Ask Bob

Your wine pages this month feature sherry, and include photos you took on a trip to Spain. One of these is a lovely photo of an elderly man sleeping with a bottle of sherry sitting beside him. Is there a story behind this photo that you could share with us?

I love that photo. I spotted it during a visit to a wonderful family winery called Hidalgo (they make a fantastic manzanilla sherry that’s available in this country). I asked the export manager about the photo. He shrugged and said it was an old photo of one of the winery workers during his lunch break. Can you imagine a local winery featuring a picture like that? It illustrates the naivety of the Spanish or the fact that we’re too uptight about such things.

Sherry is a tipple often associated with the older generation. How would you suggest a sherry novice discovers this wine? (e.g. as an aperitif with what type of food, or would you suggest trying it as an after-dinner option first?)

That’s an interesting question. I love chilled fino or manzanilla as an aperitif but it’s a bit of an acquired taste. If you want a “love at first sip” experience try a glass of Pedro Ximinez (PX) with a chunk of blue cheese – the earth may move a little.

Daylight saving is fast fading into distant memory. Do you find the season has much effect on your choice of wine for drinking?

Yes. I tend to drink more red and fortified wines (ports and sherries) in winter because they tend to be a better match with heartier winter food. Sipping an amontillado sherry or tawny port after dinner in front of a roaring fire is one of my life’s greatest pleasures. It’s the winter equivalent to basking on the beach.

The 10th of this month is Mother’s Day, so hopefully many of our readers will be treating their mum with delicious food prepared from Taste. Is this a special day in your family?

When our daughters were still at home we would draft up a “mum’s day out” contract. Mother Marion would be ordered to go shopping (with a generous cash budget) before attending a pre-booked beauty clinic. The girls and I would then give the house a huge spring clean (huge by our standards but not so big by Marion’s) and prepare dinner. Now the girls are gone I do an abbreviated version with slightly less cleaning and a more romantic dinner.

First published in Taste Magazine NZ – May 2009.

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