As the weekend closed in we all received an email from the wonderful Ali asking for recommendations on which beverage might make a suitable match for a traditional European Cheese fondue. Well, that set our taste bud imagination. The responses flooded in thick and fast with opinions covering every colour of the drink rainbow. The catalyst for most people's thinking was straight forward enough - cheese fondue, is thick, rich and quite involved, so something with acid is clearly required. White wines are an obvious choice, the acidity is there and a good chilling doesn't go astray either. However, bags of lemon and lime are not necessary the flavours you might be after with a serious dairy commitment (palate dependent, of course!) A few of us weighed in on personal experiences we'd had in Europe itself - and the answer came in one word: schnapps. Many Aussies have the wrong idea of what that word actually means. To cite Cambridge online: 'a clear, strong alcoholic drink made in eastern and northern parts of Europe, usually from grain, potato, or fruit.' As you can see, Schnapps is a category and not just restricted to the dangerous clear coloured stuff you find in the bottom of the drinks cupboard at Christmas. The conversation really started to hone in on the schnapps category and sherry received a mention, Fino (fine) sherry to be precise - the driest of the lot, with under 5g/L of sugar. (To give you an idea, a Pedro Ximenez style has 200+ g/L).
Let's talk about sherry for a minute.. (Sherry, baby.) Anyone that has travelled to Spain will know that Jerez and the surrounding regions can claim true victory as the prime location for the production of this delicious aperitif. In Australia, it fell out of vogue a fair while ago despite the marketing push into the 90s. Heck, I think church communion is one of the remaining places for this bevyy. Some of us have a bottle at home for cooking, or drinking, but could you really see yourself offering a sherry straight up as your dinner party guests arrive? Maybe? Not?
Well, as Ali provided her post-fondue match report, sherry was definitely the hero. Dinner guests also sampled a Sidewood Mappinga Chardy, but it was abandoned soon enough. So next time you're at the old bottle shop, grab yourself a bottle for such a occasions, matching rich foods with a suitable drop. Also check out the Reserve Pale Dry Apera from our friends at 919 Wines!