Pedro Ximenez sherry is amazing with an ice-cold twist

Pedro ximenez sherry review

IN THE interests of scientific discovery and developing the human race, this week I have mainly been eating ice cream and sherry, in the same bowl.

I hasten to add that this pairing came to pass not because I’m clumsy (which is true) – but for once I intentionally poured unctuous nectar into a bowl of the yummiest vanilla ice cream.

Now I’m a bit  of a sherry lover. I began a secret  affair  with Harvey’s Bristol Cream one Christmas and  if I’m peeling  sprouts I feel out of sorts if there isn’t a gooey, finger-printed glass  on the go with Judy Garland and the Munchkin kids singing from the TV screen.

But sherry with ice cream? Well let me tell you, as ice cream weather looms, it would be unfair of me to keep that little duo to myself.  Bristol Cream may be  synonymous with the Harveys brand,  but  I’ve now discovered  Harveys VORS Pedro Ximénez (PX) and there’s no turning back.

Pedro ximenez sherry review
Harvey’s Pedro Ximenez

The Pedro Ximénez  grape  is sun-dried  to a raisin texture and once fermented, those raisin base notes develop flavours of  liquorice, black treacle and chocolate as it is aged (in this instance, for at least 30 years). I drizzled my ice cream with a glug – who knows, perhaps a tablespoon – of PX  and the sweet-cold mix was swamped with bonfire toffee flavours and rich fruit pudding.

In fact, next time I might add some  raisins to a glass of PX and let them soak up the lusciousness for a few hours. Or  you could just sip PX from a glass (minus raisins). The gold-medal winning PX has an  RRP of £21.10 for 50cl and is available from  Morrisons, WaitroseTheDrinkShop.com and Booths.

Dispel Harveys’  cream sherry tag even further with the tangy, salty, Harveys Fino  (RRP £7.73, Waitrose, Booths, Morrisons) which is ideal with a bowl of plump olives. Once opened, drink a pale lemon fino within a week or it loses its   delicate, herby, yeasty balance.

Harveys VORS Fine Old Amontillado (RRP £21.10, 50cl TheDrinkShop.com) began life as a fino so some of its traits are  in its DNA –  but the sherry  is then allowed to mature and develops citrus peel and nutty depths.


Also in my glass …

After all the heady sherries, I turned to a drink with hardly any alcohol. (At this point all my friends are bolt upright, stunned like alarmed meerkats.)

Torres Natureo (£5, Asda) begins life as a wine but once fermented, the alcohol is stripped out, leaving just 0.5% abv.  It’s a sweet hit of something grapey with hints of peach. Straight from  the fridge, it was  lovely, thanks very much.

Vinho Verde wines have an accent on freshness

Tescco Vinho Verde

I THOUGHT spring had sprung this week –  then blinked and it was raining again.

In the time when the sun did shine   I sneaked outside with a glass of vinho verde wine.  It is a wine you should try  if you like your wines to be gentle and refreshing. The accent is definitely on freshness from grapes grown in the northern part of Portugal influenced by the Atlantic Ocean.

Don’t expect depth and complexity, but as a midweek spring garden wine, then  it is  a good option. By its nature it has a little sparkle, a trembling fizz. Not full-on bursts of bubbles, but gentle, flirtatious shivers.

Torre de Azevedo Vinho Verde (£7.99, Sainsbury)  is dry, crisp, tangy and slightly Torre de Azevedo Vinho Verdelemon-scented wth some back notes of tropical fruit, perhaps pineapple.

The  bubbles only lasted a few seconds in the glass –  and the glass only lasted  a few moments in the garden, before it was brought inside to partner a plate of  prawns fried in herby, garlic  butter.  With the wine’s lemon hints and gentle sparkles, it was a lovely lunch treat.

Tesco Vinho Verde is a pinch at £4.49 and when poured is an excited little mix of soda-like bubbles and lemony fragrance. Big gluggy gulps may seem a greedy indulgence, but it’s best to taste the freshness of this wine as soon as it is poured. A few minutes later the bubbles have gone, but the lemon tingles remain.

Adega de Monção, Vinho Verde, 2011 (£5.95 www.thewinesociety.com) is a blend of two grapes, alvarinho and trajadura, both adding body and a citrus tremble. Lemons prevail, but there is a hint of the tropical too.

Adega is produced by a co-operative from the vinho verde heartland in Monção, and the Wine Society has some  online offers on its co-operative wines until tomorrow, April 21.

Another  is a smoky, youthful, red berry-packed Poggio del Sasso Sangiovese di Toscana, 2011, £6.95. The grape masterminds the pricier Brunello di Montalcino wines.

Also in my glass this week … First, a simple, fruity red.  Cuvée Chasseur Red 2012 (£4.79, Waitrose) is a vin de France with no allusions of grandeur. It is a  blend of carignan, grenache and merlot, grown on old  vines  from poor, dry   soils. Doesn’t sound a great start in life  but for wines this can be perfect. Spiced red fruit and plump plumminess.

In the New World, New Zealand has made sauvignon blanc  its own. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cast your eyes around elsewhere.  Zondernaam Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (£9.99,  Co-op) from Stellenbosch,   includes 5% barrel fermented semillon. It adds a  slightly fuller feel in the mouth than you would normally expect, a little nuttinness to boot, alongside herbs, grass and a green pepper bite.