Wine Rating: Sherry – Matusalem

by mary on January 14, 2007

My husband’s family loves a good dessert wine…so we break one out as often as possible. Often they are not Spanish ones, as the Spanish dessert wine scene can be limiting, but today we had one of our favourite sweet sherries. Pedro Ximenez (PX) is the typical sweet sherry that you see over here. PX is the sweetening grape made after drying the grapes in the sun. The monovarietal wine is thick, syrupy and intensely sweet, especially after long aging. It can be quirt nice but many of them are very cloying. One sip suffices…or it can be used over vanilla ice cream.

I prefer the sweet old Olorosos myself. Dry aged Oloroso is blended with PX to make these wonderful wines. I like them because the nutty, refreshing bitterness of the Oloroso is a perfect counterbalance to the raisiny sweet PX.


A fairly new category of wines under the Denominacion de Origen (DO) is VORS (Vinum Optimum Rare Signatum), which guarantees the wine is over 30 years old. VOS (Vinum Optimum Signatum) guarantees at least 20 years old. These are generally extremely high quality wines!

A quick note on sherry value: sherry remains one of the best value wines in the world. The quality of the wines, from the youngest, freshest Manzanilla to the oldest, most comlex Oloroso, is consistently very high and the prices are amazingly low! This is not so good for the sherry industry but great for us the consumer.Wine: Matusalem NV
Winery: Gonzalez Byass
Denominacion de Origen (DO): Jerez
Alc: 20.5%
Grape variety: Palomino and Pedro Ximenez
Oak regime: aged for 30 years in oak
Price: Around 30 euros in Spain

Tasting notes:
Visual: Dark amber/brown
Nose: High intensity. Raisins and prunes dominate with notes of honey, cinnamon, nuts. Very alcoholic nose.
Mouth: Sweet and bitter mouth…very complex. Enters sweet, with prunes and raisin fruit, but the finish dries out into a very pleasant and refreshing bitterness. Alcohol less sharp in mouth. Extremely long finish.
Food: Better on it own or with blue cheese, or other cheeses. Not sweet enough for most desserts.

Retaste: 8 hours on… exposed to oxygen…nose more mellow…less alcohol….prunes and almonds. Mouth is almost exactly the same.

Conclusion: Amazing, complex wine! This wine is a wonderful combination of sweet and bitter…not cloying at all. Great value fro such a high quality sweet wine! Points: 9/10!

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