While traveling through the Mediterranean, It seems that every nation has its unique food that is a part of the culture. Tapas were introduced to Spain along with the Moors of North Africa. They loved mezze. However, when the idea of tapas came to Spain, they encountered some gaps because Spaniards drank alcohol in a way that the Moors didn’t. Tapas are traditionally served with a glass of sherry, which is a drink made in Spain.
There’s a funny tale about the history behind tapas. The guest was at an establishment drinking a glass of sherry while eating some almonds. Whatever the reason, the guest left leaving the bottle in the bar.
The bartender spotted a few fruit flies flying around the glass. He cut off a slice of bread and set it on the top of the glass as the lid. Tapas is a reference to covers or canopies. When the guest returned to the table, he picked the bread up, dipped it into the sherry, and then ate it. Then, he took a sip of wine. Every bartender who’s worth their salt would be aware of these actions. The next day, the bread was still in the glass of sherry, but in the middle of the loaf was a salty slice of cheese. When you’ve got an odor-filled piece of cheese to have along with your wine, it could stay longer, and the salt can make you want to sip more. After that, an ounce of ham with salt is added in with cheese as well as the bread. This is the birth of tapas. This is a transcript of the series of videos, The Everyday Gourmet: The Joy of Mediterranean Cooking. Check it out now on Wondrium.
Tapas could be made up of stewed or grilled food or raw food. It can also include cheese, olives, or almonds. These ingredients form a category of small meals that usually can be enjoyed separately from the main dinner.
Many sherries are made of Palomino grapes. The grape is picked and then vinified. After the grape has transformed into wine, the wine is tasted and evaluated, and then they search for better versions, which may be a bit higher in acidity and have a pleasing structure. They save them for what’s referred to as Fino or sherry, which is fine. Fino is Fino is then fortified with grape brandy to protect the wine. The process brings this Fino up to around 15 percent alcohol. The wine then gets aged in a specific way, referred to as a Solera system.
It is matured in a particular manner, known as a solera method. It’s a rack that houses the barrels in a row, which are stacked one over each other, with Fino being poured into those barrels that are at the highest. As more wine is added to the cellar, the wine from the barrels above is transferred to the next layer, and then the fresh wine goes into the barrels above, and so on until all barrels are full. The number of barrels varies from three barrels up to nine high. The rationale behind this labor-intensive method is twofold. The first reason is that they would like to guarantee the many vintages of wine and uniformity in the quality of their products. They want their wines to have the same taste each year. Blending wines over ten years will result in unmistakable uniformity. Another reason – and this is applicable to this Fino specifically–is that when the wine matures in the barrel, a layer of yeast known as flor develops over the surface of the bottle. This yeasty film actually shields the wine beneath from the oxidation process. When the yeast consumes the wine, sugars are consumed. If you don’t provide freshly made wine to feed the yeast, the yeast will fail and cease to exist. This prevents the wine from burning.
Fino Dry. There’s not much sweetness in this wine. It’s slightly sharp. It’s got a strong acidity. It’s an easy-drinking wine. It has a bit of bitterness but not a lot of the nuttiness you’re familiar with in some of these wines. This is a fantastic sparkling wine to pair with salty foods, such as salted almonds and olives, or perhaps with seafood. Poached or grill-grilled seafood or marinated seafood will be delicious with Fino.
Manzanilla is produced in a nearly identical fashion. However, it’s sourced from a different region of Spain that is closer to the coastline. A layer of flor protects Manzanilla. Therefore, it is fortified with around 15 percent alcohol. It’s also filtered through the system of solera and is protected from oxidation by the layer of yeast. The color is slightly darker, which suggests Manzanilla will be a fuller wine. Manzanilla is a fruity wine with a hint of a green apple. A lot of people believe that since it is situated near the shoreline, there is sea salt and a salty character to it. If Fino were delicious with marinated shrimp, grilling them would be more suitable for a heavier wine such as this.
The next is a sherry dubbed Amontillado. Amontillado could start its life as a Fino or may start its journey as a Manzanilla; however, due to reasons unknown, the flor becomes weak and then dies.
Because the biological film no longer protects it, the cell begins to age and oxidize. This is why it is brown. To safeguard the wine, it is enhanced with a higher amount of alcohol. It could be as high as 22 percent alcohol. The flor must have less alcohol to survive. However, it’s not in this bottle; as the flor has already disappeared, it is possible to fortify the wine to preserve it with the addition of alcohol.
Based on its color, the sherry is bound to be a bit nutty. This is the flavor that most people identify with sherry. It’s not as dry as sherry. It’s got this sense of sweetness and a delicious taste of nuttiness, which could be the perfect wine to accompany this Marcona almonds. It is, as you can see, higher in alcohol and tends to be a more round and softer wine that isn’t nearly as sharp as the Fino and Manzanilla. It’s a good wine to drink with heavier meals such as bartender’s chorizo.