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Sherry in general does not have a great image and Tío Pepe is a brand of sherry so I hope dooyooers will read past the first sentence!
And that is because Tío Pepe is a seriously wonderful drink.
Although sherry-type drinks are made in many countries, the real deal comes from southern Spain, centred on the town of Jerez. Jerez, as pronounced by the Spanish, is practically unpronounceable for most English speakers and the word sherry is the English approximaTíon, though it is so approximate that it is practically like pronouncing "London" as "Manchester". As with so many wines it is the combinaTíon of grape type, soil condiTíons, climate and processing that give the drink its unique character. All sherry is blended with one year's vintage mixed with the next, in order to produce a consistent product.
Sherry comes in a whole range of dryness, from the sweet stuff that has such a bad press to the king of drinks, that is crisp, dry, chilled Tío Pepe. The generic term for this type of sherry is Jerez fino. This is a godsend in Spain since, even though Jerez is unpronounceable, fino is easy to say and "un fino" is recognised all over Spain as meaning a dry sherry.
About the name Tío Pepe
Tío translates as uncle. Pepe is a little more complicated, as it is the familiar, friendly form of José, which is the Spanish version of Joseph. This means that we could translate Pepe as Joe, and the brand of sherry as "Uncle Joe". The Tío Pepe website tells the story much better than I can on http://www.tiopepe.co.uk/history.html
Finally, about the drink itself
It is pale in colour, very dry and intense in taste. For me the first glass from a newly opened chilled bottle blows my taste buds away. This is, in fact, a bit of a problem, because it is not a wine to drink lots of but rather an aperitif to waken your palate before eating. Sorry if that sound pretentious, but if you try it you'll know what I mean. The problem is that when the bottle is open, you need to finish within a couple of weeks, because the wine loses its initial attack as it gets exposed to the atmosphere. The solution is to offer it to lots of your friends or to go to a bar in Spain, especially in the south of Spain and come out with the magic phrase "un Tío Pepe por favor". Well, it beats dos cervezas.
Find out more
Go to the Tío Pepe website - it's a well designed website - to find out lots more but best of all, drink some. It costs about £10 a bottle. Just make sure it's chilled, from a freshly opened bottle. Then enjoy!
Gonzalez Bypass Sherry House / It is best known for its fino style of dry sherry made from the palomino grape. One of the best sherry's in the world.