Sherry isn’t just the name of your cousin’s friend or some girl in a song (think “Sherry Baby”).  The name belongs to one of the most popular fortified wine drinks, and sherry is now becoming a more and more popular choice among wine drinkers.  A great benefit of sherry is that its versatility allows it to be a desirable ingredient in many dishes, and a cherished drink by cocktail enthusiasts.  Sherry has a special boast – no other wine in the world is made like it.  Of course, this also means that sherry is an acquired taste.

The vast history of sherry is very interesting.  It has a wide range of different types and styles, and has been produced since the early 1600s.  Sherry originates in southern Spain and is fortified with brandy.  Even though the Moors invasion of Spain had many downsides, one of the contributions they brought was the invention of sherry – the Moors introduced distillation to the region.  The drink was originally known as Sherish (derived from Arabic).  

One of sherry’s unique attributes is that it has a much longer shelf life than other wines, and this made it a great choice for transportation over long sea voyages.  Sherry is produced in a system called the Solera system, in which newer vintages are mixed with older vintages, which results in a very high-quality wine.  This is one of the reasons why you won’t see a vintage on a Sherry – it doesn’t have a single year it was produced.    

The Many Styles of Sherry

There are a wide range of Sherries which range from dry to sweet.  Some of the different types include:

Fino- Fino is traditionally the palest and driest of the varieties. It is aged under flor yeast to prevent oxygen contact.

Amontillado- This is darker than fino and is usually dry, although sometimes you will find it sold lightly sweetened.  

Oloroso- Oloroso is darker and means “scented” in Spanish.  This is a rich wine with a lot of alcohol in it. 

Manzanilla- This type of sherry is a lighter version of Fino.

Manzanilla Pasada- This is a version of Mazanilla that has been aged and exposed to oxygen which gives it a nice, flavorful, nutty taste. 

Palo Cortado- These Sherries are aged over three years

Cream Sherries- Cream or sweet Sherries are made with Moscatel grapes which give it sweetness is mixed with a drier wine.

One of the advantages of sherries is that they are both great to drink and great to cook with.  So you can enjoy discovering not only which sherries you like the best, but also which sherry recipes are the most pleasing.  Check out our wide selection of Sherries As always this is William Winehart wishing you good friends, good food, and good wine. Enjoy, my friends.