This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20091223.php.
PX on IC
First, as Christmas draws near, highlighting the winter holidays that bring joy to people of many Earthly heritages, allow me to wish Wine Advisor readers a holiday season of happiness, peace and joy, a blessing that transcends creed and heritage to incorporate us all.
Now, turning back to wine, let's focus today on a thick, "sticky" dessert wine from Spain that's well suited to warm a winter's night.
Pedro Ximenez, an old-line white grape, is widely grown around Spain, almost always as a source for sweet wines. It makes the sweetest and stickiest of Sherries, although in modern times it's largely been supplanted in Jerez (Sherry) by the sturdier, less disease-prone Palomino.
But it's still available, and when you're looking for a dessert wine that's sweet as sweet can be, it's a good choice.
Some consider it a particularly appropriate wine for Christmas, too, observing that the common abbreviation, "PX," resembles the Greek letters Chi (which looks like an "X" but is sounded as "CH") and Rho (which looks like a "P" but stands for "R") ... in other words, the Chi-Ro of ancient Christianity, "CHR," an abbreviation and symbol of Christ.
There's no evidence that Pedro Ximenez was named with this in mind, and there's not likely much truth in the old story that the grape was brought to Spain from the Rhine, of all places, by a traveler named Peter Siemens, whose name the Spaniards rendered as, well, Pedro Ximenez. I'd place its etymology in category "unknown," and welcome information from anyone who has a better, verifiable story. Catch me by Email at email@example.com.
As for the wine, the Pedro Ximenez featured below, which comes from the old-line Sherry producer Osborne, is a dessert-wine bargain at $15 to $20, and bears a strong flavor resemblance to sweet black raisins. It's fine for sipping after dinner in small tastes, but a little experimenting has revealed an unexpected truth: Pour a healthy drop atop a scoop of fine quality vanilla ice cream, and dig into the best grown-up sundae you could imagine. I wouldn't mess it up with whipped cream or a cherry on top, but I won't blame you if you decide to try that.
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Today's Tasting Report
Osborne Premium Sherry Pedro Ximenez "1827" ($22.99)
FOOD MATCH: Fine sipping after dinner, and it makes a remarkable flavor pairing when you pour a little over a bowl of vanilla ice cream. We are not kidding about this. Judiciously used, it also makes an intriguing condiment. A shot of it in homemade cream of roasted pumpkin soup popped the dish into a third dimension.
VALUE: The $20ish price is fair, and a bottle, dispensed in short tastes, will last a long time. Shop around, though, especially if your state has joined the 21st century in terms of shipping wine to individuals, as some vendors list it as low as $15 or so.
WEB LINK: The winery Website appears to be in Spanish only, and at this season it begins with a longish Flash Christmas movie with music. It's nice to watch. Once.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
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