Drinking and Pairing Sherry with FoodSherry is a fortified wine made in an area around the town of Jerez de la Frontera in southwestern Spain's Andalusia region. Most Sherry is made from the Palomino grape, with very small amounts of the Pedro Ximénez grape used for sweetening. Sherry is produced in two distinct categories called "fino" and "oloroso," but there is a broad range of styles within each category. Fino sherries are distinguished from olorosos by the growth of "flor" while in cask. Flor is a naturally occurring, soapy-looking yeast which floats on top of the wine while it ages in cask. This layer of flor protects the wine from oxygen and imparts a sharp, tangy character. When flor does not develop, the casks are classified as oloroso, and because the wine is not protected from air, olorosos oxidize and the aroma and flavor becomes very rich, raisiny, and nutty. Olorosos range from dry to sweet and are found in many styles, including the easily found sweet Cream Sherry. Finos are very dry, pale in color, and tangy. There are many styles of Fino, ranging from Manzanilla (the lightest and most delicate), to Amantillado (darker and nuttier), to the extremely rare Palo Cortado (rich and nutty). Sherry is produced using a system of fractional blending known as the Solera system whereby younger sherry is passed through a series of casks with no more than one third of the final casks being bottled at any given time. Thus, sherry is almost never seen with a vintage date and the finished bottled wines are very consistent from year to year.
Sherries can be excellent before, during, and after dinner. Light and dry styles of fino make perfect apéritifs and are superb with olives, almonds, and salty Serrano ham. Fino should be served chilled and the entirety of the bottle should be consumed in one evening. Oloroso Sherries can be served at room temperature with the sweeter styles pairing best with desserts containing dried fruit or nuts.
Sherry related News & Blog:
- An Appelation
- Closely related to Port wines.