Amontillado is a dry wine that undergoes both aging using both flor (like Fino and Manzanilla) which is then followed by oxidative aging (like Oloroso). Between these two types of aging, the wine is fortified to 17% alcohol. This kills off the yeast in the flor, which can only survive to 15.5% alcohol. These aging processes result in a wine that has a body between Fino/Manzanilla and Oloroso. Consequently, there is a vast array of Amontillados that have varying lengths of aging by each method.
I paired my Lustau Amontillado with a mushroom chicken risotto. The Amontillado was a medium amber color with long, dripping legs. It had obvious aromas of roasted nuts such as almonds and cashews. Those notes combined with hints of butterscotch, dried golden raisins, and salt. This very dry wine had an earthy note that was heavenly with the mixed mushrooms in the risotto. I finished the risotto with a handful of freshly grated parmesan reggiano. The umami from the cheese was mind blowing with the salinity and earthy notes in the Amontillado. I garnished the dish with a bit of chopped parsley, which also played very well with the earthiness. There was also a subtle hint of the sherry I initially used to cook the risotto before switching to chicken stock. This hint made a wonderful pairing one that dreams are made of! This pairing is an excellent example of how 2 components that one might not normally find superb individually, came together to form an unforgettable ensemble.