WHERE TO FIND FINO: AN INSIDER'S GUIDE TO SIPPING SHERRY IN THE UK
There may be any number of reasons why you are thinking about trying dry sherry. You have heard mutterings that sherry is the next big thing and are keen to get on board. Perhaps it’s time you reached for this new tipple before dinner rather than your ‘safe’ G&T. Your coolest friend hangs out at trendy hipster sherry bars and keeps remarking on the joys of a chilled Fino. You just tried it on holiday in southern Spain, as the Andalusian sun set, and you were sold; sold enough to decide that when you got home the fridge door was now to hold your new love. Or, simply, dry sherry is low calorie and that ‘summer body’ needs just a bit more help.
So, where to find it? This seems to be the root cause of the problem. People just don’t know where best to pick up a good dry sherry, and can be somewhat fearful at the prospect.
Fortunately, there are some excellent, well known retailers offering a strong selection. Waitrose’s own Fino sherry is a most quaffable option for the price. You can also find the notable names of Gonzalez Byass and Lustau. Their website tells you useful information such as the level of dryness on a numbered scale, giving uncomplicated vinicultural information and listing wine awards. Sainsbury’s also holds a comprehensive range of sherries along with their own ‘Winemaker’s Range’.
If you enjoy the personal touch of a small independent wine merchant you can discover many a well-stocked store. The classic and highly respected Berry Bros. & Rudd on St James’s Street is always worthy of a visit. Spirited Wines, Friarwood, Jeroboams and Bedales name but a few more. For the luxurious shopping experience, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Harrods or Hedonism are a must, with hands on help, guiding you through your dry sherry purchase.
If you would like to return home from work to find a case of 6 on the doorstep the well regarded and highly skilled team at Laithwaites is there to help. They offer full time customer service, a comprehensive range of dry sherry and a number of membership and delivery options. The Wine Society is another highly regarded retailer presenting an excellent portfolio, and Master of Malt both delivers across the UK and has an impressive international distribution network. Vino Beano is a relatively new wine club with rare and carefully chosen sherries.
These are all great for the home, but for an evening out dry sherry does seem to be a bit harder to come by, and is yet to find itself more regularly sitting amongst its counterparts on the aperitif section of the wine list.
Naturally, a Spanish tapas bar will provide by the glass options. The notable Camino Group just launched its new summer pop up terrace at their Bankside branch with delicious ‘Spanish serves’. The Iberico and Barrafina groups offer a well chosen sherry list as well as delicious food to accompany their selection. Jason Atherton’s Social Wine and Tapas is a sensational experience with a most impressive sherry list and food menu to savour.
The new and fabulous SACK near Liverpool Street is a welcome entry to the London bar scene. This trendy operation by Barry Scotch and Fabrice Limon is championing the category with an extensive offering by the glass.
If you want to drink dry sherry away from the Spanish restaurants you may find it more of a challenge but luxury hotel bars should offer a few by the glass, The Rosewood, The Connaught and The Ritz being just a few to mention.
Here we have identified a few places to find dry sherry. The list is not exhaustive by any means. It is also ever growing. And watch this space for spots to sip XECO!