Here's a wonderful fino sherry from a family-owned winery that dates from the beginning of the last century. The estate is on the Guadalete River in Cadiz Bay, very close to the Atlantic and its humidity and winds. Until 10 years ago, the Colosia family sold to bigger producers. Now Juan Carlos Gutiérrez Colosia, who learned about sherry from his father, is bottling and selling the wines under the Gutiérrez label.
The fino is, of course, 100% Palomino grapes aged in the traditional manner under flor yeast. It's big for a fino, bone-dry and tasting of hazelnuts and almonds. The great thing about sherry is that you can open a bottle, drink a glass and keep it in the fridge for a while without any decline in character because it's essentially a fortified wine.
It makes a fine aperitif, but you'll need a bowl of almonds and olives to accompany it. Or even better, some jamón serrano. But it can also go to the table.
In an e-mail, Colosia's wife, Carmen, explained, "Our idea of fino is to be treated as a white wine and also to be drunk in a normal white glass. With an average of three years old [the wine is], old enough to feel all the flavor of the yeast and young enough for pairing with food." She's from Mallorca and says she had trouble getting into fino at first. But now in the wine she finds sea and sun.
—S. Irene Virbila
Region: Andalusia, Spain
Price: About $20
Style: Intense and bone-dry
What it goes with: roasted almonds and olives, roast chicken, paella
Where to find it: Silverlake Wine in Los Angeles, (323) 662-9024; http://www.silverlakewine.com and the Wine House in West Los Angeles, (310) 479-3731, http://www.winehouse.com