As much as I love the “Most Interesting Man in the World” ad campaign, it’s maddening to me. Its like, look at this guy, who makes Hemmingway look like some kind of loser wallflower. What is he selling? Ubiquitous Mexican lager.
It’s insidiously clever, because the qualifier “I don’t always drink beer…” actually answer my first complaint which is IF HE WAS INTERESTING HE WOULD DRINK FUCKING INTERESTING THINGS LIKE ABSINTHE AND SPARKLING WINE AND WHISKY AND COCKTAILS THAT REQUIRE CRUSHED ICE.
But you see that’s the thing: the most interesting man in the world would actually have a need for a lame session beer. I still don’t believe it would be Dos Equis. It would be the most popular adjunct lager that originated from the country his hijinks were occurring in. So, Quilmes in Argentina while he ran a casino on the president’s yacht, Estrella Daam in Spain when he had to fly an emergency shipment of tomatoes to the Tomatina festival, Chang in Thailand where he spent a summer courting the illusive jewel thief the CIA can only identify by her alias “Grey Fox”, and so forth.
But really, you know what I think of when I think of the most interesting man in the world? I think of sherry. When we talk about a timeless sense of unimpeachable class that sets the bar for a life worth remembering, it is always sherry.
Sherry is not for everyone. The first time you try it, it will probably comes as a shock. Just like the first time you tasted coffee. Just like the first time you ate your steak cooked a proper medium rare. Just like your first shot of Fernet Branca. Just like the first time you fired a gun. Just like the first piece of sushi you ate. Like the first time you got hit in the face. Like your first kiss, the first time you try sherry you may not be sure exactly how to proceed- but if you’re fearless, you have a really good idea.
Sherry is not old school. Sherry has been around before your great grandparents were knee-high to a toadstool. But make no mistake: sherry has always been cutting edge. You got the album? Sherry has it on vinyl. You directed the movie? Sherry wrote the book it’s based off of. You got a case? Sherry tasted barrel samples- at the distillery. You think that sherry is old and antiquated, for the elderly to sip on while playing bridge. You are wrong: sherry is sleeping with the lead singer of your favorite band. Sherry is watching the sunrise at café du Monde in a dirty tuxedo. Sherry is cutting the blue wire- at random, because sherry doesn’t know how to disarm bombs. Sherry got lucky, and was called a hero. He got a key to the city.
I refuse to attempt to explain sherry. The idea disgusts me. That you would want to know sherry’s life story. No. When you meet sherry, he will be in the middle of a story. Of a heist. Of a party. He will invite you, as all congenial hosts would, to join in the madness. I implore you to accept the invitation. I cannot emphasize how much you have to gain from hanging out with Sherry.
One of the greatest mistakes I feel like we (sommeliers) make when trying to get someone to try sherry is attempting to explain how it is made. In general, we forget that the details that we find fascinating in wine sometimes bore the living hell out of our guests. They want to know why it’s important to them. This is fino. It’s going to taste like this, and it’s going to taste like this with your soup. It’s going to be so delicious you’re going to weep. If you want to know more, I’ll tell you. However, I feel like the most interesting wine in the world does not and should not dwell on his resume. He is living here and now, and he doesn’t have time to explain: he needs a 9-volt battery and lighter, and he needs you to trust him. Sherry is wearing a parachute, and as the cargo bay doors to the airplane slowly open, depressurizing the cabin, he looks back at you and says cryptically, “If you never ask, the answer will always be no.”
I’m not even going to try to tell you what sherry tastes like. I want you to go to a restaurant, or a wine shop, and I want you to find out for yourself. The most interesting wine in the world isn’t going to wait for you, but he loves company. Sherry cannot guarantee your safety. Maybe you have no reason to trust him, but you should.
There is a lot of good sherry readily available in Houston. My wine geek friends and I are doing everything in our power to make sure that more arrives. We are seizing the shipments on the docks at gunpoint. We are hacking the importer’s mainframe, and rerouting palets of En Rama to be sent to the streets of Westheimer. We are draining the drinking water reservoir, and replacing it with sherry. That’s not rusty water coming out of the showerhead, its Oloroso. Good morning!
If you let him into your life, Sherry will burn your drinking routines to the ground. Maybe that wasn’t what you were looking for, but you will be glad you let chaos into your life. You can both walk away from the fire in slow motion, and not flinch when it blows up behind you. Light a good cigar on the flames, it goes well with Pedro Ximenez.
I don't always drink wine, but when I do, I prefer the most interesting wine in the world.