Best buys | Hidalgo Oloroso Faraon 30 y.o. sherry

Best buys

Hidalgo Oloroso Faraon 30 y.o. sherry

Just over a month ago I was sitting with Javier Hidalgo in his cellar in Sanlucar sipping very old oloroso sherry from the cask, an experience that will go down as one of my great wine-tasting memories. This week I got to try the bottled version, the Bodegas Hidalgo Oloroso Faraon 30 y.o., which is equally thrilling.

It’s a dry oloroso - deep, rich and complex with a really intense flavour of grilled nuts but an astonishingly fresh acidity - one of the most delicious sherries I’ve tasted.

It was boldly matched at the lunch I went to with two meat dishes - duck breast with mash and red cabbage and a venison, pancetta and mushroom pie. I thought it would pair best with the pie but initially it worked better with the duck breast - due I swiftly realised to the sharp/sweet notes of the red cabbage. When I tried the cabbage with the pie too it was perfect. An unlikely match but a brilliant one.

The name of the sherry, Faraon, refers to the Spanish name for the head of a family of gypsies - just as La Gitana, Hidalgo’s popular manzanilla, refers to a gypsy girl.

The bad news is that it’s not cheap - which is absolutely right given the provenance and its age, just a bit of a downer for cash-strapped sherryholics like me. The best price I could find it for was £49.75 (for a 50cl bottle) at thedrinkshop.com though you'll obviously have to pay postage on that. Better to buy a single bottle off the shelf if you can - branches of Cambridge Wine Merchants have it for £54, Harrogate Fine Wine Company for £54.99 and Nickolls & Perks of Stourbridge for £55.85. Or you can buy it from Tesco - Tesco - for £41 a bottle if you're prepared to buy a six bottle case.

if you have oloroso cravings without a VORS budget I was hoping to be able to recommend the cheaper Faraon oloroso as an alternative to you which is around £15.99 a bottle but it’s just not in the same league. But take advantage of M & S’s current 25% off across their wine range (until March 4th) to snap up a few bottles of their Dry Old Oloroso which is made for them by another great producer, Lustau. It’s a great deal at £7.49 but a steal at £5.62.

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