Wine of the week: a versatile and venerable old sherry
Matthew Jukes Dec 06, 2011
Matusalem, 30-year-old Oloroso Dulce Muy Viejo, González Byass, Jerez, Spain (£15.99, half bottle, Majestic; Waitrose; Tesco; Ocado; Thedrinkshop.com; Cambridge Wine Merchants, 01223-568993; Flagship Wines, 01727-865309; Harvey Nichols, 020-7201 8538).
This is my guilty pleasure for the festive season. Matusalem is sourced exclusively from the González Byass vineyards. It spends 20 years maturing in old sherry butts and a further ten in the fractional blending conundrum known as the solera system.
Released at 30 years old, it’s a venerable old chap, albeit not quite as old as its namesake. With a spectacular, ancient, old amber/sump oil colour and an aroma that is somewhere between the smell of HMS Victory in its heydayand Callard & Bowser Liquorice Toffees, this is an evocative, decadently proportioned tipple. It goes with everything from dates (both kinds), nuts, blue cheese and chocolates to proper puddings, such as sticky toffee and treacle tart.
This is not a heavyweight, super-sweet sherry, but has an intense, medium-weight character. If you love the taste then track down Noé, 30-year-old Pedro Ximénez (£15.99, from most of the stockists above). It’s sensational with strong after-dinner coffees and William Curley’s phenomenal chocolates.
• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (