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Sherry
Sherry

Sherry
Sherry is a fortified wine that has been blended and aged in a network of old barrels known as “solera.” The specific style of sherry is dependent on the way the wine moves through these solera. Sherries have an alcohol content anywhere from 15-22%. The vineyards from which the grapes that are used to make Sherry, spread from an inland point of Spain just North of Jerez, to the Bay of Cádiz and Sanlúcar de Barrameda located on the Atlantic shore at the mouth of the Guadalquirir River.

There are 3 types of soil found in this region for growing grapes to make Sherry. Albariza is a stark white soil known best for growing Palomino grapes. It is the most prized of the soils and found mostly on the hilltops. Around half of this soil is chalk (which is where it gets its white color), with the rest a blend of clay, sand and limestone. Barro is a dark brown soil made up of a high clay content and 10% chalk. Finally, Arena is a yellowish soil made up primarily of sand.

Though used to produce 95% of Sherry, the Palomino grape’s aromas and flavors tend to be quite neutral. At the same time however, they are known to be disease resistant. Ironically enough, it is their neutrality that is so sought after, acting as a blank canvas for the albariza soil and soleras to impart their complexities onto.

Sherry most broadly falls into two categories. The first are fino-type sherries which are characteristically light, dry and crisp in comparison to the oloroso type sherries which are darker, richer, fuller bodied, nutty and often sweet.

Fino-Type Sherries

Manzanilla
An especially light sherry that comes from the town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Manzanilla is often described as having a salty flavor with a sea spray aroma. The wet ocean air gives Manzanilla these aromas similar to a freshly sucked oyster. Manzanillas have a higher yield of flor (yeast) than do other sherries due to the cool temperatures and higher humidity of the fermentation process. The thicker cap of flor protects the wine from coming in contact with the air, thus producing a much more delicate, crisp, fresh flavor as compared to other fino varieties.

Fino
While much less delicate than manzanillas, finos are fragile and need to be served at the peak of freshness. They are characteristically pale in color and low in alcohol content. Its flavors and aromas are distinctly dry and can resemble a garden after the rain. Fino is known to be one of the world’s greatest wines to be paired with seafood.

Almontillado
As compared with the aforementioned two, this sherry is far more aged. After it has moved through the solera, it is fortified so that its alcohol content rises before it is put into another set of barrels. At this stage, the wine is no longer protected by flor. This oxidizes the wine, causing it to take on a deeper color with nutty, rich flavors.

Palo Cortado
As a rare sherry, this type begins is life as a fino, where the flor develops but progresses to an Amontillado when the flor dies off. In the end, Palo Cortado most resembles richer styles of oloroso with a lushness and a heavy body.

Oloroso-Type Sherries

Oloroso
Not influenced by flor, while being highly exposed to oxygen, this sherry is dark in color and rich in flavor. Before entering the solera, oloroso is heavily fortified with grape spirits of 18-20%. Oloroso typically has a walnut aroma with a caramel flavor. This makes them perfect for pairing with rich meats and cheeses.

Cream
Cream sherries are made through sweetening oloroso sherry with Pedro Ximénez. These can range from having a thick consistency with flavors of fig and molasses to those of chocolate, licorice and roasted nuts.

Pedro Ximénez
An ultra sweet dessert sherry, Pedro Ximénez is described as dark and dense as molasses. This sherry is made from grapes under the same name (while most other sherries are made from the Palomino grape.) With a lower alcohol level, this sherry’s flavors resemble mostly, those of toffee, fig, date and molasses. The best way to serve this is poured over a big bowl of vanilla ice cream!

 
 
 
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Appellation d’Origine Controlée
Wine Through The Times
Wine Trivia 7
Fast Wine Facts 3
Grape Harvest
Oh the Horror! Red Wine Stains.
Wine Trivia 6
Grape Growing Problems
Fast Wine Facts 2
Ice Wine
Fast Wine Facts
How Many Grapes
Wine Aromas
Kosher Wine
Wine Trivia 5
When To Send Wine Back
Sherry
Wine Trivia 4
Prohibition
Great French Wine Blight
Port Wines
Wine Trivia 3
Wine Trivia 2
Wine Trivia
Oak Barrels
Sweetness
Sparkling Wine and Champagne
Organic and Biodynamic Wine
Aging Wine
Wine Varietals
Wine Labels
New World Vs Old World Wines
How Terroir Effects Wine
Clarifying Wine with Egg Whites
Tips On Preserving Open Wine
Why Red Wine Makes Me...
The Biology of Tasting Wine
Choosing the Perfect Glassware
Corks vs Plastic Corks
Wine Laws and AVAs in the USA
Tasting Wine
Wine and Food Matching
Buying Wine
Storing and Serving Wine