Black is Black, this Sherry Will Put ‘ya on Your Back

Black gold, now there’s some good stuff under this description. Like the voice of Motown monster Barry White. A couple of barrels of Brent crude. Perigord truffles. Algerian hashish. Halle Berry in bikini.

But ever since I had it on a Robertson wine farm a few years back, Pedro Xim?+¦???+¦?+¦-+?+¦+ënez was always going to be the bestest blackest gold.

Pedro Xim?+¦???+¦?+¦-+?+¦+ënez, also known by the abbreviation PX, is a Spanish grape. Famous in the, Montilla-Moriles region in Andalucia near Cordoba, PX is best-known for the sherry bearing its name.

The first time I saw PX being poured I immediately thought of Roald Dahl’s Uncle Oswald character. For breakfast, Uncle Oswald smeared his toast with a black honey from Morocco, the colour a result of a particular colony of bees who sourced their nectar from flowering cannabis plants.

No less intoxicating, PX sherry is as black as crude oil, with a characteristic viscosity that leaves one’s glass smudged with thick alcoholic tears. Add to this dreamy texture a beguiling sweetness and heady aroma of rich decadence, and it is a wine that makes you want to cover your crotch after the first sip.

The wine is made from PX grapes that have been picked and turned into raisins under the Andalucian sun. Fortified to around 15%, it is aged in old oak, the latter process determining PX scarcity and price.

The 1910 Toro Albala Gran Reserva Pedro Ximenez, for example, spent 96yrs in oak and is currently being sold for 800 US dolleros a bottle. Younger, commercial models are obviously much cheaper, although here in South Africa PX is not that easy to come by.

I had no hesitation of grabbing a regular PX made by the Emilio Lustau cellar when I recently saw the bottle perched on a shelf at Caroline’s Fine Wines, a steal at R140 for a 375ml bottle. After chilling the wine to lovingly suppress the sweetness somewhat, a big black glassful was poured and reality was suspended for a few minutes.

Sweet and sexy, in-your-face intense with an inky, saucy texture. The nose is concentrated Christmas pudding, burnt sugar and hay. The taste is best experienced through a big glug ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ not poised Riedel and pussyfooting around here: dried figs come to the fore, along with molasses, blackcurrant jam, cigar, espresso and with a slight hint of caramelized foie gras.

Impossible to think the residual sugar we are talking of here is only around 150 gram per liter, but so it be.

A couple of days later I was handed another bottle of PX, also a Lustau, but this time a VORS ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ Very Old Sherry. Thirty years to be precise and in a 500ml bottle.

Not wishing to look a gift horse in the mouth, I immediately tackled this baby despite still tripping on the effects of the previous bottle.

The older wine was all of the above, just cloaked in a plush, classy velvet cape. Sluttishly decadent, still, but refined to a masterpiece.

Both Lustaus were, according to the stamp on the bottle, imported by the Wine Cellar. Which is where the next fix will come from, sooner rather than later.

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One thought on “Black is Black, this Sherry Will Put ‘ya on Your Back

  1. One of very few wines that has no local substitute. Had my first sip of it in the Netherlands, the Goncalves Y Galvez label sells for 5 Euro/375 ml there (but then again, the Dutch have deep pockets and VERY short fingers, as we all know…)

    The Lustau version is far superior, and yes, the VORS is essentially sex in a bottle.

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