Sherry’s one of those things that for some reason everyone’s heard of, but most people have no idea what it tastes like. Like most things in this world, it’s us Brits that are to blame! Basically that national sweet tooth we have meant that things like Pale Cream sherries and Cream sherries and all that flooded the shelves throughout the 20th Century. Hence the sickly sweet stuff that, as we mentioned yesterday, your nan drinks.
The original styles of sherry are very different. Sherry is actually called Jerez. It’s from the Jerez region down on the southern tip of Spain. It’s an area full of history, from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. An amazing place! Funnily enough the drink is only called sherry cos British merchants couldn’t pronounce the name properly (apparently).
The vast majority of the original styles are dry. That means they’re not sweet. The famous ones are Fino, Oloroso, Amontillado, and the rare but magnificent Palo Cortados. The famous grape used in all of them is the Palomino. It’s an awesome grape because it can cope with the insanely warm and arid climate in this area.
They start with a normal base wine made from the Palomino and then do the trick that makes sherry completely unique. They stick the wine in special barrels with the express intention of either letting it oxidise (Oloroso and Amontillado) to get lots of nutty flavours, or they react with all dead yeast and other bits (that bind together to create a crust on the top) and get a completely different set of smells, which is the case with our New Wine This Week; Fino.
Other posts in NWTW Week 22