In a world where everything swings in and out of fashion, alcohol is no exception. In fact, there are plenty of drinks that come and go as different trends take form.
Since sherry had its day, many years ago, it’s not exactly a fan favorite anymore, in fact, it has somewhat of a bad reputation.
I believe this is somewhat undeserved, especially when wine is still so revered. What’s wrong with a nice refined complex wine? Is it just an issue of people not knowing how to serve it best to unlock its maximum taste potential?
Throughout this article, I’ll discuss all things sherry, and by the end of this article, you should have a basic understanding of how it’s produced, what it tastes like, and the best way to serve it.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get going!
What Is Sherry?
So you may be wondering what Sherry actually even is. Well, it’s a wine that comes from Spain. It was originally made to be a dry wine but over the years it evolved into the sweeter dessert wine that it is most commonly known for.
For a wine, sherry’s highly alcoholic. It can range from 15% ABV all the way up to 22%. To put this into compassion most standard bottles of wine range from about 5-10% ABV. So if you take a sip of your first sherry and like it – make sure you take it steady.
Sherry is usually drunk similarly to port, a small glass at the end of a large meal. Although the Spanish would say to have a nice glass of sherry with some tapas, and hey, they created the wine so who am I to argue.
How Is Sherry Made?
Like every wine, to make sherry you’ll need some grapes to crush, ferment, and mature. But Sherry isn’t quite just like any regular wine, the taste is quite distinct and to give sherry its characteristic taste a lot more effort is required from the winemaker.
First, they must select their choice of white grape, popular options usually include Moscatel, Pedro Ximenez, or Palomino which is the usual favorite. Then the wine will be fermented and a base wine is made with the chosen white grapes.
This is then fortified (extra alcohol is added) and the wine is left to mature. Then yeast is added during the maturation process.
Types Of Sherry
There are quite a few different versions of sherry out there and each one will taste completely different from the next type.
This is probably the most common bottle of sherry that you’ll find if you go looking in a liquor store. The Spanish translation of Fino is refined. So it is a very refined wine, it is also the driest option out there.
This really is more of a sub-type of fino and both wines are made fairly similarly.
However, Manzanilla is known for its chamomile hints. If you try this subtype and enjoy it, you could always give Manzanilla Pasada a try, it’s very similar except the flavor is richer and nuttier.
While Amontillado may begin as just a mere fino, it certainly evolves into something so much more than that. By the end of the process, you’ll be sipping at a very rich, dark wine. This wine definitely has much more savory tones to it.
Palo Cortados are a hard find, but worth it if you do get your hands on one. They are the perfect blend of that lovely rich sweetness and that delicious crisp dryness.
This type of sherry is a rich and dark variant – and it’s incredibly boozy. From this bottle, you’ll get a dry aromatic spiced taste, but you can get sweetened versions which are labeled ‘Cream Sherry.’
What Does Sherry Taste Like?
It’s hard to definitively describe the sherry, especially since as you can see from above, there are many different variants that all taste very different from one another.
That being said, a younger fino is often described as having notes of preserved lemon, jackfruit, and mushroom. This might not sound like the most delicious, and it certainly is an acquired taste, but many people do really enjoy a good fino sherry.
More aged sherry like that of an Oloroso or Amontillado is much nuttier in its taste and is often described as having notes of almond or hazelnut. Much more familiar flavors for a beverage, but still a fairly acquired taste.
If you’ve never had sherry before, I would maybe suggest ordering one from a bar or trying a sip from someone that has a bottle kicking about in their liquor cabinet, before you start purchasing bottles for yourself.
How To Serve Sherry?
The best way to serve a sherry is in a small glass (approximately 3 ounces) but make sure the sherry is cold!
If you’re not a fan of it neat, you can always pop a little bit in a cocktail and enjoy this way. Sherry sours in particular are delicious!
Sherry probably isn’t in your top 3 list of favorite drinks, it might not even be in your top 10. And that’s fine, Sherry had its time as a popular drink, and with the way trends go, you never know it could always have the chance to make a comeback.
This complex wine certainly isn’t for everyone, but there are plenty of people out there who absolutely adore a nice glass of sherry, so it’s always worth giving it a try. If you’re not a fan of it neat, you can always dilute it down a little and turn it into a nice cocktail.
And if you really do like it, perhaps you could have a nice glass of sherry with some Spanish tapas like it was intended for?
If you do enjoy drinking this wine, just keep in mind that it is very strong and you should always try to drink it in moderation.