Regular readers of this blog will know that we love Sherry, and that we like to extol its virtues at every possible opportunity. It’s not just another fortified wine: From its distinctive sense of place, its unique ageing and the sheer range of flavours and styles on offer, Sherry has a lot to offer the adventurous wine lover.
One of our favourite styles is Pedro Ximénez, the lusciously sweet dessert wines made from the grape of the same name. Residual sugar levels can reach an incredible 500 grams per litre, making this one of the sweetest wines you’re ever likely to come across. Pedro Ximénez Sherries often have distinctive aromas of dried fruit, coffee and liquorice, and a generous and weighty mouthfeel with decadent sweetness.
When to buy Pedro Ximénez
Not that any real wine lover would need an excuse, but your best bet for buying Pedro Ximénez is when shopping for a sweet dessert wine. These wines don’t necessarily need to cost a lot. There are excellent value Pedro Ximénez wines available, from Jerez and the nearby Montilla Moriles region. Hidalgo Pedro Ximénez and Alvear Pedro Ximénez 1927, respectively, are good examples.
Such wines are perfectly drinkable, though sometimes the situation calls for something a little more high-end. A child’s graduation or wedding or the retirement of a parent or old friend. These are the big, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that call for something special. Lucky, then, that there are a number of seriously luxurious Pedro Ximénez wines out there for just such an occasion.
The best Pedro Ximénez that money can buy
With something (or someone) special in mind, sometimes only the best will do. We have selected three of the finest Pedro Ximénez wines that are sure to impress.
- Barbadillo Reliquia Pedro Ximénez is the pinnacle of PX Sherry. Its exact age is unknown, but it contains Sherry known to have been purchased by the Barbadillo family way back in the 1880s. Understandably its supply is incredibly limited, and demand is high. It displays a complex nose of dried fruit, aged wood and balsamic character. In the mouth, it is expectedly dense and sweet, though surprisingly fresh and acidic. This is a serious bucket list wine to be savoured, and is surely the greatest gift a Sherry lover could receive.
- Santa Ana 1861 from Emilio Hidalgo is a (relatively) more affordable example of fine Pedro Ximénez. This leading Jerez producer makes a wide range of quality Sherries, though this is undoubtedly the jewel in its crown. The solera system in which this was aged was started in 1861, and the result is simply gorgeous: It has a profoundly dark colour, a highly expressive nose of dried figs and dates, and it envelops the palate with a lush sweetness and lengthy finish. It is no surprise that this was rated 98 points from Robert Parker.
- Selección Robles Oro 1927 PX is actually not from Jerez, but rather the neighbouring Montilla Moriles region. This one demonstrates that fine PX can be made outside of Sherry, and producers like Bodegas Robles ensure that Sherry cannot rest on its laurels. The solera system used was started in 1927, and this delicious dessert wine has all the complexity to show for it.
What do you think of our choice of super premium PX wines? What others would you recommend as a gift, or which ones would you hope to receive yourself?