The Spanish city of Jerez is located in Andalusia and is the birthplace of the world famous sherry. The fortified white wine was made famous worldwide by the English. Only wines from the city triangle around Jerez may call themselves sherry. The predominantly dry white wine is made from Palomino grapes and after the fermentation process, alcohol is added to 15.50% vol. alcohol. Since the maturation takes place in the air and the wine sugar ferments almost completely, the result is a dry end product. Depending on the ripening method, a distinction is made between Oloroso (oxidative ripening without protective pile yeast) and Fino-Sherry (pile yeast protects against oxidative ripening). As in rum production, the Solera process is also used for blending sherry. Here, different selected vintages are mixed together.
The sherry designations mainly refer to its age, the degree of oxidation and alcohol:
- Fino (the Fine): Light dry sherry that has matured without the chemical reaction under a protective pile layer. The age of sherry produced by the Solera process is between three and ten years. Alcohol content: 15-18%, drinking recommendation: 5-7 degrees before or with food.
- Manzanilla: Fino is further refined in the village of Sanlúcar de Barrameda and tastes salty and slightly bitter. Drinking suggestions: 5-7 degrees.
- Amontillado: The oxidation of the sherry begins when the protective floral yeast dies off. This can be achieved by the addition of alcohol or by a 15-year maturing process (real golden Amontillado). Drinking suggestions: 12-16 degrees, depending on maturity and sugar content.
- Oloroso: Is matured with oxidative reaction, without a protective pile layer, and has a stronger taste than a fino and more complex than an amontillado. Drinking suggestions: 12-16 degrees, depending on maturity and sugar content.
- Palo cortado: Occurs due to a longer lasting oxidation process, caused by an originally unforeseen death of the yeast of a fino sherry. Drinking suggestions: 12-14 degrees.
"Vinos Generosos de Licor"
- Medium: Liqueur wine from amontillados or wines. Produced through a special blending process. Drinking suggestions: 12-14 degrees, as aperitif or with exotic dishes.
- Cream: Is a semi-sweet liqueur wine from the oxidative aging of mostly Oloroso. Drinking suggestions: 10-12 degrees, as aperitif on the rocks or as dessert wine in combination with blue cheese and fruits.
- Pale Cream: A soft sherry blend of fino, manzanilla and concentrated grape must is produced under the protective layer of yeast. Drinking suggestions: 7-9 degrees.
"Vinos de Jerez Dulces Naturales"
After sherry casks have fulfilled their actual function, they are often used for the maturation of Scotch whisky.
For more than 3000 years the Spanish city of Jerez can look back on its sherry tradition. Some cultures and peoples like the Romans, the Visigoths, the Masons and Arabic peoples influenced the wine growing in Jerez significantly. Through the English Sherry got its present name. Sherry was imported as booty, quickly gaining fame in aristocratic circles and thus became the economic mainstay of Jerez. Northern European traders settled in the region, founded companies and further developed the sherry production (development of the Solera process). An association founded in 1933 committed itself to controlling the production, quality and export of the protected designation Sherry.