Blind Tasting Sherry: WSET L4 Diploma style

Blind Tasting Sherry: WSET L4 Diploma style

Exercise: Write full tasting notes for 5 sherries in a style suitable for examination at WSET L4 Diploma. The below notes were written blind and the name of the wine was added afterwards.

MANZANILLA
ALEGRIA MANZANILLA SUPERIOR (SANLUCAR DE BARRAMEDA)

Appearance is clear, pale lemon with a tinge of green. Some viscosity on the glass but swift moving, which along with colour suggests a low alcohol and dry fortified wine.

On the nose the wine is clean with pronounced aromas of lemon fruit, yeasty bread notes and salt.

The wine is dry on the palate with medium acidity, low alcohol and a light body. The flavour intensity is pronounced with predominantly lemon characteristics. There is also some salt, yoghurt and bread flavours with dried apple notes. The wine is mouthcoating indicating fortification and the finish is long.

This is likely a very good quality Manzanilla that you can drink now. It has the saltiness one might come to expect from a Fino-style made in Sanlucar de Barrameda. Typically aged for 5 years in solera might explain some of the delicate and subtle dried apple notes.

FINO
TIO PEPE PALOMINO FINO (JEREZ)

Appearance is clear, medium intensity lemon colour. Some viscosity but swift moving suggesting a dry fortified wine.

On the nose the wine is clean with medium intensity aromas of grapefruit, bruised apples and yoghurt, likely from flor yeast.

The wine is dry on the palate with low acidity, low alcohol and a medium body. The flavour intensity is pronounced with apple, lemon and grapefruit characteristics. Yoghurt notes also carry through on the palate. The wine has an oily texture and a long finish.

This likely a good quality Fino and – from its weight – more likely a style of Fino from Jerez than Puerto. It’s ready to drink now and has an excellent finish. Made from Palomino grapes.

AMONTILLADO – MED DRY
WAITROSE OWN LABEL AMONTILLADO BLEND (JEREZ)

Appearance is clear, medium intensity brown with some viscosity in the glass but not enough sugar or alcohol for the appearance of tears.

The nose is clean with medium intensity aromas of orange, marzipan, pastry and digestive, indicating flor yeast.

The wine is medium dry with medium acidity, high alcohol and a full body. The flavour intensity is pronounced with notes of pastry, blood orange, hints of caramel and bread (yeast). Texture is veering from oily to creamy with a medium plus finish.

This is likely a good quality medium dry blend of Amontillado sherries, suitable to drink now. It is probably from Jerez as the style is typical. Caramel on the palate and marzipan aromas hint at the wine’s deliberate oxidation to add more richness than a Fino. Caramel and sweetness suggest this is a medium dry style.

PALO CORTADO
LUSTAU SOLERA JEREZANA PALO CORTADO (JEREZ)

The wine is clear, light intensity amber colour veering towards brown. There is some viscosity suggesting higher alcohol or sugar content but no tears develop.

The nose is clean with medium intensity aromas of fig, yoghurt and walnut.

The wine is dry with medium plus acidity, high alcohol and a medium body. The flavour intensity is pronounced with notes of blood orange marmalade, yeast (bread, pastry), walnut and charred wood. The finish is long and reminiscent of yoghurt and digestive biscuits.

This is likely a good quality sherry, likely a Palo Cortado due to its oxidative and flor yeast characteristics. Yeast is more predominant on the palate with oxidative notes more noticeable in the aromas. The body is fuller than dry styles of Amontillado. Drink now but could age although development is unlikely.

OLOROSSO
WILLIAMS AND HUMBERT COLLECTION 12 YO OLOROSSO (JEREZ)

Appearance is clear, light intensity amber with slow-moving viscosity but no tears developing. This suggests fortified wine due to higher alcohol.

The nose is clean with medium plus intensity aromas of butterscotch, pasty, yoghurt and orange peel.

The wine is dry on the palate with medium plus acidity, high alcohol and full body. The flavour intensity is pronounced and very nutty with butterscotch, charred wood, savoury vanilla spice, marzipan and caramel characteristics. The wine’s texture is oily but with a steely freshness and a long finish.

This is likely an excellent quality Olorosso style sherry, likely with maturity in solera due to the charred wood and butterscotch notes. The lack of flor yeast aromas and characteristics, bar a little yoghurt or creaminess on the nose, suggests a fully oxidative sherry style and indicates Olorosso. Made from Palomino.

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