Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana manzanilla sherry in a nutshell
One of the most refreshing, moreish sherries from the masters of this style.
A manzanilla is a fino, a wine that’s aged under flor (a type of local yeast that forms a cap on the wine, protecting it from oxidation), in the seaside town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. The wines tend to have a salty tang to them which is said to come from ageing by the sea. The word manzanilla probably comes from the Spanish word for apple, manzana, and indeed they often taste distinctly of apples. This example, the best-selling manzanilla in the world, is made by Hidalgo. The name ‘La Gitana’ means gypsy, and the rather alluring lady on the bottle was the lover of one of the Hidalgo family.
Considering the price and the quantity this wine is made in, the quality is extraordinary. It’s made exclusively from vineyards belonging to the firm, and only from free-run juice, no pressing, so you end up with a very fine, delicate must. It’s always been a good wine, but in recent years the quality has gone up a notch, tasting fuller and richer but always with a refreshing edge. On the nose there are salted almonds and a distinct smell of Cox’s apples. When you taste it, you’ll notice that apple note again, there’s a creamy texture, a salty tang and a long nutty finish. Drink a chilled glass of this with some olives and it’s almost like being by the sea in Sanlúcar.
Hidalgo, still a family-owned business, produces the complete range of sherries, including fine olorosos and amontillados. This is the firm’s entry-level wine. If you get a taste for it, it’s worth exploring their other offerings. In particular, every year the company releases an ‘En Rama’ bottling. This is an unfiltered version put together from a select few barrels, offering the straight-from-the-bodega taste. Well worth the extra money.
Olives, shrimp, squid, anchovies – all the little pre-dinner delicacies go beautifully with this wine. Also one of the world’s great fish & chip pairings.
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This review was last updated in November 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.