Henry & Paul do Bodegas Tradicion Sherry
Myself and Porc were extremely excited to travel up to London on Monday, for a sherry event. Not just any sherry event, we were invited to taste through the Bodegas Tradicion range, matched with food at Arzak's cuisine.
A good catch up was had on the train up, ably assisted by a delicious bottle of Zind Humbrecht Rotenberg Pinot Gris. It's always good to be prepared in case of delays or strikes, their might have been one but we didn't notice. It's a honeyed rich beast, yet it wasn't to overpowering even at 9.30am. Next time we might purchase some accompanying snacks from the Curry Leaf Cafe.
Arzak is a 3 Michelin star restaurant in San Sebastian, they have a concern in the Halkin Hotel London, nimbly named Ametsa with Arzak Instruction. We arrived early, so with Good Beer Guide App in hand, we located a friendly mews hostelry and rehydrated with a couple of light ales.
Then onwards to luncheon. There has been negative comment on the starkness of the restaurant, but I like it and am quite happy to make my own entertainment. We were greeted with a Fino sherry, it didn't look like Fino, much more golden in colour. This was because it had been aged about 12 years in oak, as opposed to other Fino sherries which are typically aged around six years. I was chatting at this point and wasn't paying proper attention, we had two different glasses of Fino, which I believe were bottled a few months apart, two different beasts.
There is plenty of useful information on the internet about Bodegas Tradicion, www.bodegastradicion.es
for example. The gist of it is that they have been making sherry for a very long time, they are pretty damn good at it!
The Fino's were served with some great canapes, they tasted really good, and looked really good, but as I was having a good time I didn't take a picture, or listen to what they were. But they were excellent and I know I have the menu somehwere. However I did try a Manzanilla cocktail, I'll leave that next time.
Moving on to lunch proper, what a treat, I loved it. We had a good table, apologies for recent events were offered to our fellow diners from France and Spain. I don't like taking pictures while eating, but it seems to be the form these days. So here are some. The food was excellent across the board, but it was the matching that was so interesting and sometimes surprising.
A Palo Cortado, which was possibly my star of the show, had an average age in the blend of over 30 years old, was a great opener with a foie gras corn on the cob, why not! Who'd have thought that would be followed by a richer bodied Oloroso with Tuna covered in Cinnamon? I thought the combination was like consuming Christmas. And then the pork, simply stunning meat, almost beef like, and needed the racy Amontillado to cut through the protein rich plate. The sweet wines were sublime, complex, sweet, but balanced with fine elegant acidity.
We then had the the privilege of tasting an Amontillado, pretty old really, average age in the blend is 80 years plus. Apparently only 300 x 50cl were made and it was described as "a wine for freaks, you cannot drink it." I found I could, but it's nuts, essence of sherry and boosted up to warp intensity - not everyone's bag, but Butler will be requesting one.
What a fun day, so brilliant when it all comes together, watch this space for the arrival of these beautiful wines. They aren't cheap, but they shouldn't be, I'm excited thinking about trying them again.
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