Summer is here! For many of us, summer is the time for holidays, friends and nice drinks under the sun. Exit the big, bold wine from Bordeaux and let enter the sherry, a wine with 3,000 years of history from Spain. It is produced in Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlucar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa Maria. Those three cities are located in the South of the country, in Andalusia, near the city of Cadiz.
Sherry is stronger in alcohol than wine, as a small amount of neutral grape spirit, also known as brandy, is added to the original wine. This process is known as fortification. The result of this is a very stable wine, which is one of the reasons why it has become so popular. For instance, it was much appreciated in the UK in the late 16th century, even though the ships coming to Spain did not encompass the best conditions to preserve the wine while at sea.
Several varieties are available, and each should be paired differently. In her book about the drink, Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World’s Best Kept Secret, with Cocktails and Recipes, Talia Baiocchi tells us the following: “If it swims, fino. If it flies, amontillado. If it walks, oloroso.” Fino is fresh and delicate and weighs in around 15% of alcohol. It should be treated like white wine once opened and is better served chilled. Amontillado has a beautiful amber color and is nutty and complex. Its alcohol percentage stands at 17.5. Oloroso is the darkest of the three, boasting a brown color. Its aromas can remind of raisins and old furniture.These three wines are all dry, but the Spanish region also produces two naturally sweet ones: the Pedro Ximenez and the moscatel. Sweet and dry wines can also be blended together.
For many, sherry is one of the treasures of the wine world. However, it is still not very popular in America and most people do not drink it with food, as it should be.