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Food is the key

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Sherry needs to 'make the leap to the table and forge an alliance with food' to capture the imagination of a new generation of consumers, according to the head of its generic body.

In an interview given on the website of Wines from Spain, César Saldaña, MD of the consejo regulador which governs Sherry, said that marketing the fortified wine to younger consumers was one of the most important changes made in recent times.

He said associations with sherry in traditional markets like the UK were more British than Spanish in nature, and belonged to an older generation.

'Only a radical change in the way in which sherry is perceived can help us to capture a new generation of consumers on international markets,' Saldaña said.

'In contrast to mainstream consumption as an aperitif, Sherry has to make the leap to the table and forge an alliance with food.'

The new image Sherry was attempting to portray, he added, was younger, more informal, prouder of its Spanish roots and more affiliated to gastronomy – exemplified by the new wave of sherry bars now fashionable in London.

'The key to success is being able to associate different sherries with specific mealtimes and precise pairings with food in order to enjoy this unique wine to the full,' Saldaña argued.

'Although it's true that it would be difficult to find a better wine than an ice-cold Fino as an aperitif, it's also the perfect wine to accompany cold tapas, such as our delicious Iberian ham. Manzanilla is an authentic "wine of the sea" and as such is perfect with seafood. A Palo Cortado served with a good-quality cured cheese can be a mystical experience.'

See the results of Imbibe's upcoming sherry tasting in the November-December issue.

News item from Imbibe.com, 15-09-2011 (updated 26-09-2011)

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