Sun, seafood & Xeco

Anyone who knows me personally, or has watched my wine stuff regularly will be well aware of the burning passion I hold for sherry. Contrary to popular belief, I’m here to tell you that if you don’t drink sherry regularly then you’re showing your age. A total Grandma. A dinosaur. All the cool kids are quaffing it and a few generations back they knew it was good too. It’s just skipped a few, which will come to be known in time as the dark ages.

I love the fresh, bright dry styles – Fino and Manzanilla. I love the richer, nuttier, more complex styles like Amontillado, Oloroso and Palo Cortado. Those three can be anywhere from bone dry to sweet and will tell you on the label. I’ll even throw caution to the wind and drink the viscous, sweet cream styles with you, with complete abandon and glee and puppy-like naivety if you ask me to. They are all glorious.

This week, I discovered Xeco (“Sec-co”), a pair of dry sherries, brought to the UK by three brilliant ladies and given a fresh, clean, contemporary spin. Alexa, Beanie and Polly are Sherry-shippers for the 21st Century – with all the panache and swagger of the original buccaneers but less of the scurvy and thieving of barrels, one assumes.

These are made for enjoying, as you wish. The Xeco team are big in to blending them in cocktails and spritzes, as well as drinking chilled straight-from-the-fridge. Check out their website and Instagram for inspiration on the cocktails. I’m 100% going to try them but today I’m keeping it simple.

I rarely have a Fino-less fridge and Xeco’s Fino ticks every box I justify that with perfectly. This is a super-dry, fresh and lean style with gentle almond nuttiness and even gentler nail-polish character. Hey! Hold tight, it wouldn’t be Fino without it and it’s fantastic. Do not walk away. With those subtle Fino characters, Xeco’s brings lemon citrus, gentle floral notes and orange blossom. It’s as elegant as any fresh white wine but with bags and bags of flavour. It’s refreshing, ultra clean and moreish.

With Fino, you don’t need food. It’s perfect quaffed on it’s own. But, it is also a hugely versatile partner to loads of food. A handful of salted nuts or a bag of salty crisps (salt and vinegar chip-sticks my personal fave) as an aperitif. Charcuterie, smoked salmon, sushi. All good. Fish and Chips, winner.

But it will withstand way more flavour in a dish than that if you wish. I love it with grilled octopus with fried chorizo in olive oil with crusty bread. Or, as I did at lunchtime today – a glass of Fino, with my lockdown-staple fishfinger sandwich; sourdough, lettuce, good mayo and a thin slice of fried chorizo. Absolutely filthy, salty, crunchy, life-affirming stuff. A match made in heaven.

The Xeco Amontillado is great too – dry and refreshing, fuller bodied, richer, more caramel, walnut and dried fruits in character, as you might expect. A lovely, salty, roasted nut and yeasty finish. One to sip chilled as with the Fino, but this would work brilliantly with roasted meats, white fish dishes in creamy sauces, mushroom pies with fresh pastry. The options are endless.

Both Xeco wines are available on the website www.xecowines.com and until the end of August they have 15% off on both! They are also stocked with 31 Dover, Master Of Malt, The Great Wine Co and are on Amazon. Enjoy!

Tom Surgey
26th August 2020
Tom’s body of work is extensive: he is one of the Three Wine Men, lead presenter for the Pingza wine app, Sales & Business Development Director at industry-leading English sparkling wine producer Ridgeview, a BBC Sussex wine expert and presenter of British Airways’ wine events.