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April 20, 2010

Sherry Fino - Manzanilla

While in Andalusia, it was of course easy and natural to drink a sherry here and there before our meals and in between and without food. The habit became to take the dry, light ones and not everywhere would the restaurants tell us what their housewine was. Too basic for them. (They would hardly say if it was Manzanilla or Sherry Fino...) And we did not really care. As long as it was good to our tastebuds.

Still. At one restaurant, it tasted best and that is where I insisted to see the bottle, when we returned for another couple of glasses. I can buy it (and already did) here in Sweden (like anywhere else, I guess) and this is it, my favorite Manzanilla:

La Guita,
Rainera Perez Marin, Spain
94 sek (ca 9.5o €)
15% abv

Pale straw color. Perfect balance, to my taste. Light, dry, elegant, wonderful aromas of almonds, little yellow apple, yeast that also show on the palate, completed by this special little saltiness. Served chilled and just so, so good with the green olives, they will traditionally serve it with. But of course, it will fit the classical tapas plate and can be served to nice sallads and other lighter dishes, with fish, chicken, white meat.

This Manzanilla is world known and nothing new at all to the winelover. I am afraid, it is a mass-production product, with 12.000 bottles being filled in the hour. This is not the small little romantic bodega thing. And I am just falling for the average taste, I see. *sigh* But, what can I do?

La Guita, an old word for money, is the name of this brand since 1907, done by the winery Hijos de Rainera Pérez Marín in Sanlucar de Barrameda. Since 1985, the new owners have refined the style of the wine to suite the modern palate and since then the sales of this wine has been soaring. The bodegas cover some 64000 m2. Dimensions! (Info taken from the website.)

La Guita was not only best of the Manzanillas we had, but it pleases my tastebuds also more than these two Sherry Finos:

Tio Pepe,
Gonzales Byass, Jerez, Spain
109 sek (ca 11 €)
15% abv

Tio Pepe, another world famous brand, located in Jerez. Read about my visit, if you like. Also a giant.

This Sherry Fino also has the nice and typical almond aromas and flavours, little apple and yeast, but lacks the saltiness, which I like so much (and is special for Sanlucar de Barrameda). Compared to La Guita this one seems a little less well balanced, little 'thinner'.

And now, the wine connoisseurs are going to hit me, because, I like La Guita also more than this singel vineyard sherry:

Inocente Dry Sherry Fino
Valdespino, Jerez, Spain
59 sek for 375 ml (ca 6 €)
15% abv

Pale color. The aromas more intense than with the other two wines above, again: almond, apply, yeasty, a touch earthyness (no salt). Expectation increases! But then, on the palate, it does not live up to it. It gets 'thin' (in relation to the nose), although the flavours are again the typical Fino ones. Nope, does not beat 'my' La Guita.

I will try more Finos and Manzanillas.


  1. Heike,

    Anwsering your difficult question, I prefer Fino. Nothing taste better than the fino straight out of a barrel. The Don Fino from lustau and the Fino from Fernando de Castilla are good ones to try. Tio Pepe in my view is way too processed. But if you love Manzanilla you should try the Manzanilla en Rama (from the barrel, with very little filtering) from Barbadillo. they do small bottles of manzanilla 37.5cl with the "saca" - drawn on the label the current one spring 2010 with a little turtle on the label is just beautiful!
    BTW are there many Sherry drinkers in Sweden?

  2. Olá Joaquin! Thank you so much for your tips! I will note down those wines and see, if I can get them in Sweden (or Germany).

    Unfortunately, I never got to taste any Sherry directly from the barrel and you just made me very jalous here!!!

    So: what do you think of the La Guita then? Same as about the Tio Pepe?

    WHY is Fino better than Manzanilla for you?

    I do not know, whether there are many Sherry drinkers in Sweden, but I will ask other people, who might know... It is certainly not as many as in the UK :-) or in Andalusia.


  3. Hi Heike,

    La Guita is a good Manzanilla (average over here). The main problem with commercial Finos and Manzanilla is that they do filter then way too much so loses the main character. They are treated with extreme cold and active carbon (not sure if the same in english). But as I said, you should try the Barbadillo en rama, the colour is gold, intense nose and full of flavour. It is like "normal" manzanilla on steroids!. try this website
    if not just go to and search the products.

    BTW the amontillado on your other post, looks from the label that is from Jose Estevez, one of the biggest producers. I am glad you liked it. Where do you normally by your sherry? are there many places to buy it from?

  4. Joaquin, So fun to hear from you, you who are in Jerez and who tells us about Sherry and how it really is! Really appreciate it!

    I will definitely look up the Barbadillo and report back! Boy, how good can it be? If it is so much better than the La Guita, which I already think is pretty good... You really make me curious.

    The Lustau I can get here in Sweden, too, I saw, so that is already on my list...

    Where I buy my Sherry? And are there many places to buy from? There are many places to buy alcohol - at least one in every community in Sweden :-). But they all belong to one big monopoly. So, it is a little boring, no surprises for the consumer.

    The good thing: you get lots of different wines from any country in the world in Sweden.

    The bad thing: you cannot go 'deep', there are no speciality-stores, that go really 'wild' on one topic (like i.e. Sherry :-). It is almost impossible to get wines from smaller wineries... So, lots of mainstream wines when it comes to the mid-price segments.

    Here is a list of the Sherries in Sweden. There is a Fino en Rama from Montilla-Moriles, is that something you'd recommend?{8ACA7EAA-1BBB-4F61-9448-0C8786AD9849}