Many people, (including myself -for many many years-), only thought of Sherry wine as that odd ingredient that some recipes call for or something that everyone suddenly starts drinking at Christmas. That is especially true if you live in the United Kingdom. Sherry, much like many other niche wines, is making a comeback and it’s about time it makes it out of your Grans drinks cupboard and out to a wider audience because Sherry wine is so much more than a Christmas tipple and the methods in which it is made has influenced modern winemaking all over the world, from French Champagne to new world, hip, raw-wine beauties.
‘Sherry’ is the name given to the wine that comes from the sherry-producing area in Jerez-Xeres-Sherry DO, Cadiz, Southern Spain. As with many European products, “Sherry” has protected designation of origin status, and under law, all wine labeled as “Sherry” must legally come from this area. A key aspect of sherry wine is that it is fortified, with grape spirit, thereby increasing its final alcohol percentage compared to a standard wine. Although, some producers are fighting to be able to produce the wine without fortification via grape spirit and through the juice alone.
There are so many different styles of Sherry out there and I would wager that most people are only aware of the darker, sweeter version that more resembles Port. However, Sherry is actually mostly made in the light, young, and refreshingly dry style. Making it something you could easily enjoy in summer as well as in winter. In my parts of Spain, dry sherry is looked at like the ‘whiskey of wines’. The amount of styles Sherry makers are able to conjure from simple grapes is so large that is easy to get confused with all of the options. We’ve created a Sherry cheat-sheet below to better understand all of the different types.
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Stay tuned for our more in-depth article on how exactly Sherry is made where we’ll dive into what is flor, the solera system and wth is the difference between Fino & Manzanilla exactly.