What is Pedro Ximenez?

I first bought PX by chance and simply thought it was a type of sherry.  This one I bought for at a local shop is Denominacion de Origen Montilla-Moriles from the Adalucian province of Córdoba in southern Spain.  It has since become the secret ingredient in my gazpacho.

PX

Then I thought, hold on a minute, there are ten thousand confusing varieties of ‘sherry’ in Spanish grocery stores. So I thought, let me find out more.

Sherry is made with the Palomino grape and is fortified with alcohol (although some of the sweeter varieties are mixed with PX or Moscatel grapes). Pedro Ximenez is actually a type of grape from Montilla-Moriles and due to its high sugar content does not need to be fortified. Accordingly, this means locals claim it doesn’t give you a hangover….hmmm.

Not unlike like champagne, sherry has had protected status since 1933 (Jerez Denominación de Origen) and must come from Cadiz in south west Spain, specifically the area between (famously) the town of Jerez, Sanlúcar de Barraeda and El Puerto de Santa Maria.  So, as far as I can tell, Pedro Ximenez must then technically be classified as a ‘sweet wine’?

Sherry is graded based on its colour and sugar content from

  • fino
  • manzanilla
  • amontillado
  • palo cortado
  • oloroso to
  • Pedro Ximenez.

For comparison sake, fino has a sugar content of 0-5g per litre whereas PX has over 212g per litre!

It seems there is a bit of rivalry between the two areas, Cadiz and Andalucia, when it comes to ‘sherry’.  Sherry from Jerez has traditionally been considered a finer fortified wine than that from neighbouring Montilla-Moriles.  Here is a great article from The Guardian about why wines from Montilla-Moriles are worth exploring.

Here is another article on sherry written by Derek Brown in the Huffington Post and a useful colour chart…

So now we all know a bit more about it.  I think…

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