Palo Cortado, one of our favourite categories in dry Spanish sherry, is the rarest of all sherries provided the process happened naturally in the cellar. The very best of this category will usually combine the finesse and aromatic characters of an Amontillado with the charm, power and body of an Oloroso. Unfortunately the high demand of this gem amongst the sherry aficionados and collectors have caused a lot of faux Palo Cortado to appear in the marketplace, usually by blending Fino/ Amontillado with Oloroso in various proportions to ensure a more stable, consistent supply. If you encounter any Palo Cortado that's too cheap to be true, chances are, they are not the real McCoy. A good write-up on what a Palo Cortado is can be found here, for those who are keen to learn more about this somewhat mysterious sherry.
Lustau may be one of the biggest names in the sherry world but it doesn't mean their offerings ain't good. This limited edition Palo Cortado aged by Cayetano in Jerez de la Frontera (pictured above) is quite a delicious drop. A project they revived in 2017, and the Palo Cortado had been kept in their 22-butts strong solera for over 20 years. The wine exuded a bright orange-amber core colour with aromas of charred citrus, roasted almonds, toasted desiccated coconut, and slight VA. Mandarin peel, brined olives, and walnuts can be found on the palate with some peppery, saline tones and a touch of bitterness. We paired this with some 粉蒸肉 (Sichuan style steamed beef slices coated with a mix of five spice, sichuan peppercorn, salt, pepper and rice powder) and it was brilliant. Some fancy, oil marinated large anchoas from Don Bocarte on Pan Con Tomate will be equally excellent too, if not better.
But honestly, we can easily drain this whole bottle without any food and be happy.
"The word "Almacenista" in Spanish means literally storekeeper or stockholder. Traditionally the Almacenista of Jerez have stored and matured the finest sherries to supply sherry shippers. However Lustau selects a small range of these authentic wines that offered absolutely unblended, thus preserving their true glory. Quantities are, understandably, very limited" - Lustau