• Sheery tasting, Jerez, Spain. Copyright 2014 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

DIY Sherry Tasting

In our last post we lamented the fact that Jerez’s lovely wine bodegas do not offer proper informative, horizontal tastings of their sherry and brandy products – not even the famous Gonzalez Byass Bodega, home of Tio Pepe.

Somewhat frustrated, we decided to do our own sherry tasting last night, which we live-tweeted on Twitter (which you can find here #GTSherryTasting), and recorded for posterity on our Twitpic page.

Our latest home away from home in Barcelona – where we arrived Monday and which we’ll tell you more about later today – may be very well equipped, but, alas, there’s no sherry cellar nor sherry glasses for that matter. Fortunately we had bought a gorgeous tin gift box of six miniature bottles of sherry from the Tio Pepe souvenir shop that came in handy, and there are plenty of wine glasses!

This is how our DIY tasting went…

Tio Pepe Palomino Fino, Fino Muy Seco

Terence: This is an extremely dry drop. It’s only 15% but it has a very alcoholic nose, doesn’t it? It should be colder…

Lara: Gosh, it’s a lot darker than the last bottle we had, which was very light and clean. It’s probably been sitting on the shelf in the Tio Pepe souvenir shop for years…

Terence: We’ve had this one lots of times before – we used to drink it at the Spanish Club, remember?

Lara: This one’s an acquired taste and probably a taste I’m going to admit I’ll never acquire. It’s way too dry even for me

Gonzalez Byass San Domingo Pale Cream Sherry

Lara: Very sweet initially. It should be darker than the last one but it’s the same colour… the last one was too dark…

Terence: It’s got much greater viscosity… and it’s sweet on the front palate. If it was colder it might be alright…

Lara: I like the colour. It’s a straw colour, isn’t it? But it’s a pale straw, almost a lemon colour, with a lovely clarity

Terence: It feels like it wants to be a dessert wine… but the back palate is more acidic than smooth…

Lara: I think I smell the varnish from the Bernals’ guitar workshop we visited the other day…

Vina AB Amontillado Seco

Lara: I like the colour of this one a whole lot more, it’s a golden caramel or butterscotch… oooh, but it smells like nail polish remover… OMG, it tastes like nail polish remover!

Terence: That’s F***ING AWFUL! (Terry goes to sink & spits it out) Why do I suddenly feel like restoring an old sports car?

Lara: I’m hoping this is a bad bottle…

Terence: Paint stripper, it’s paint stripper!

Lara: The after-taste is like ‘the morning after’ for a non-smoker who has been inhaling smoke at a party all night…yuk!

Alfonso Oloroso Seco

Lara: These tiny bottles don’t go far, do they?

Lara: But, OMG, I love that colour?! How do you describe that colour?! Liquid gold? That’s a terrible cliché, isn’t it?

Terence: Golden brown… hmm, but it promises so much with that rich dark colour, but it tastes so light…

Lara: Again, it’s very heady and alcoholic…

Terence: Yet it’s only 18%… I just don’t think it’s very good…

Lara: But I love the colour, the edges are almost tangerine… it’s got great legs…

Terence: … yeah, good viscosity again, but there’s no length or depth…

Lara: … shame…

Nectar Pedro Ximenez Dulce

Lara: This one is like toffee, or… raisins… it’s raisins! Love the mouth-feel, don’t you? It’s very creamy in texture…

Terence: …hmmm…

Lara: … it’s muy rico… and yet the after-taste is very tobacco-ish… there’s that burnt taste again…

Terence: … it’s burnt something… it smells like grapes that have been thrown into a fire…

Solera 1847 Oloroso Dulce

Lara: Yum! This one is very woody, very nutty… a little spicy… I can taste that dried fruit again…

Terence: Yeah, it’s the best in terms of intensity… this one has much more length…

Lara: Yeah, this is definitely my favourite!

Terence: Well, you drank a bottle of it on the train the other night…

Lara: We drank a bottle of it on the train!

Lara: Well… that was our Jerez sherry tasting…

(Terence has gone to kitchen… think he’s looking for a bottle of Rioja…)

End of Article


Sign up below to receive our monthly newsletter to your In Box for special subscriber-only content, travel deals, tips, and inspiration.

100% Privacy. We hate spam too and will never give your email address away.


Find Your Spain Accommodation


Shop for related products

2015-08-05T16:04:18+00:00By |

About the Author:

Professional travel/food editorial/commercial photographer and food and travel writer based in Asia. His photography and writing assignments has seen him visit over 70 countries. Has authored some 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides. Photography has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Wanderlust, Get Lost, Travel+Leisure Asia, DestinAsian, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee and many more.


  1. Justin Roberts March 17, 2010 at 3:42 am

    If yr BCN based then Vila Viniteca in El Born is a great place to source good sherry:

    They usually stock sherries from Equipo Navazos which a definitely worth a try.

  2. ryan March 19, 2010 at 5:49 am

    I would not use these bottles as benchmarks for sherry, from your descriptions it sounds like more than one was past it prime and old Fino is not often something I love.
    Please make sure to seek these out again in bigger bottles, and fresher! 🙂

    As for Barcelona, the best places to find sherry are Vila VIniteca and Monvinic

  3. Terence Carter March 19, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Hi Ryan, really the tasting was more a tongue-in-cheek comment on the lack of tasting available at Tio Pepe. We bought the minatures more for the pretty painted tin that they came in rather than what was in the bottle, trust us! It wasn’t a serious tasting by an means!

    Thanks for your tips, we have both those on our list from the somellier at Cinc Sentits. Are you in Barcelona?

  4. Heather Carreiro March 24, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    I guess the lesson learned is don’t buy sherry from a souvenir shop? #3 must have been absolutely terrible!

  5. lara dunston March 24, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    It was! Unfortunately the souvenir shop is Tio Pepe’s official wine shop! Scary, hey?!

    Thanks for dropping by!

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.