Would you like to try sherries but just don’t know where to start?
Here’s our handy guide to how sherry is produced and what options you have:
Which grapes are used to produce sherry?
Primarily, Palomino grapes are used. They are white grapes grown near Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia.
They are harvested in September and pressed to produce a ‘must’ – grape juice.
This is fermented in stainless steel vats for a few months. It is then initially tasted and classified before ageing in wood.
How is sherry fortified?
Once fermentation has taken place, grape spirit is added to the base wine to fortify it.
This spirit, Brandy de Jerez, has been distilled and purified to increase the alcohol content.
Fino and Manzanilla sherries are fortified until they reach an alcohol content of 15.5% of the volume.
Oloroso sherries are fortified to 17%.
What happens during the ageing process?
Sherries are aged in barrels. Finos and Manzanillas develop a layer of a yeast-like growth called flor which helps protect the wine and keeps the colour lighter.
Olorosos do not develop flor and oxidise during the ageing, meaning their colour becomes darker.
Sherries from different years are blended in the solera system – a process of fractional blending.
Workers transfer liquid between barrels by hand in a careful process which can take decades.
The aim of this process is to ensure a consistent quality.
As the blending takes place, the oldest sherry in the process is bottled each year.
What types are there?
- Fino – a pale and dry sherry. Our classic Fino is light and dry, excellent with nuts, olives, and sausages.
- Manzanilla – a very light variety which is made near Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Try our Manzanilla Riá Pitá, light, fresh, crisp, and perfect with seafood and fish.
- Manzanilla Pasada – a partially-oxidised sherry with a nutty flavour.
- Amontillado – a dry sherry aged partly under flor and partly oxidised to give it a darker colour than Fino. Our classic Amontillado is aromatic and amber-coloured, a good choice with poultry and cheese.
- Oloroso – a darker and richer sherry produced by ageing without flor and with alcohol percentages of between 18% and 20%. Try our antique Oloroso aged in barrels for 20 years to produce an exceptional sherry perfect with meat, game, cheese, and stews.
- Palo Cortado – aged similarly to the Amontillado, this develops a darker colour and a character similar to Oloroso. Our Palo Cortado Urium Clásico is a perfect aperitif.
- Jerez Dulce – made using Moscatel frapes or dried Pedro Ximinéz sweet wine or by blending the sherry with other sweet wines to give a dark brown or black, and sweet-tasting sherry. Try our Oxford 1970 which is ideal with cheese.
- Cream – usually made by blending Oloroso and Pedro Ximinéz. Our cream sherry is smoky and smooth and perfect with desserts.
Would you like to find out more about our sherries from Jerez? Get in touch with us here: https://siong5.sg-host.com/contact/.