|PX Sherry over ice cream|
All three grapes grown on the region for Sherry are white grapes. They are Palomino, Pedro Ximenez (PX) and Moscatel. Palomino is the main grape used in all dry Sherry. PX and (to a lesser extent) Moscatel, are used to make sweet Sherry, or used to sweeten dry Sherry. By itself, the Palomino grape produces a rather neutral and bland wine, but this is the perfect type of grape for the process of making Sherry, as the processes used will determine the final product.
There are numerous styles of Sherry produced:
- Fino is the lightest, and most delicate of the traditional varieties of sherry. The wine is aged in barrels under a cap of flor.This should be drunk young, and pairs best with almonds, fried food, green olives, seafood and tapas (think shrimp and calamari).
- Manzanilla is an especially light variety of fino Sherry made around the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda.It has a salty character to it. Best paired with: almonds, Spanish hams, fried foods, green olives, oysters, Seafood and tapas
- Manzanilla Pasada is a Manzanilla that has undergone extended aging or has been partially oxidised, giving a richer, nuttier flavour.
- Amontillado is a variety of Sherry that is first aged under flor but which is later exposed to oxygen, producing a sherry that is darker than a fino but lighter than an oloroso. Naturally dry, they are sometimes sold light to medium sweet.Best paired with almonds, Manchego Cheese, nuts, richer tapas dishes, and beef stock based soups.
- Oloroso is a variety of Sherry, aged in the presence of oxygen, for a longer time than a fino or amontillado, producing a darker and richer wine. These are the highest alcohol Sherries, around 18 to 20%. They are naturally dry, but can also be sold in sweetened versions.Best paired with blue cheese, and hard cheeses (something with a bit of salt to it), as well as nuts, and beef dishes (with the drier styles).
- Palo Cortado is a variety of Sherry that is initially aged like an amontillado, typically for three or four years, but which subsequently develops a character closer to an oloroso. This either happens by accident when the flor dies, or commonly the flor is killed by fortification or filtration.This is a relatively rare style of Sherry
- Jerez Dulce (Sweet Sherries) are made either by fermenting dried PX or Moscatel grapes, producing an intensely sweet dark brown wine, or by blending sweeter wines with a drier variety. I like PX sherry with dark chocolate desserts, or over vanilla ice cream.
- Cream Sherry is a common type of sweet sherry made by blending different wines, such as oloroso sweetened with PX.
|Bodega Sandeman - Jerez|
So, are you ready to venture into the world of Sherry? Next time your order that big plate of seafood paella, consider a glass of Sherry, and let the magic begin.