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An old bottle of Harvey's sherry. Author
The cream of the cream

The cream of the cream

The great sherry houses were founded by the English and the Scots, begging Pedro Domecq's pardon of course, but he did have an English partner

Andrew J. Linn

Friday, 17 March 2023, 10:36

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How would the history of sherry have turned out if Britain had not been such an important consumer of Jerez wines.

While other northern European countries drank sherry because it was cheap and high in alcohol, the British market was based on quality.

The great sherry houses were founded by the English and the Scots, begging Pedro Domecq's pardon of course, but he did have an English partner. Of course, the taste back then was for sweet varieties, and finos and manzanillas were hardly exported.

Although we are now quite open to occasionally drinking sweet wines with dishes like foie gras and blue cheese, it has generally been consigned to the little old ladies' favourite tipple.

The House of Harvey was established in Bristol in 1871, the port being the destination of wines shipped from Spain, and the brand that made its name was Bristol Cream, a blend from 30 different barrels of varying ages.

It soon gained popularity worldwide, creating a new category of wine, cream sherry.

Harvey's Bristol Cream achieved a royal warrant in 1895 from Queen Victoria, continuing to leave its mark on history in 2013, when it was chosen to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the late Queen's coronation.

Perhaps uniquely it was served with ice and a twist of orange peel, allegedly the way her late majesty enjoyed it.

Ever inventive, the brand makeover brought with it a facility that many types of wine would benefit from: the label turns blue when the contents of the bottle have reached the correct drinking temperature.

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