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Wine of the week: a pulse-quickening sherry

Matthew Jukes tastes a bone dry, palate-invigorating, sharply tangy sherry.

La Gitana, Manzanilla En Rama, Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain 

£16.99, virginwines.co.uk; £16.95, reduced to £15.95 each as part of a mixed case, leaandsandeman.co.uk; £65 per case of six bottles in bond (not including duty and VAT), clarionwines.co.uk; £130 per case of 12 bottles in bond (duty and VAT will be added and the minimum order is £500), farrvintners.com

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There are fewer “anniversary moments” in the wine trade these days. I remember, 30 or so years ago, when we used to get very excited about the arrival of the new vintage of Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc. A few vintage Port declarations have been announced in the last week or so, but I doubt you heard any fanfare. The Champagne houses make it up as they go along, tooting their horns every so often to try and drum up business for their ubiquitous prestige cuvée releases. There are also a few “National Days”, which generic bodies try to hitch a ride on in order to bathe their wines in the spotlight for a moment or so.

None of these “celebrations” is as pulse-quickening as the moment that La Gitana’s En Rama Manzanilla hits the shelves. You will be familiar with the regular La Gitana – the finest value, aperitif-style dry sherry on the planet (£11.19, Waitrose; £10, virginwines.co.uk; £8, 75cl bottle, Sainsbury’s). The En Rama version is the fresh-as-daisies, natural yeasts, honest and elemental style of Manzanilla. This is a bone dry, palate-invigorating, sharply tangy sherry and it is bottled without filtration or fining. It is literally taken from the barrel and is the untainted juice directly harvested from palomino grapes grown in the famous Albariza soils of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. The four merchants listed have just this second received their stock so make that call today!

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)

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