Don’t you just love it when you find that perfect sweet pairing? It can be a tricky balance and once you come upon a sweet bevy that matches your favorite dessert you realize it was worth all of the exploring. You immediately make a note, mental or otherwise!
When I started to get into fortified wines, I had never hit that (literally) sweet point before. A sherry that stood out for me was (and continues to be) Casa del Inca Pedro Ximénez from Equipo Navazos and with the 2017 vintage fresh on my lips, I have plenty to say.
The key varietal Pedro Ximénez is ideal for sherry production not because of flavors (it is relatively neutral) but for its thin skins which suit the sun drying part of the production process. Unusually, this fruit is grown in Montilla-Moriles located just south of Cordoba rather than the environs of Jerez. Grapes are late harvested for optimal sugar concentration. Must or grape juice purity is carefully preserved through the pressing process and premium wine-based spirits add the fortification that creates the unique character of sherry. Interestingly, producers in this area boast this latter step is not always necessary as the local intense sunlight is enough to achieve the sugar intensity needed for sweet sherry production. Another feature of Casa del Inca Pedro Ximénez is its maturation in earthenware vessels called tinajas, typical in Montilla-Moriles. It all leads to a quality sherry which enhances sweet goodies beautifully.
Tasting Notes of Casa del Inca Pedro Ximénez 2017
Rich, deep amber color with viscous quality hinting at an intensity of sweetness.
Aromas sweep in boldly with raisins, figs, and dried fruits leading the way followed by thick strokes of caramel and chocolate.
The palate mirrors the nose with dried fruits enrobed in butterscotch and molasses with a dense yet smoothly textured mouthfeel. Raisins, prunes, and figs add fruity notes while chocolate, caramel, and even a touch of nougat make up the bonbon element. These rich and syrupy flavors are all complemented by toasty, nutty almond touches courtesy of the limestone and loamy nature of the Montilla-Moriles soils. Concentrated and tightly-knit, lovely medium acidity lifts the feel and taste, reminding you that you are drinking wine and making this a very satisfying sweet sherry.
If you are indulging in a sweet tooth experience, I have one piece of advice; do not hold back. The richer and more sugary the better so as to bring out the nutty, raisin, toffee flavors of this sherry. Dark chocolate gateau is divine with Casa del Inca Pedro Ximénez or how about a bowl of ice cream dripping in caramel sauce? If savory is more your thing, a platter featuring a selection of blue cheeses plus freshly cracked nuts are an ideal match for the 2017 vintage.
Readiness for Drinking
Break out the 2017 vintage of Casa del Inca Pedro Ximénez now as it is reaching its prime for pairing and solo sipping.