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Friday, May 14, 2021

Sherry---No Longer Your Grandmother’s Wine

                                   A dry Sherry is a perfect pairing for pre-dinner nibbles 

This is a the second article in May's series on Spain.  It’s a back to the future story to do with Sherry:  the wines of the country's Sherry region are coming back into fashion.  But, these are not the insipid sweet wines of yesteryear enjoyed at the end of a meal with a piece of gingerbread or fruitcake.  Instead, the new Sherry is bone dry and is often taken as an aperitif to begin a meal.  Be advised, however, that while Sherry is made in several styles (varying from dry to sweet),  this article discusses only dry Sherry that is aged under a top cap of yeasts.

                      The yeast cap both protects Sherry from oxidation & gives it flavors

Sherry is a distinctive wine made from the white Palomino grape in the southwest of Spain near Seville.  The process of making Sherry is quite different from that of regular wine (next week’s blog will address this unusual process).  Suffice to say that Sherry is aged under a protective film of its own fermentation yeasts that have floated to the top of the barrel.  This “cap” of yeast protects the wine from oxidation, but it also gives flavors to the wine.

These dry aperitif Sherries are called fino and manzanillo.  The fino style, offering bread-like notes (influenced by aging under the cap of yeast), is a relatively  simple Sherry.  Finos offer a delicate bouquet often with almond nuances and savory herbs.  Served chilled, fino is a good, inexpensive introduction to a dry Sherry.

                                     Wine-Knows will visit the top Sherry producer in Spain

Manzanillo sherry is also dry, and like fino, it is aged under a cap of yeast.  The difference is that manzanillo is made in a different part of the Sherry region.  The special climatic conditions of the area, situated at the mouth of a river, favor the formation of a special kind of yeast which gives the wine its unique characteristic.  In addition to flavors contributed by the yeast (e.g. brioche, freshly-baked bread), manzanillo sherry also serves up an almond-like profile, and savory flavors such as camoumille.

Summer is quickly approaching---why not forgo the usual glass of Rosé and try a refreshing dry fino or manzanillo?   Sherry doesn’t deliver the usual uncomplicated charm of a Rosé.  It’s a bit more serious.  For wine-lovers, a dry Sherry can be the perfect way to begin the evening’s festivities.

Jerez de la Frontera, the city of Sherry, offers a stunning backdrop for its wines

There are two slots available on Wine-Knows’ tour to Spain this October.  In addition to Granada and Seville, we’ll be visiting Spain’s premier producer of Sherry.

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