Sherry wines are made out of white grapes and is a distilled beverage. This diverse beverage goes with a wide range of food varieties and therefore is a preferred drink for many occasions. Sherry come from the town of Jerez, Spain and is known as vino de Jerez. These wines are sweet in taste and mainly pale in color. Due to many variations in these wines, this beverage is easily available in the market. These wines are good to serve just before the main course, but some prefer to consume the wine throughout the meal too.
Sherry is a fortified wine with brandy and is therefore known to contain certain amount of alcohol in it. Some of the sherry can be served chilled or even at room temperatures which can be consumed with dessert or other apéritif. Before knowing the kinds of sherry, let us first study the process of making such a refined wine and how more variations are acquired from it.
Producing and Identifying Sherry
The town of Jerez has a warm and a suitable climate to propagate the growth of grapes for producing sherry wine. Months between June and October are suitable to cultivate grapes as certain moisture is retained from winds blowing over the oceans, which is appropriate for the growth of grapes. Jerez is blessed with three types of soil namely Albariza, Barros and Arenas, that is rich enough to grow grapes for making sherry wine. This soil perfectly suits the three kinds of grapes; Palomino, Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel. These sweet wines are made out of three kinds of white grapes that are used to develop variations in the taste and texture of the wine.
Fermentation of grapes gives taste to the wine. In order to make sherry wine, the grapes are harvested in September and are left to ferment till November. The first grape extract determines the basic sherry called Fino and Manzanilla. The second extract is used to produce a more refined Oloroso wine. With the different variety of wines available, let's take a look at the ways to classify sherry.
Fino is among the traditional sherry. It appears golden and is dry and light in taste. The Fino wine is a fresh wine that is supposed to consumed right after the bottle is opened. If the Fino wine bottle is kept open for long it is likely to lose its taste and aroma too. A thin layer of flor shields the wine protecting it from other affecting elements that are likely to damage the wine. Jerez Fino, Peurto Fino, Manzilla and Pale Cream Sherry are more varieties available in Fino wine. The alcohol content is 15 -18% and taste best when served cold.
This is a slightly darker colored wine than the Fino sherry. This wine is dry and sweet in taste. This wine is covered under the layer of flor at the beginning and later fortified with 13.5% of alcohol. The wine has a hazel-nut aroma and is very mild and smooth to drink.
Oloroso wine is darker compared to Amontillado and has a high glycerin content in it. The glycerin in the wine makes the beverage smoother and less dry. It has a nutty aroma and is sweet in taste. It can be served at 12-14 degrees or with ice. The sweeter variations of this wine can be served as dessert wine.
Palo Cortado is allowed to develop under the veil of flor and then later fortified to 18-20% of alcohol. Its mahogany color gives it a very rich look and has the aroma of Amontillado. This wine is easy to store as it can be kept for a few years before opening the bottle. Once opened its life reduces down to just a few weeks. This wine can be best served with cheese, olives or nuts.
Grapes such as Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel are fermented in order to obtain a much darker brown or black sherry wine. Wines made out of these grapes are very sweet in taste and darker in color.
Sherries are great apéritif, but can give you the effect of enjoying a good dessert. These wines are more on the sweeter side and must be served cold and must be consumed the moment the wine bottle is opened.