Tio Pepe En Rama – the ultimate Fino?


tio-pepeLast week the Berrys offices were abuzz with excitement over the arrival of the newest release of Tio Pepe En Rama. This is the third year that Tio Pepe have produced their pure and powerful Fino sherry, and as it was the 200th anniversary of the founder of Gonzalez Byass’ birth, the wine has been made from the oldest and therefore most flavoursome casks from the Tio Pepe Solera, and the bottle has been decorated with a beautiful old hand-drawn design from 1857.

En Rama is always hugely popular here, so we spared little time in ordering up a bottle for our hardworking tasting team to assess, along with a selection of Spanish nibbles to explore the wine’s huge potential for food matching. What we found is that this is probably the most intense Fino sherry we’ve ever tasted, which can only be a good thing. Comments by Oli Barton, Laura Atkinson, Emma Brown, Lucy Christopher and Steffan Griffiths. 

Emma: Firstly, I’ve got to say that that really is a beautiful label, isn’t it?

Lucy: Very old school, you can tell its hand drawn!

Emma: It was done to commemorate the founder’s birthday, which is actually exactly 200 years ago tomorrow.

Steffan: Well I think this is an appropriate tribute…

Oli: Can I just ask Emma, why have you brought fake plastic meat and cheese?

Emma: Those are real Oli, they’re just a bit shiny.

Oli: Ah, right. Brilliant!

Emma: One thing I’m surprised at is the appearance of the wine, I was expecting this to be much cloudier, considering that it’s unfiltered.

Laura: I remember last year’s release had a bit of a haze to it, which is perfectly normal when the wine is unrefined and unfiltered like this.

Oli: But that’s what makes it so intense. Just smell that, it’s got to be the most powerful Fino I’ve ever smelt, and yet it’s still immediately approachable.  I’m picking up almonds, citrus notes. This nose really bodes well!

Laura: It’s so precise. Such a pure expression of Fino, I was talking to Simon Field (our Sherry buyer) about it and he believes it’s the best release of En Rama yet, and I can see why.

Oli: I’m really blown away by that. I’ve been studying loads of fortified wines recently for my WSET Diploma exam, so you could argue I’m a bit sherried-out, but this really beats the lot of them.

Steffan: It’s really quite salty. Not in an unpleasant way, but almost like salted almonds, there’s a real salinity to it.

Laura: Yeah, there’s absolutely no sweetness here. It’s bone dry, which is great because it’s got such vibrancy because of it. This is for drinking here and now.

Emma: It’s incredibly silky. It’s got much more body than I expected it to.

Oli: Everything about it is more intense, it’s like a suped-up Fino.

Steffan: It’s a turbo Fino! And can I add that it is great with this food: Manchego and Spanish meats.

Everyone rushes for the food platter

Lucy: This is dangerously easy to drink. Although it’s quite seasonal, perfect for summer, exciting and quirky.

Oli: Sherry is always great value, and this particularly so.

Lucy: I imagine this would be a great aperitif.

Emma: Let’s talk food matching with this! I think this would be great with seafood, maybe something like potted shrimp.

Laura: Any food where citrus would improve it would be ideal, oysters are a must! Although, you could equally have this as a digestif, like the summer equivalent of a Christmas port.

Oli: Ah yes, port would be far too much for this time of year. But a summer sherry digestif, definitely.

Laura: I think this is proof that sherry is sexy again!

Steffan: However, this is very delicate. In bottle it won’t last more than a few months, and once it’s open, you’re best to try and finish it in one sitting.

Laura: I don’t think finishing this off will be a problem…

Emma: I think it’s safe to say we’re all going to buy this. And for those who don’t really know or like sherry, this would be a great introduction.

Lucy: Well, I’m pretty sure this is the best lunch break I’ve had in a while!


To read more about Tio Pepe En Rama, please visit our website.