El Maestro Sierra Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Jerez, Spain (375 ml)

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This bottling of El Maestro Sierra Pedro Ximenez comes from a 15 year old solera and is a lovely expression of the grape. As to be expected, the color is a deep dark brown and the wine has an appealing density and richness to it. The nose exudes exotic spice aromas like saffron, cumin and white pepper and the palate features robust dark red fruits, caramel and toasted almonds. A lot of Pedro Ximenez wines can be almost too sweet to drink and preferable to drip over a bowl of vanilla ice cream. However, this gem from El Maestro Sierra is absolutely slurpable and is the perfect way to end a meal, especially if you feel like skipping dessert. El Maestro Sierra is today one of the most respected and revered Sherry houses of Jerez. But it wasn't always that way. Jose Antonio Sierra founded the winery in 1832. He was a carpenter responsible for making most of the barrels used in the soleras of Jerez but he always wanted to be an actual sherry producer, not just a supplier of the vessels that made sherry. Unfortunately for him, sherry houses were all run by the nobility and they didn't take kindly to an upstart trying to get in on their territory. After years of struggle he was finally able to grow his business some and establish himself as a leading Almacenista (stockholder of sherry soleras). He designed his label to depict his position - as a fox being chased in a hunt by noblemen on horseback. The house is run today by Pilar Pla Pechovierto, whose late husband was a direct descendant of Jose Antonio Sierra. Since El Maestro Sierra was never a large scale producer and historically didn't sell a lot of volume, their solera stocks are amongst the oldest and finest in Jerez.

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