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Wine Blogging Wednesday #47: “S” Stands for “Spanish Sherry”

Gabriella fondly remembers when she was a child, sitting in front of the TV listening to Cookie Monster teach the alphabet, and on this particular day, words that started with the letter “S”. This episode is firmly ingrained in her head, because unfortunately, she couldn’t pronounce the letter “s” as a child, handicapped with a severe lissssp. Therefore, words like snake became th-nake and summer became th-ummer. Clearly, this doesn’t bode well when you’re watching your brother happily sipping on his vanilla shake and all you can come out with “Mom, I want a thake too!”

Well, today, we’d like to thank Grape Juice for hosting Wine Blog Wednesday, by celebrating anything directly related to a bottle of wine that begins with the letter “S”. Considering that we are in Spain, we thought there would be no better opportunity than to feature our favorite “S” word, Sherry! Eric Asimov recently published an article on this much under appreciated style of Spanish wine, claiming that, “… certain wines require more of an effort to appreciate than most people are willing to give and therefore are consigned to a form of marginal status.” We wholeheartedly agree with him, and are hoping that today, we can motivate you to get off your keester and enjoy a delicious and thirst quenching glass of sherry.

Osborne’s Coquinero is a wine that we both immediately fell in love with. Incredibly delicate, with a honeyed nose, while the palate packs more of a punch. We seriously want to drink this on the beach in Cadiz with a plate of fried marine creatures! The salty air on the body are so big and creamy, you would imagine that you’re drinking a red wine, rather than the pale and elegant sherry.

However, after Ryan spent a considerable amount of time hunting for information on the wine, he came up empty-handed, well, at least on the Osborne site. True to our previous vow, we HIGHLY recommend not visiting this website, if you are interested in gathering information. It’s not only full of flash, it’s slow to load and is missing information in various sections. However, we did eventually learn that Coquina is a small shell fish that I assume are gobbled up by people lounging on those very same beaches that I am am currently dreaming of…. Ok, we’re back! Thus, we assume that the Coquinero is the individual who harvests coquinas. Ryan voiced how proud he would be to be a Coquinero and have this specific sherry named after him. Now, if only Osborne would release the Blogguero Fino, a wine for the sedentary lifestyle! 🙂

Back to the wine. Even though we are Certified Sherry Educators, you really need at least one lifetime to fully understand the myriad styles and techniques for producing this style of wine. That said, we do know sherry pretty well, and have even taught a class or two (if you need one, please let us know!). But this wine befuddled us a bit. It’s classified as Fino Amontillado! What’s that? Are you a Fino or an Amontillado? Well, this one wants to be both, and we can tell you from a taste perspective, if handed to us blind, the color would scream Fino, while the palate, Amontillado. Yet strangely, Osborne fails to explain why they classified this wine as a Fino Amontillado, while other sites seem to choose a style based on whatever is convenient for them. That said, if you take a peek at the label, the wine is fortified more than a Fino (approx. 15%), listed at 17.5% – a percentage much closer to Amontillado or Oloroso. The wine has also been aged under flor for 4 years (biological aging) and then undergoes a short oxidative aging, though this must be minimal seeing how the color is so light.

So can you get you’re hands on this? Well you Spanish and UK readers may have some luck, and there are even some small stocks in the US it appears, but I don’t know how easy your hunt will be. Coquinero is a wine that we both recommend and wonder what Wine Speculator was smoking the day they gave it an 87? I mean really, we drink a lot of sherry, and this wines only fault is an identity crisis. Uniqueness never wins as many awards as correctness.

Our hats are off to this amazing wine, and now to take the rest of the day off to both study the bottom of the bottle and the culture of a siesta here in Spain!

For more information on Spanish Sherry, check out some of our past articles:


Gabriella and Ryan Opaz

*Thanks to Lulucat and Debris for the use of their photos.

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