with a lovely dark mahogany color, this cream sherry is smooth and creamy with good acidity and aromas and flavors of dried cherry, date, and orange peel. Sweetened with Pedro Ximenez. It pairs very well with both manchego and brie cheeses.
Dios Baco Esnobista Moscatel Pasa ($24) 92+ Made from the Moscatel-Chipione grape, this is an unusual and superb Moscatel. It has a honeyed, apple cider character but without sweetness and strongly evokes a rich, buttered, caramelized tart tatin. Aged 12-15 years. It pairs beautifully with fois gras and fig paste.
Dios Baco Oxford Pedro Ximenez ($15) 90 An incredible wine for the price, the Pedro Ximenez packs a lot into its bouquet—ripe raisin, chocolate, coffee and a bright citrus note, too. In the mouth, it’s rich and viscous with pronounced flavors of black cherry and dried dark fruit. Goes superbly with brie, or, better yet, poured over a rich, vanilla ice cream. Aged about 19 years.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler