Wonderful discovery

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Full marks to Marks and Spencer! Currently their wine range is the most imaginative on the High Street: there are no branded wines repeated ad nauseam; they haven’t got dozens of Proseccos; and their shelves create interest at all price levels. And they stock en rama sherry, which I’ve never seen outside of a specialist wine merchant – and rarely there. We tasted their 50cl Lustau offering (£10) with the Byass’ Tio Pepe en rama from the Wine Society. The Lustao was freshly opened whilst the TP had been opened a week; both were nicely chilled

Briefly, en rama, is fino wine that has undergone minimal filtering and fining, and has all the attributes of a young wine. Light in alcohol (circa 15% ABV) it is very refreshing whilst maintaining the oxidative notes of the sherry style.

As expected, both wines were bright but pale lemon in colour. On the nose, the Lustau had more lemon zest notes than the TP, probably due its freshness, but the latter still had the lovely acidity of the light sherry. Richard found the Lustau more direct and pungent in flavour but the thought the TP was “very, very long” and developed slight apple flavours in the mouth. We are talking very marginal differences here; both wines were excellent and, with the accompanying octopus in oil and smoked mussels, we were transported back to the wonderful bars in Jerez.

We really recommend the Lustau en rama. If you’re not a member of the WS it’s the best opportunity to get some wonderful wine easily and at a low price.

[Richard: both lovely wines with the TP holding up well despite the exposure to air. My sherry drinking has dropped off a bit recently, especially since Equipo Navazos got so expensive but this was a terrific reintroduction. At £15 (bottle size equivalent) the Lustau is good value as well. I doubt however if all M&S branches will stock it – ours came from New Oscott which is a specialist food store. Not on the M&S website either.]

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