OK, I went to Spain and got a little bit nuts on sherry. I will try not to beat this horse to death, but I am absolutely going to ride it for a little while. At the moment, there are two fine local opportunities for trying out these wines: Vinsite, where Les Doss has the La Cigarrera manzanilla, produced only in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and the La Garrocha fino, produced in El Puerto de Santa María, at the mouth of the Guadalete, just southwest of Jerez (these are among the dryest, lightest sherries, although La Cigarrera gets an asterisk for power). Les also has the super-rich El Maestro Sierra Pedro Ximénez sweet sherry, and the Cesar Florido “El Dorado” Moscatel, from the little beach town of Chipiona, just down the road from Sanlúcar. The Moscatel is not sherry, but it is from the area, and is well worth making an exception for.
The other great local opportunity, and you really want to Act Now as they say on the infomercials, is at the Asheville Wine Market, where Eb has the very latest, freshest shipment of two sherries from Bodegas Lustau: The Puerto Fino and the Papirusa Manzanilla. I took a bottle of the Papirusa home, and can confirm that this is as fresh as it gets—it tastes just like the manzanillas we drank from the barrels in Seville and Sanlúcar: Yeasty, briny, and actually showing a bit of orchard fruit. The finish is clean, soft, and demands another sip. The ideal accompaniment would be fresh shrimp—not too big!--fried quickly in a very light batter (see photo below). If that's too ambitious, there's always a handful of marcona almonds and some of those Ybarra stuffed olives.
Any of these wines will serve at very least as a great introduction to the world of sherry; as is obvious, I find them exceptionally pleasurable to drink, and excellent values for money.
Casa Balbino, the best tapas bar in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and a fine place to drink manzanilla.
Tortillitas de Camarones from Casa Balbino; in our estimation the ideal food to enjoy with a cold glass of fresh Manzanilla.