Winter is time for hot, hearty soups. We all love a good soup, but how often do you serve wine with soup? Whoever coined the gag "I love to cook with wine; sometimes I even put some in the pot" probably had soup in mind.
There are few better dishes than hearty French onion soup served with a rich sherry, a dash of it in the soup.
Consomme of beef or duck with sweeter amontillado or oloroso sherry (Australian versions are now labelled apera) is a marriage made in heaven. Minestrone also works.
Fish soup or bouillabaisse with Provencal rosé is a no-brainer, but try it with dry fino or manzanilla sherry. And chicken and corn soup harmonises with chardonnay.
Seppeltsfield Rich Rare Apera, DP38 Solero, Barossa, $32-$40 (500ml)
A superb wine in sweet oloroso sherry style, minimum average age 18 years. Medium tawny-red to amber colour, the bouquet mellow with malt, vanilla and honey notes; sea-brine, toasted-nut and mixed dried citrus peels too. Intensely flavoured, the aged edginess of the acidity counter-balanced by appropriate sweetness. Very long, with a clean, drying finish. Screw-cap; 23.5 per cent alcohol.
Stockists include: Summer Hill Wine Shop and Camperdown Cellars (NSW); Nick's Wine Merchants (Vic); seppeltsfield.com.au
Mr Hugh Sipping Bliss Aperitif, $35-40 (375ml)
Dark amber to tawny brown colour; viscous texture. An extremely complex, richly nutty, smoky, toasty, chocolaty bouquet displaying considerable age. It's very rich and deep, full-bodied and sweet, but not too sweet. The overall impression is of richness and mellow complexity, like an old amontillado sherry – with nutty flor character. Delicious with French onion soup. Cork; 18 per cent alcohol.
Stockists include: Summer Hill Wine Shop (NSW); Boccaccio Cellars (Vic)
Equipo Navazos I Think Manzanilla En Rama, $30 (375ml)
A Spanish flor sherry with exceptional character, this has deep yellow colour and is rich and complex for a dry sherry. Nutty flor-yeast aromatics, lots of layers and great intensity. Terrific power and persistence. Great as an aperitif, or serve it with seafood or fish soup. Cork; 15 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? No – buy the freshest available.
Stockists include: Annandale Cellars (NSW); Blackhearts & Sparrows (Vic)