Morrisons The Best oloroso in a nutshell
A powerful and highly distinctive sherry offering incredible depth of flavour for very little money.
The word oloroso means ‘pungent’ or ‘fragrant’ in Spanish, depending on who you are talking to. It’s a coarser style, very different to the delicacy of a fino or elegance of an amontillado. Oloroso are made from pressing wines; in other words, the Palomino grapes used have been squeezed to get the last of the juice out of them. This means the unfermented juice contains tannin from the skin and pips, which means that the protective flor (the layer of yeast on the top of the sherry) does not form. To make sure that no flor forms, the wine is then fortified to about 20% ABV.
This means that an oloroso does all its ageing with oxygen contact. Someone once explained this to me as follows: a fino is like an apple with cling film on, it keeps its colour and freshness, whereas an oloroso is like an uncovered apple, it oxidises and turns brown. Almost all olorosos will be aged in a solera, where old wines are blended with younger ones, though you do sometimes see vintage-dated ones. As the brandy is added post-fermentation, olorosos are naturally dry, though they were traditionally sweetened for the British market.
This example is in the classic unsweetened style. It’s made by Lustau, one of the grand old names of sherry, which produces a lot of supermarket wines as well as stuff under their own label. If it says Lustau on the back of a bottle, you’re pretty much guaranteed a good wine. The company supplies Morrison’s with its ‘The Best’ range, which is good across the board, this one being the pick of the bunch. In fact, it is a surprise to find such an uncompromising sherry in a supermarket, especially at such a low price. It’s really pungent, heavy with a taste of muscovado sugar and brazil nuts, and very hard to refuse a second glass of.
Dry olorosos love hard cheeses like a mature manchego. It’s also great with rich meat dishes like game pies and makes a lovely sipper on its own either chilled as an aperitif as they do in Spain or after a meal.
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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.