Sherry has a bad name. Not with everyone, but there remains a significant number of consumers who believe sherry is a thing of the past, something grandmother “nipped” before
bed. This thinking could not be further from the truth!
The truth is that Sherry is not a sweet wine, certainly not all the time. Sherry is a fortified wine from southern Spain, Andalucia, and it has been made there for centuries. Are you sitting down? Sherry is dry and meant for food! There are some versions, mostly made for the American market in the mid 20th century that favored sweeter wines, while the British and the Spaniards kept the good stuff for themselves!
Sherry is made differently than most table wines. Old barrels of Sherry are blended with a younger version each year with the oldest barrel being bottled. This is known as the Solera System and it adds complexity each year as new wines are added to the blend. Through this process, a wine could be made from as many as 100 vintages!
Let’s talk about some of the styles of Sherry we have in the shop. We like Sherry from Lustau for their exception quality for the price. All three styles
While producers in other parts of the world have tried to make Sherry, the truth is that it can only be made in Andalucia. Why? The wind, the humidity, the soil and the seasons in Andalucia produce this unique aromatic profile and the characteristic salty and nutty palate.
First, Fino. This is the lightest style of Sherry. The wine ages from two years to ten years. When bottled, Fino is ready and meant to be consumed. Pair Fino with olives and Marcona Almonds! The importer says “Fino is the Pinot Noir of Sherry.”
Amontillado is next. Intentionally fortified and oxidized, Amontillado is essentially aged Fino. Darker in color, Amontillado has a salty bite with a richer palate presenting a smooth and nutty taste making it a perfect pair for seafood and cheese. And Amontillado made famous in the Edgar Allen Poe story, The Cask of Amontillado, comes with a story for the table!
Oloroso is the most oxidized of the Sherry styles meaning all the flavor in the wine comes from the interaction of wine and air. Oloroso is dark in the glass and made for heavier flavors such as beef, bitter chocolate and bleu cheese. Some compare the aromatics, and spicy, smooth palate of Oloroso to a finely aged Bourbon making it a transitional wine from brown spirits to the varieties and styles of the wine world.
Sherry is comforting in a glass on a cold night in front of the fireplace and equally at home on the
table with dinner. Just remember that because Sherry has a slightly higher alcoholic content, about 15 to 20%, serve half what you would serve in a glass of table wine!