Sherry Shorts: Books
So, you want to read about sherry?
While there are a burgeoning number of blogs and websites dedicated to the subject that are worthy of your attention (check my blogroll links), there are now more than a handful of english language books on sherry that deserve a spot on your wine bookshelf.
Peter Liem and Jesús Barquín’s book ‘Sherry, Manzanilla & Montilla’ is superb, offering a comprehensive overview of sherry along with profiles of the bodegas and their wines. It’s a must read for any wine lover and should be considered amongst the great wine books of recent years. Alongside it stands “Sherry” by Julian Jeffs. This is the sherry bible against which all other books on the subject must be measured. What it lacks in detail on specific wines, it more than makes up for in historical context and its description of the sherry journey from grape to glass.
Talia Baoicchi’s book “Sherry: A modern Guide To The Wine World’s Best-Kept Secret” is a wonderfully evocative introduction to sherry. It would be a mistake to merely pigeonhole this as a book for beginners though – the bodega overviews are excellent as are the lists of top wines and essential sherries that crop up throughout.
Current President of the Consejo Regulador, Beltran Domecq, has released a book “Sherry Uncovered: Tasting and Enjoyment” that is a good source of technical data and will particularly appeal to anyone wanting to indulge their inner chemistry student. I’m a big fan of Christopher Fielden and Javier Hidalgo’s book “Manzanilla”. If re-reading is a measure of sheer enjoyment, this book would be near the top of the list. It’s a concise but detailed look at the wines of Sanlúcar with a sprinkling of insider knowledge that can only be provided by someone of Javier Hidalgo’s stature.
I’ve been scouring AbeBooks of late to find some older books on sherry but have found little to recommend. The pick of the bunch has been “Sherry” by Manuel M.González Gordon – a legendary book that has stood the test of time. “The Sherry Royalty” by William Fifield is an enjoyable read if only to provide perspective on a sherry world that has changed so much in recent years.
Recently followed you on Twitter. Trying to connect with fellow sherry lovers. Don’t now why I neglected the social media aspect of that until now. I’m an Irishman living with my German wife, just 80 minutes or so from Jerez. So, in heaven, basically.
Rupert Croft-Cooke’s 1956 book, ‘Sherry’, won’t advance anyone’s knowledge of sherry who has already boned up on the books you mention, but it’s wonderfully entertaining and of its time. The final chapter is a great ode to sherry wines.
Henry Vizetelly’s book (1876 or thereabouts, I think) I would also recommend, as a slice of history as much as a sherry book.
The Big Book of Sherry, published by the Consejo Regulador, is an awful title and an utterly fantastic book.
Thanks for getting in touch. I thought about putting in The Big Book of Sherry but find it’s just a bit cumbersome – so much so that I’ve always ended up flicking through it rather than actually reading it in lots of detail. I’ve been trying to get hold of Vizetelly’s book (even in pdf) but can’t find anything that doesn’t cost a fortune unfortunately.
I got a facsimile copy from and Indian outfit (Gyan Books) who no longer seem to be listing it, but there do seem to be some options on amazon.co.uk
I must check that out. Thanks!
The first two are certainly my go-to references. Love Peter’s historical background on each bodegas. Talia’s humor and photos make for a quick read! Thanks for the other suggestions too. Highly recommend Julien Jeff’s newest edition – though dry, it is the most comprehensive.
Morning chaps! Sorry for being slow on this but I have a cold. Here is a link to the scanned Vizetelly from the national history library – enjoy. http://bdh-rd.bne.es/viewer.vm?id=0000092481&page=1
You are a bit short on Maldonado Rosso there Paddy! Alvaro Giron has set me a 540 page reading assignment – the Formation of Capitalism and Nueve Bodegueros etc – it is pretty interesting stuff.
It is, however, a great list as always.