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Last word on wine speak, and the virtues of sherry

When learning about wine you take on a whole new language, and over the past months I have tried to cover the essential words and phrases in this blog (feel free to refer back!).  Really, though, it`s only by trying them out yourselves that words and meanings have a chance of sticking. I`m reminded of when I changed the starting motor of my first ever car (a Ford Escort), I was told what a Bendix drive is, and its function. I still remember this 37 years later!  Therefore, my advice is to get stuck in. Take a good look under the bonnet. Maybe even consider taking a WSET exam. It`s a great way of getting into the drinks industry, too, if you think you might fancy a career in wines and spirits. We at “The Wine Centre” are always on the lookout for good people with WSET training, especially diploma graduates. But even taking wine on as a hobby, it`s a good idea to get to grips with the language. You`ll find the more you know, the better you will understand the subject, the greater the enjoyment and satisfaction.

Today`s concluding word from my wine-speak “series of drivel” is, as it happens, one I struggle even to pronounce:  oxidative. A word you will probably come across in the context of making sherry.  It refers to controlled oxidation during winemaking. Oxidative aromas and flavours may be described vaguely as nutty and complex, but really the best way to know exactly what an oxidative wine smells and tastes like is to buy a bottle of decent sherry, an Oloroso, Palo Cortado or Amontillado.  We have them in the shop, though they are not cheap. Indeed, it`s a time-consuming and expensive process, aging a wine in oak barrels slowly and deliberately in the presence of oxygen, a manifestly transforming process which gives us a wholly unique drinking experience. I`ve heard it described as on a par with the process of dry-aging and curing meats in this respect, where the original product is changed beyond recognition. As it happens, they pair fabulously together. Magnifico!

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