When it comes to wine making, you mortals are curiously and delightfully quaint. During your Civil War, when the U.S. faced serious food and supply shortages, you cranked some of your wine out of pumpkin, several recipes for which live to this day. You even found a way to squeeze it out of ginger amid 19th-century Britain's cholera epidemic, in the belief that the plant protected against the disease. Rhubarb, soy, plum, turnip, rutabaga, even Little Miss Muffet's fabled curds and whey: When it comes to wine extraction, you'll go to any lengths and try any substance.
And we do convey our thanks for the several centuries' antics and amusements you've staged accordingly.
Yes, your inventiveness is indeed admirable—but you really needn't stray that far from the grape family in your quest. Raisins, in fact, are nothing more than dried grapes, and they make a perfectly fine base for a sherry called De Anada Pedro Ximenez, out of southern Spain's Alvear Winery. The 2003 entry is like nothing you've ever seen. It's this really deep amber, not at all like the red or white or pink you're accustomed to down here. It actually smells kind of like beer at first, which is even more disarming. Soon enough, though, the thick honey and toffee aftertaste kicks in, complementing your choice of marbled cheeses or pastry. It's not bad by itself, either, but only over ice and only if you have a fetish for sweets, and many of you do.
This one's available for, oh, say, $14 to $22 a bottle, depending on your provider. You'll find it mostly online at places like winerx.com, as only 300 cases have been imported into the U.S. Meanwhile, please accept our blessings as you explore your obsession with the most storied beverage on earth, in all its forms and amid all its foundations—although you may want to steer clear of water as your base. One of our own has that one covered, and if you even think about calling him on it, he can turn into one persnickety son of a bitch.