I cannot encapsulate this drink – read the note

Even as a regular Sherry drinker and incredible fan, I cannot possibly summarise the drinking experience this wine presents in a sentence. Head down the page and the note will make all clear.

Just so you know: this is a Fino Sherry bottled at ten years old when, we are told, the growth of flor yeast on the surface of the wine has persisted for this unusually long period. It was bottled from a single cask on 24th October 2011 without fining or filtration.

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Fino Tres Palmas, Gonzalez Byass

I’m not sure where to begin… OK: The back label tells us this is an “old, rare, fino sherry of exceptional finesse and delicacy of aroma”. Well, yeah, but that is somewhat missing the elephant in the room. It does have a range of subtle, complex aromas, with nutty tones, a chalky minerality, sweet hints and a definite old Sherry characters that you normally wouldn’t associate with Fino. However, the main thing it smells of is some appallingly toxic organic solvent. It reeks of something like acetone, but not that attractive. I can feel polyps grow in my nasal cavities as I sniff this. The palate continues this theme. There is a real density of flavour, it is a big, big Fino of quite staggering power. Drawing on my experience as an experimental scientist[ref]I was only euphemistically an experimental scientist in that I was obliged to do experiments from time to time, I considered myself a ‘theoretical biologist’.[/ref], the power is that of an evil carcinogenic compound that one normally would only find in a lab and almost no one knows what that stuff smells like because the moment someone suggests using it everyone else runs from the room in terror. I would really like to love this wine, and I think it has interest and there is much to like about it, but ultimately I hope I never have to put another drop in my mouth in the rest of my life. If you love Sherry it’d be worth having a mouthful, it is an expression of Sherry of unique personality, but in order to save you the £35 The Wine Society are charging per bottle, anyone who visits Elitistreview Towers in the next half hour can claim their free glassful; after that it gets dumped in a drain somewhere a long way from our water supply. As you can see from the picture below, there is more than enough left in the 50cl bottle, after the editor and I have been frightened off by it, to engage and horrify at least several hundred overly-enthusiastic Sherry fans.

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Oh yes, the back label tells us we should open this within six months of the bottling date. Rubbish! Most of us will be alive for far longer than six months…