Sherry is one of those drinks that needs to be tried to be understood. In fact, the drink is so misunderstood that many Americans still think it’s a sweet dessert wine, like port or sherry. But while Spanish sherry does have a sweet side, it’s in no way a dessert wine. In fact, it’s a unique, complex wine that’s best enjoyed neat or with a few drops of water. This week, we’ll be trying some sherry, and learn the finer points of enjoying this unique wine.
Tasting Spanish Sherry is a little like going back in time. Sherry is a wine that has a very distinctive taste, since the fortified wine spends a number of years aging in oak barrels and gets mixed with grape brandy. It is made in the Sherry triangle of Spain, which is on the westernmost part of the country, and is very different from the wines made in nearby regions. To fully appreciate the taste of Sherry, you first need to get past the idea that it is a dessert wine.
Among the great fortified wines of the world, Spanish sherry is currently experiencing stagnation. But the truth is that Jerez is one of the most distinctive wines in the world.
Whether you’re drinking a dry or sweet sherry, it’s unlike any other wine we’ve tasted in this challenge.
What is a trial match? With 34 wines from 12 countries, you can improve your taste buds every week – the Wine Tasting Challenge.
This style from Jerez is called Manzanilla.
Somewhere along the way, sherry became a sweet, sticky drink that only old men with monocles, ridiculous accents and names like Ambrose or Orville really liked.
But the truth is that sherry ranges from sweet to dry. In fact, most sherries are dry, and chances are there’s a style among them that wine lovers of all types will appreciate.
Whether you’re a sherry aficionado or not, there’s no denying that this wine is unlike any other, especially the wines we’ve tasted so far in the Tasting Challenge.
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The dry sherry has a nutty note combined with an acidity that is truly unique. And certainly not like anything on the Tasting Challenge wine list.
To get an idea of what a dry sherry is, we chose Manzanilla, which is made exclusively in the Spanish wine region of Sanlúcar de Barrameda and is known as one of the driest sherries.
Bodegas Hildago Feria Manzanilla La Gitana
Look at this: Light amber.
Perfumes: Golden grapes, caramel, maraschino cherry, citrus, flowers, nuts.
It’s all right, it’s all right: At first, the wine is very acidic and lemony: it reminds of lemon and bitter orange peel. But towards the end, it softens to a slight nutty flavor.
Combination with food : Goes well with cheddar cheese: Generally, this wine pairs well with a good plate of hors d’oeuvres. Especially the olives. Seafood would also be perfect, as this wine offers something salty on the finish: perhaps fried calamari.
What we have learned about Spanish sherry
The first thing you should know about Jerez is that it is a fortified wine.
This means that brandy has been added to the wine, giving it a boost in both taste and alcohol content. This process also gives the wine a certain longevity. In fact, that’s why this practice came about in the first place.
Hundreds of years ago, merchants added brandy to wine to ensure it would survive a long sea voyage and not spoil in the (usually) tropical sun they were heading for.
That’s why fortified wines like Madeira were so popular with the founders of America!
Sherry is, like non-vintage champagne, obtained by blending grapes from different harvests. Dry sherry is aged under flor: a layer of yeast that protects the wine from the harshest aspects of oxidation. The stack gives the sherry a certain astringency, and as it dies, the juice undergoes varying degrees of oxidation, giving the wine its characteristic nutty hue.
This oxidation is one of the taste aspects that make Jerez so special: a winemaking method that could be considered a disadvantage in other wines!
This phenomenon is much more pronounced with the softer shriys, such as oloroso, as they do not form a flora layer and thus oxidize much more.
Many wine lovers think of Jerez as a brown, sweet wine, but in reality it ranges from dark and rich to light and dry!
To really appreciate it, it’s worth trying each of the many styles of Jerez, if only to get an idea of what part of the Jerez spectrum you’re at!
Be sure to check out our guide to Jerez to find a bottle of this delicious fortified wine to suit your taste.
This source has been very much helpful in doing our research. Read more about tapas and let us know what you think.
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