Manzanilla sherry: not your gran’s festive tipple!

The more eagle-eyed amongst you lovely lot may have noticed a few new additions to our menu. We’re experimenting with some gorgeous Basque pintxos which have been going down a storm, some spicy brunch specials and of course our favourite new tipples – all inspired by Lucy and Simon’s European trips.

At the Club, we love to feature meals and drinks on our menu that are inspired by delicious foodie cultures that have significance for us. This is also demonstrated on our wine list, with our focus on wines from Gaillac in the south of France, where Simon’s parents live, and by another recent addition to our menu – deliciously dry La Gitana Manzanilla sherry. Far from being your gran’s Christmas tipple, the Manzanilla we’ve discovered is sure to change the way you see sherry forever.

Over the autumn close period, the staff got to travel all over the world and have a pretty smashing time (read more about that here). Lucy and Simon journeyed to southern Spain, an area that has a lot of history for them as a couple. In the sleepy seaside town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, they worked their way from bodega to bodega sampling all the Manzanilla they could lay hands on.

The cooler, consistent temperatures and specific climatic conditions of Sanlúcar de Barrameda contribute to a higher yield of flor, the yeast that’s used to produce sherry from wine. These very specific conditions mean that Manzanilla can only be produced in this town – it’s a Denomination of Origin in and of itself. Manzanilla means chamomile in Spanish, and this type of sherry will often have notes of chamomile and almond as well as a fresh, zesty liveliness and slight salinity.

The Manzanilla Simon and Lucy have chosen for serving at the Club is La Gitana, one of the world’s most popular Manzanillas and the flagship wine of Bodegas Hidalgo in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Gitana means gypsy woman, and the gorgeous illustration on the bottle was painted for the firm by Joaquan Turina in homage to the gypsy-run bar in Malaga where Hidalgo’s Manzanilla was particularly popular. Palomino grapes are picked in the bodega’s very own vineyard in Bilbaina and Miraflores, two of Sanlúcar’s most respected zones, and processed into a sophisticated, dry and pale Manzanilla Fina that’s usually served chilled.

La Gitana is best enjoyed at an outdoor table at Bodegas Hidalgo, with a plate of tapas and a great view of the pretty square. If a trip to Spain is currently off the menu, though, come on down to the Club and enjoy a chilled glass with our delicious Basque pintxos platter or some delicious fresh seafood or Robin Hood’s Bay lobster, if you’re really lucky! Simon’s very favourite accompaniment to Manzanilla is soft scrambled egg with naga chillies and silverback anchovies. Perfect!

We hope to see you down at the Club for your own taste of Manzanilla in very short order. Salud!