Lustau Almacenista Olorosa de Jerez

By | June 14, 2006


A glass of amontillado sherry, with olives

Germany Poland is the big game today, but as Spain put on a top class performance, I thought I’d crack open a bottle of one of their top class wines.

OK, with that opening sentence you’re probably not expecting a sherry, but bear with me. Lustau’s Almacenista Olorosa de Jerez is worth trying.

It’s clear and a medium amber with just a tinge of olive green on the edge. It has great legs, thick and long. The aroma is clean in a sherry-esque way. The nose is all cake raisins, toffee and almond. There’s orange peel and marmalade which gives it a sweet fruit cake feel.

It’s off dry, with a surprisingly crisp acidity. There’s just a hint of tannin, drawn from the extensive wood ageing, although they’re very soft. It has a full body and pronounced flavour intensity. The baked fruit, figs and toffee carry through to the palate, there’s a touch of saltiness, in a good way.

It’s 20% alcohol, but it would be easy to forget that, as the flavour and acidity balance well. It’s best served slightly cool, perhaps with a piece of cake, or even a snack of cheese and olives.

Lustau is a relatively small, family controlled sherry business. Their Almacenista range reflects this as they are small batch wines, made from soleras of limited size. This tends to mean good quality careful winemaking and extremely careful aging, resulting in quite exclusive wines. What it doesn’t mean, surprisingly, is exclusive pricing. If this wine was French and had been treated with the same loving care for as long you’d expect to pay at least £20 for a half bottle. This is available for about £9 at local wine merchants, or you can go to Fortnum and Mason and pay £11 if you’re feeling flush.