My Intro To Sherry
A complex fortified wine hailing from Spain.
Up until last month, I had never enjoyed a glass of Sherry in my life. Happily, that all changed when I decided to conduct my own tasting.
If you’re a Sherry virgin like I was, here’s a quick and simple tutorial; Sherry is a fortified wine that’s produced in Spain's southwestern region of Jerez. The wines come in many different styles or flavors, ranging from light and dry, to rich and sweet.
On the dry end are the Manzanillas and Finos, and in the middle of the spectrum are the Amontillados, Palo Cortados, and Olorosos. The sweetest are Pedro Ximenez and Cream Sherries.
To begin my studies, I chose a Fino, made from Palomino grapes. The wine was dry and briny—an interesting complement to the powerful cheese I paired it with. I read that Fino should be paired with olives for first timers, which makes perfect sense. In the end, Fino was a hard sell for my amateur palate.
Next up was a dry Oloroso. I opted to pair it with a meal similar to paella, and it was the perfect combination. The Sherry had subtle flavors of nuts and almonds and was a lovely complement to the meal.
The last of the tasting was a bottle of Pedro Ximenez that I enjoyed as a digestif. Made from Pedro Ximenez grapes, it’s sweet, but not cloyingly so, and has delightful hints of raisins. The next night, for a treat, I followed the Spanish tradition and drizzled some of the Sherry over vanilla ice cream, which I wholeheartedly endorse.
Serve your Sherry of choice in a copita—a small stemmed glass with a narrow taper, or if you don’t have a copita, a Champagne flute or white wine glass will do. Keep in mind, each Sherry differs in terms of serving temperature. Another bonus, Sherries can be very affordable, with two out of the three bottles costing me less than $20.