Tuesday night was a night 3 months in the making. Robin, one of my favorite-ist distributors (IPO), and I have been talking about getting over to Hotel Delmano in Williamsburg for ages but couldn’t get our acts together, but finally the stars alined and we got it done.
Robin, Abe-my new winemaker friend- and I descended on the bar for what promised to be a full night of Sherry. You see, Alex, owner of Freek’s Mill, tends bar every Tuesday evening at le non-hotel and digs deep down in the cellar from some really impressive Sherries. Robin and I are big Sherry fans. Abe, not to much. Yet.
We began with a bottle of my first, yet very timely Marie Noelle Ledru Brut. I had never heard of this wine, yet on Tuesday one of TWM’s distributors let us know that he could get us a small allocation which seemed to please my boss immensely. The very same day on Instagram Peter Liem was glowing about a bottle he had recently drained, and here I was hours later with my very first try.
It’s an awesome Champagne. Toasty, textured, and not your typical cuvee, there’s a lot of personality here. Then it was time to bust into the realm of Sherry.
Alex started us with a flight of basics: La Gitana Manzanilla, an En Rama Fino (probably my least favorite even though I desperately wanted to love it), an absolutely wonderful Amontillado, and finally a just ok Olorosso, which is generally my favorite style for it’s complexity and depth. Great ones are the provocation of adjective diarrhea, this one, well…I’ll end the bathroom metaphors…
As the evening rolled on we picked up a few more faces. Robin’s boyfriend, and later Gabriella ,so we had a full table, which was good because we had a lot to get through.
The food at Hotel Delmano is pretty solid as well. A little trout (I think) with creme fresh, pickled onions and cucumbers, and a side of homemade ricotta on baguette. How European.
1990 Ulli Stein Riesling served as a pretty ridiculous palate cleanser. Rich, lush in texture, and just so hedonistically enjoyable. I was never on the Riesling train. It’s fine, it was just never something I sought out. But after copious amounts of 10+ year Rieslings in Australia, and this gem, it’s easy to see why people go ga-ga over it.
“It’s all about layers and building a baseline,” extolled Alex. After we had our baseline set with the basics we plowed into the good stuff. My notes are quite limited as it was dark, and there was sherry, but it went something like this:
Palo Cortado- so so so complex and layered- this is always a crowd pleaser. I don’t know if I have ever had one I didn’t totally love. If Amontillado and Olorosso had a baby…
Equipo Navazos 41 year Olorosso- caramel & wood. Hazel and VA-> but in a good way
Gonzales Byass Tres Palmas Fino- 1o years- honey covered nuts. bee pollen in the spring. love love love!
Equipo Navazos Bota 46 Oloroso- like eating pretzels in the swimming pool. A bit too much age, but fascinating nonetheless. So complex
PX Olorosso- better on the nose. fat and sweet on the front and so dry and lean on the finish. weird but awesome.
A unique 100% Xarel-lo from Spain served as our final palate cleanser- medium bodied, nutty, with great acidity. By this time it was after 1 on a Tuesday, so we called it quits.
Lessons: sherry is awesome.
And so is Alex, Hotel Delmano, Riesling, obscure Spanish wine, trout, Tuesdays, and Marnie.