Pedro Ximénez (also known as PX and many other variations) is the name of a white grape varietal grown in certain regions of Spain, and is also a varietal wine, which is an intensely sweet, dark, dessert Sherry wine.
PX was originally grown in the Montilla-Moriles DO region of southern Spain, and along with Palomino Fino made up the majority of grapes used in the manufacture of Sherry. However, the strong resistance of the Palomino grape to disease has led to a great decline in the use of Pedro Ximénez in traditional sherry, and despite its continued use in the sweeter blends of sherry in Montilla-Moriles, Malaga and other regions of Andalusia, its fame now rests principally on its use in the varietal raisin wine of the same name.
The dessert wine Pedro Ximénez is made by drying the grapes in a time-honoured fashion under the hot Spanish sun for two or three weeks on straw-mats, in order to allow the concentration of the natural sugar, sweetness. The amount of residual sugar in Pedro Ximénez wines is at least 210 grams per litre, but they will typically rest between 300 and 500 grams of sugar per litre.
The 'must' of these grapes ferment very slowly creating a wine of extraordinary depth and complexity of flavour, which are then used to create a thick, black liquid with a strong taste of raisins, figs, dates, molasses and coffee that is fortified and is used as a blender to sweeten Oloroso Sherry and aged in solera.
Pedro Ximénez can be quite crisp and dry when vinified still but is more frequently used as a sweetening agent in Sherry. The grapes are dried in the sun to concentrate the sugars and flavours. In Spain the dried P.X. grapes are vinified and then aged, matured using the 'Solera and Criadera' system in oak barrels for many years and produce fortified wines of considerable character and sweetness.
Best enjoyed served chilled at 6-8ºC and accompanying rich desserts; chocolate torte, pastries and is truly delicious poured over walnut ice-cream. As an after dinner drink, it is a great way to finish the perfect meal.