Anniversaries, Hair and Hare Krishna: A story about sherry

Oh, what confluence of events, what chance decisions led to this post!? 

It so happens that a certain day towards the end of July is important to me as it marks my wedding anniversary. This year my wife and I marked our 14th with a fabulous evening at Galvin at Windows and Racine. It was also the weekend we were to celebrate the wedding of our friends @mathildecuisine and @dewilded (doesn’t everybody call their friends by their twitter name these days?) so it meant that our kids would be spending the weekend with their grandparents. 

Having a free day (luxury!) meant doing stuff we have not done for ages, like going to the theatre. Being the ‘escapist’ type myself rather than a serious theatre lover, we settled on tickets to Hair. We both knew the music, but neither of us had seen the stage performance. It was sheer, brilliant fun, very well produced and a wonderful, yet emotionally draining experience. A great call for independence, freedom, yet ultimately a utopian ideal brought down to Earth by realities of life.

In the middle of Hair, I am aware of a chant speaking to me. It starts out simply … Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, … then just as it lulls you into a false sense of “this doesn’t mean anything to me, I don’t believe in such things” with Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, it hits me with the sucker punch: 

“Hare Rama, Hare Rama, 
Rama Rama, Hare Hare

I realise that life, or fate, is speaking to me.

The time has come to open my bottle of Gonzalez Byass, Tio Pepe Fino En Rama.

In this 175th anniversary year for Gonzalez Byass they decided to bottle a mere 175 cases of this unique wine, an expression of the true, unfiltered, unrefined nature of Fino sherry. The result is a beautiful creature, not just delicate and expressive, but also generous and self-assured in a way that most Fino is not.

My twitter tasting note on first opening said: 
  1. Robert McIntosh
    thirstforwine Amber & cloudy for fino. Some honey, iced tea & almond on nose. Viscous, lemon peel, nutty, smoky & savoury (not salty) effect #RamaDrama

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After a couple of days in the fridge (my wife does not share this passion), it is still a great wine, but maybe with more bruised apple notes, more of the honey, and a more hazelnut character.

As I found out from Anthony Rose’s great post on this wine, En Rama is:

the local jargon used by winery workers to refer to wine in its unrefined and most delicate state, prior to the normal stabilization, clarification and filtering processes that fino sherry has to go through prior to bottling. Elements of the Tio Pepe Solera are selected for the ‘saca’ or racking off, and instead of the usual clarifying process aimed at removing residual yeast and other naturally occurring particles, it’s racked into stainless steel and covered by an inert gas to allow for a natural and partial precipitation of lees and yeasts.

Less prosaically, according to my Wikipedia sources, Rama in the Hare Krishna mantra is “a reference to God himself, and in this case are a reference to “He who is All-Attractive” and “He who is the Source of All Pleasure”.”

I like that! Tio Pepe, Fino “that is the source of all pleasure”

It is a shame that this wine is not going to live long. It is destined to shine for a brief moment, then return us to the reality of a shrinking sherry market, but some of us will be enriched by the experience.

The Age of Aquarius be damned. When can we expect the new Age of Sherry?