A sizeable price difference – but what is the difference?


It makes a lot of people in this country, particularly men smirk if offered a glass of sherry fearing for their sexuality by association for some reason. It seems to be something that offends British masculinity. It’s absurd but true.

This all stems from the seventies and the era of Abigail’s Party when cheap “British” sherry was all the rage and quite undrinkable. It seems to have informed today’s thinking however, and now if you are seen drinking sherry in some downmarket taverns it is considered amusing. Extraordinary! In London there are fortified wine specialists who are overturning these sad misconceptions. A trip to Gordon’s wine bar in Villiers Street should leave one in no doubt about how fantastic this drink can be. An unfortunate situation as no other fortified wine has such a stigma, and nor should it. However this unfortunate association means that it represents very good value and these are really sumptuous wines that are well worth enjoying.

You see the real thing is altogether too delicious to ignore and if the population wishes to ignore it, then so be it – that is their loss! Last Christmas Fanny bought me the Pedro Ximenez Bodegas Malaga Virgen Reserva de Familia as a present. And the silly troll went and bought herself the cheaper Sainsburys one to slurp back in desperate moments. At least I say “silly troll”…

pedro ximenez sherry taste test photographer simon c bennett

At the time she thought she was buying a cheaper product for quick illicit swigs straight from the bottle when no one was watching only to find it wasn’t cheaper in quality. Not at all. In fact these two sherries are almost inseparable. They both have a sweet full bodied and delicious flavour redolent of raisins and prunes. And although they are at the sweeter end of the spectrum they are not not cloying. Three out of the four testers in the blind taste test could not discern any difference – and the one that did acknowledged it was subtle. (He did correctly guess which sherry was which).These would both make superb alternatives to any of the established after dinner drinks like port or madeira.

pedro ximenez sherry taste test photo by simon bennett

So, which IS better?
Answer? Neither. They are both equally good but there is a considerable price differential and because any difference is subtle we would snap up the Sainsbury version at £8.00 for a 50cl bottle. In fact you could almost buy two with the saving.

Prices as at 30th August 2014

Pedro Ximenez
Bodegas Malaga Virgen Reserva de Familia 50cl

Ultracomida £14.95
Village Wines£13.98
Wines Of Interest £14.25

Pedro Ximenez 50cl
Aged 12 years

Sainsburys £8.00

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