Review: Three Old Williams & Humbert Rare Sherries
I’ve said before that I am not much of a sherry drinker, but seriously, Harvey’s Bristol Cream is about the only sherry that America knows: You even see it on the dessert wine list at some of the finest restaurants… despite the fact that you can nab a bottle for about 12 bucks.
Following up its 15-year Dry Sack Oloroso, Williams & Humbert offers these three new sherry bottlings, all well-aged and intriguing, and each quite different.
Don Guido Rare Old Sweet Solera Especial Pedro Ximenez, aged 20 years, is as thick and dark as black coffee. Nutty on the nose, it’s intensely raisiny on the palate and could easily pass for an old tawny Port. Not a lot of complexity here, to be honest. It’s a solid punch of raisin character sprinkled with wood notes, but a little cloying in its sweetness. (Not that I should be surprised — it says so right on the label.) 18% alcohol. B / $50
Dos Cortados Rare Old Palo Cortado Especial, aged 20 years, is frankly not my kind of sherry. Burnt golden in color, it has a promising and young nose, fragrant with wood and vanilla and raisiny Port-like character. But the body is nothing at all like that, surprisingly astringent and quite rustic, with a very dry, vegetal character. Hard to get past a few sips of this one. Maybe more up your alley if you’re into drier dessert wines; the company intriguingly suggests using it as a cocktail ingredient. 19.5% alcohol. C- / $50
Jalifa Rare Old Amontillado Solera Especial, aged 30 years, is the age king of this roundup, and it shares a lot of its DNA with the Dos Cortados. The color is similar to the Dos Cortados, but with a comparably muted nose, the lightest of this roundup. Again, this sherry is extremely dry, with a nutty body but a lingering acidity that borders on medicinal. Built for fans of the dry dessert stuff. 20.5% alcohol. C / $70