El Maestro Sierra Pedro Ximenez Sherry NV
When I was first introduced to Pedro Ximenez Sherry, a buddy of mine referred to it as “diabetes in a glass.” Taste it once and you’ll probably use the phrase too. This stuff is extremely sweet, but it’s also damn good.
Most sherries are actually dry wines made from the Palomino grape, but Pedro is different. It’s made with 100% Pedro Ximenez grapes (according to legend, the name of a soldier who brought them to Jerez), which has been dried in the hot Spanish sun for two days to concentrate flavor and sweetness. Then, like other sherries, it’s fermented and fortified with distilled grape spirits and aged using the solera method.
This particular Pedro offers dark, rich flavor and intriguing complexity. On the nose, it features a deep sweetness with notes of raisins and toffee alongside secondary savory notes of raw walnuts and earth. In the mouth, it is thick and viscous, with intense caramel, notes of nuts and orange peel, and a long, lingering finish.
It’s extremely satisfying as an after dinner drink, and though it carries enough sweetness to serve as dessert on its own, will also pair nicely with dark chocolate and other mildly sweet treats. The bottle is 375ml ($14.49 in PA), but a little goes a long way, and it’ll keep for a few weeks in the fridge after opening.