Note:Banish the idea that sherry is something your Nana would drink! The UK market is its biggest export but there is so much more to the world of sherries rather than sweet, creamy ones!
The wines of Jerez (sherry is still called a wine) come in so many styles from aperitif sherries, after dinner warmers to sweet dessert ones. The intense heat of Jerez is cooled by the winds from the two seas crossing and the bodegas are cool with high roofs in which the breezes flow through. That along with the special ‘albariza’ chalky white soil which sparkles in the sunshine, the wines of Jerez are produced in a very unique environment.
They are aged below a layer of natural yeast known as Flor, and then blended via the Solera System to produce a consistent quality of sherry. So go and explore what Jerez has to offer! Look out in my blog for further information and visits to the bodegas.
- Fino – pale, light and dry. Best with aperitifs (e.g. salted nuts and olives)
- Manzanilla – aged Fino from Sanlucar. This is a port town nearby in which the sea air adds a ‘salty’ tang whilst ageing. This is the most fashionable sherry in Spain
- Amontillado – aged Fino but higher in alcohol, nutty and dry
- Pale Cortado – very rare, nutty, dry but full-bodied
- Oloroso – bursting with aromas, full-bodied and dry with a dark brownish/red colour
- Pedro Ximenez (known as PX) – Almost black in colour. Figs, raisins and sweet flavoured. Expensive but a fabulous dessert wine. And delicious poured onto homemade ice-cream!
- Pale Cream – sweet, grapey, medium-bodied sherries. New style which is sold favourably, especially in the export market.
- Pedro Ximenez
- Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe
- Williams and Humbert’s Dos Cortados
- Lepanto Pedro Ximenez Brandy
Unfortunately, many of the smaller bodegas in Jerez have had to shut down as the Government imposed a minimum stipulated quantity of sherry that had to be produced by each one.
It was certainly nothing to do with quality and sadly, many smaller wineries have had to cease trading.
Do try and seek out some of these family run businesses when you visit Jerez, to see the contrast from the larger monopolies. But, all of the bodegas, large or small, will give you a warm welcome and produce high quality sherry which is well worth buying!