Sherry is not a single wine, it embraces 4 variants at denomination of origin made from a base fluid prepared in the same way:
- Oloroso (Odorous)
- Palo cortado
By law, the 70% of the initial pressing is used to develop the fine wines, light sherry or ordinary sherry, the next 20% goes to the odorous wines and other wines of lesser quality. While any remaining liquid to be distilled (become a spirit, like brandy).
In developing these wines, it‘s important to go though these procedures; after the grape harvest, the grinding, crushing, fermenting and header (addition of wine alcohol to raise their graduation), which lies in the barrel where it grows is known as “flower”: a fungus that develops a layer that provides unique properties to wine protecting it from the harmful effects of oxygen.
Anyway, there’s a difference with what happens with the traditional wine and oxygen is not always a bad company, on the contrary, sometimes the deterioration caused by its presence is wished, like in this case for example, to obtain“Jerez Amontillado”. “The alcohol content of fortified wine shall define it. In the case of the “Fino” “Amontillado” and “Olorosos” requires 15 volumes and the “Palo Cortado”, 17 volumes (the “flowe”r can not be developed in this environment).
The ultimate expression of these wines is the “fino”, pale golden color and nutty aroma. This is a dry mild flavor drink. In this case, the flower is kept for at least 3 years of biological aging of the liquid oxidation. For many, the perfect aperitif, is consuming this wine at 8 ° C, and combines well with fish and seafood, as well as typical Spanish tapas.
The “amontillado” Sherry’s color reminds amber and has like hazelnuts flavor. This dry drink is a double ageing, biological and oxidative. Beginning its development as a “fino” with flower, but as it loses it; oxygen starts acting on the liquid printing new characteristics. Better Serve at 14 ° C, the experts recommend drinking this wine with soups, white meat and oily fish.
“Oloroso” is the term used to identify a darker sherry than the other ones, with notes of nuts and toast in the mouth. With higher alcohol content than the “fino” or “Amontillado”, this sherry wine is the result of a prolonged contact with the air inside the barrel. It is usually consumed with game meat for the pronounced flavor, at around 14 ° C.
Among the “amontillado” and “oloroso” we have the “palo cortado, which is achieved when the tasters identify citrus notes during aging of fine sherry, and add more alcohol to remove the flower and give way to an oxidative phase that leads to potencial the special features found in the barrel. This wine is taken at 13 ° C, and is great to drink it alone or with nuts.
In the area of Sanlucar de Barrameda, winters are warmer than in Puerto de Santa Maria and Jerez de la Frontera, because of the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean which moderates the cold weather. Nature does the flower to be active all year in this area to provide a special feature to “Fino”, actually known as Manzanilla.