I’ve never been one for sweet food. The allure of the dessert cart has always mystified me. Even as a child I prefered the main meal to any treat offered, except for the occasional Creme de Menthe parfait I managed to sneak an illegal taste of. But, for some reason dessert wines hold a special place in my heart. Recently, I revisited an old favorite, PX sherry. Instantly I remembered why I have always been so fond I am of this thick, viscous treat.
Pedro Ximenez sherry (PX for short), is a sweet style of wine made from grapes left out to raisinate in the hot Spanish sun. After fermentation the finished wine is then fortified and transferred to a solera to age. PX can be a sweet but savory experience, full of umami. The best examples actually smell like Christmas to me. Dried figs, dates, roasted nuts, steaming hot latte, cocoa beans, molasses and dried orange peel are just a few of the descriptors I’ve used in tasting notes.
Served with a spicy, punchy Spanish blue cheese it rocks, the contrast of sweet and salty is a magical combination. Drizzled over vanilla ice cream with fresh figs and shavings of the darkest bittersweet chocolate you can find it’s pure heaven. I must confess I’ve even enjoyed it with a good cigar, a pairing suggested by a number of distinguished gentlemen.
Valdespino Pedro Ximenez El Candado, made by one of the oldest producers in Jerez, is swirling in my glass this evening. Fermented in stainless steel and aged for 10 years this reasonable and tasty elixir is just the ticket for an after dinner holiday treat. Enjoy with some Valdeon blue wrapped in Sycamore leaves for a real treat.
Valdespino PX available at Frankly Wines, PJ Wine and Wine Library online.
Valdeon available at Artisanal, Murray’s in NYC