If you thought sherry was just a tipple for Grandma at Christmas then drink again. Sherry is versatile from an aperitif to a scrumptiously sweet dessert. The vines are baked in the scorching sun of southern Spain on chalky white soil of Jerez.
Starting with an aperitif the pale dry fino, made from the palomino grape. It goes through the solero system and is protected by the covering of yeast called flor which protects it from oxidisation giving it that perfect freshness. Manzanilla is a lighter style than Fino and from the coast of Sanlucar de Barrameda and has a faint salty tang that is said to have come from the sea.
We then move on to Amontillado and the best come from aged finos that have lost their freshness to be classed as a fino. This is either done from the yeast dying naturally and the loss of flor or encouraged by the adding of alcohol to kill off the yeast. It produces a softer darker wine and can be sweetened.
Oloroso’s are much darker and richer than amontillado the flor killed off early so as to lose the freshness and develop oxidised nutty flavours. These style can also be sweetened and is the base for the famous Bristol Cream.
Moving to the sweet trolley to complete we have Pedro Ximenez also referred to as PX, this is the grape variety used and the style of wine. As with other sweeter tasting wines the grapes are dried so that the flavours are concentrated developing the sweet raisin flavours.
Don’t tell Grandma I told you to try her sherry!