Sherry wine has been under the crosshairs of people to be a cheap beverage. However, if you are a true fan of wine, you know that sherry wine is a great drink to end a tiring day.
It has also been quoted as the wine used for cooking, but even that narrative is partially true.
You can use sherry wine for your favorite preparations, but that does not mean that it loses its independent flavors and purpose. Here is a guide that will help you to learn more about sherry wine and its variants. You must read this article till the end to learn about all the perspectives that this wine has to offer.
Table of Contents
What Is Sherry Wine?
The history of sherry wine traces back to thousands of years. It was first discovered in Spain, where it was made using the Palomino Grape. It was also infused with grape brandy to attain its rich flavor.
Many pioneers in history have pampered themselves with the use of sherry wine. Columbus and Magellan have been identified to sail across the globe with barrels full of sherry wine. Some tales also hint towards Shakespeare devouring it too.
The production of sherry wine is restricted to only three places that are known as the sherry triangle. Just like other spirited beverages, they require specific conditions to be created. The sherry triangle is formed when three cities of southern Spain are clubbed together. These cities are Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa Maria.
How Is Sherry Wine Produced?
There are two prominent methods of producing sherry wine, namely biological and oxidative. Both these methods have different characteristics, and therefore, they provide the consumer with distinctive outputs.
If oxidation is used to age wine, the wine will be left to interact with oxygen, picking up a nutty essence. These wines are rich in flavor and take less time to get ready when compared to the second method.
In the case of biological aging, the wines are left in barrels to age. A layer of yeast called flor gets created on the top of these wines, which acts as an agent for aging. The yeast that gets formed varies from the typical fermentation yeast.
It consumes alcohol and oxygen and leaves the sugar alone. You will also find acetaldehyde as a byproduct of this process. Acetaldehyde is the element that is solely responsible for the tangy fragrances that these wines give out.
The aging of sherry wine incorporates a system called the Solera System. In this, multiple barrels of wine are stacked together to carry out perfect fermentation. The oldest wine is stored in the lowermost barrel, which is called the Solera.
When a brand needs to bottle their wine, they use the solera barrels to get their output since these barrels have perfectly aged wine. The solera barrels never run out of wine as they get their supply from the barrels connected to them from the above.
Whenever some wine is withdrawn, it is replenished by the same quantity from the barrel attached to it. This system provides an ample amount of time for the wine to breathe and ferment naturally.
There are various types of sherry wines that you can find in the market these days. Listed below are the prominent subtypes.
Dry sherry wines are byproducts of complete fermentation which resulted in negligible sugar content from the grape juice. They are aged using different styles that incorporate biological aging, oxidative aging, and even both.
The alcohol content of these wines is decided based on which type of aging method has been used. The generic figures hint towards a fifteen to seventeen percent use of wine-based alcohol for these wines.
Fino is the simplest sherry wine which is currently present in the markets. It is aged biologically, which means that a layer of yeast always covers it while rests undisturbed inside wooden barrels. This covering of yeast also prevents it from oxidizing so that it can age properly without any intrusion.
Fino wines do get their fair share of oxygen, but the yeast ensures that the flavor and color of the wine are not affected by it. This wine has a very fresh and nutty flavor with a decent alcohol content of fifteen percent. If you want to try out an extremely dry wine but still encompasses a low acidic range, Fino should be your go-to choice.
When it comes to sherry wines that undergo complete oxidation to generate their impeccable flavor, Oloroso tops the list. Its color is very dynamic and is dependent on the time that it has been given to age. It hints towards a shade of amber and gets darker and darker with more time.
It is an aromatic beverage that is very sharp on the nose. It hosts fragrances of nuts, tobacco, and spices that add to the overall experience of consuming this wine. It is placed under the subhead of robust wines as they have more alcohol content when compared to the generic wine standards.
If you like wines that are lenient on your palate, Oloroso might be a whole new experience. It consists of around eighteen to twenty percent alcohol which is enough to escape your sober state of mind after a brim-filled glass.
If you like Fino, there are high chances that you will like Amontillado too. This wine follows the same trajectory as Fino does, and that is why some people are often fooled when the two of them are served together.
The only difference is that Amontillado is left to age even more than Fino and is allowed to oxidize without yeast protection. It resembles a very golden-like color when it is done aging and comprises a bit more alcohol than Fino. Its taste resembles the taste of hazelnut with around 18 percent alcohol in a whole bottle.
It is aged with great persistence and effort to experience a prosperous journey of flavors that can change according to the farmer who is producing it.
Palo Cortado is a finely crafted wine by using young wines that were initially meant to create Fino or Manzanilla. It is aged by external oxidation in the latter stages after being left to age biologically.
It resembles Oloroso in its creation process but is a lighter variant that can cater to all the connoisseurs of wine. You will find a great aroma and taste if you choose to pick this wine up. The alcohol content found in cortados is generally limited to 18 percent.
When you are searching for dry sherry types, Manzanilla is another dominant variant. It is aged biologically, and it resembles Fino in the structure and process of creation. However, it is a lighter variant of Fino with a floral hint attached to it. Manzanilla is very famous for its bitter after taste and is primarily preferred by people who do not like sweet wines. Manzanilla sherries are dominant in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and the chances of finding them somewhere else are very bleak.
Cream Sherry is the most visible sherry wine in liquor shops and wine cellars. It resembles a dry wine until the stage where it interacts with a sweet grape that is called Pedro Ximénez. Cream sherries are primarily used in cocktails, but this paradigm is somewhat fading away.
As sherry wines increase their traction each day, the independent demand for cream sherry has been rising. The sweet taste of cream sherry is also responsible for its massive success in terms of sales. Consumers do not have to develop a taste for this wine as their sweet comfort zone stays unchallenged.
Optimum Uses of Sherry Wine
Sherry wines are multipurpose wines that have a broad spectrum of utility. Here are some of the best ways to use your sherry wine so that you can enjoy it till the last drop of the bottle.
Wine Tasting Parties
No wine tasting party can be complete without a premium bottle of dry sherry wine. Their multiple aging processes offer plenty of varieties and flavors. If you are hosting a wine tasting party, you must have some sherry wine so that you can break free from the mainstream options.
Sherry wines have an independent taste which can be enhanced by drinking them alongside cheese and other creamy food items. You can choose the brand of your bottle according to the additional specifications that you might have.
Sherry wines can be a great starting point for any momentous occasion. They do not taste like fruits, but they offer premium freshness and taste. You can also use this wine to create cocktails and fusion drinks like Sangria. The taste of any sangria prepared using sherry wine will be enhanced as the wine’s flavor does not overpower it.
These wines are very compatible with other things, and therefore, they can be mixed to prepare lip-smacking cocktails.
Wines have been used in the preparation of certain food items for a very long time. Sherry wines have been top-rated for cooking purposes because of their unique taste. They are also reasonably priced, and therefore, you can incorporate them as a regular ingredient while cooking.
The choice of wine depends on the type of food that you are making. You cannot use the same wine while preparing all your meals because the compatibility might get compromised.
Final Words – Best Sherry Wine
The classification of any sherry wine to be the best is very subjective. It varies from person to person since everyone is free to have their own favorites. As the culture of having wine is treading up a slow and steady mountain, sherry wines have made an entrance in the general market scenario.
If you are in awe of their unique characteristics, it is time you get that aesthetic dry sherry wine bottle that you have always been eyeing.