Sherry (Spanish: Jerez) is a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown near the city of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia, Spain. Sherry is produced in a variety of styles made primarily from the Palomino grape, ranging from light versions similar to white table wines, such as Manzanilla and Fino, to darker and heavier versions that have been allowed to oxidise as they age in barrel, such as Amontillado and Oloroso.
The word "Sherry" is an anglicisation of Xeres (Jerez). Sherry was previously known as sack, from the Spanish saca, meaning "extraction" from the solera. In Europe, "Sherry" has protected designation of origin status, and under Spanish law, all wine labelled as "Sherry" must legally come from the Sherry Triangle, an area in the province of Cádiz between Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa María. In 1933 the Jerez Denominación de Origen was the first Spanish denominación to be officially recognised in this way, officially named D.O. Jerez-Xeres-Sherry and sharing the same governing council as D.O. Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
8 Types of Sherry
- Fino - Very dry, light-bodied Sherry that is straw-like in color. The characteristic aromas associated with Finos are almonds. Typically, Finos comes in at about 15-17% alcohol by volume. Amazing with almonds, olives, ham, and chips and dips.
- Manzanilla - Also dry, and pale in color. A "fino" style of Sherry made in Sanlucar and best with seafood and tapas.
- Amontillado - In between Fino and Oloroso in terms of color and body. This off-dry Sherry loses its flor during the aging process and yields deeper color and a lovely nutty flavor. The characteristic aromas associated with Amontillados are hazelnuts. This Sherry is great with oily fish and chicken dishes.
- Oloroso - Dark in color, rich in flavor. Olorosos typically have a remarkable walnut aroma and a swirled caramel flavor making them a top pick for rich meats and flavorful cheeses (consider Manchego, a delicious Spanish cheese made from sheep's milk).
- Palo Cortado - Is a very rare Sherry that begins life as a Fino (where the yeast develops) and progresses to an Amontillado (where the flor dies off) but ends up with the richer style of an Oloroso. This Sherry has a dry palate and an enchanting reddish-brown color combination with dramatic aromas and full flavor.
- Sweet Sherry - Is a Sherry that has been sweetened with Pedro Ximénez (PX) grape juice. Pedro Ximénez grapes have a high residual sugar content as they are sun-dried (think raisins) to concentrate the sugars before being pressed. Flavors that one can expect from PX are the thick, sweet flavors of fig and molasses.
- Cream Sherry - Rich mahogany in color and velvety smooth in texture, a sweet Sherry made from Amontillado or Oloroso and sweetened with PX. Perfect with cheesecake.
- Pedro Ximénez - Is an ultra sweet almost syrup-like dessert Sherry, made from sweet, sun-dried grapes of the same name. Its alcohol content is on the lower end of the spectrum and its flavor profiles lean towards the toffee, fig, date and molasses side of the vine.