Discover Sherry This Festive Season (And beyond)

Discover Sherry This Festive Season (And beyond)

Far from the sweet tipple loved by your old aunties, a glass of dry sherry is a perfect way to kick off a meal. Namely Fino and Manzanilla, their complex, savoury flavours and satisfying freshness are perfect for the kind of grazing that’s constantly on the go at this time of year; charcuterie, olives, cheeses, anchovies etc.

Produced in Andalucia, in the heat of the south of Spain, Sherry is fortified with grape spirit, like Port, Madeira and Marsala, acting as a preservative. Unlike conventional winemaking, which mostly aims to preserve the character of the grape itself, Sherry is characterised by the ageing process and a gentle exposure to oxygen over time. More nutty, savoury complexity develops. 

Fino and Manzanilla Sherry are aged for 3 to 5 years, and are the lightest, driest styles. Generally made from the Palomino grape, the fermented and fortified wine is put into barrels that aren’t entirely filled up, allowing this gentle oxidation to take place. A layer of ‘flor’ (a yeast that naturally grows on the surface of the wine) protects from full oxidation and contributes to the savoury complexity. Rather than producing wines from a single vintage, sherries are produced by blending successive vintages over many years in what’s known as a ‘solera system’, creating consistency and building depth of flavour.

The difference between Fino and Manzanilla is based on the location where they’re grown and made. Fino is produced inland around the towns of Jerez and El Puerto de Santa Maria. Manzanilla is produced only around the coastal town of Sanlucar de Barrameda. These differing locations have an effect on style. Manzanilla, from the coast, is more exposed to the humid, cooling influence of the sea, so the flor (that protective layer of yeast growing over the surface of the wine in barrel) forms consistently and in a deeper layer. This is more protective from oxygen, so Manzanilla tends to be fresher with more green apple character. Further inland in Jerez where Fino is made, it’s hotter and drier and a less consistent layer of flor develops, so Fino tends to be broader and richer with more savoury complexity.

We see dry Sherry with food as matching like with like - the savoury depth of a beautiful slice of Jamon, or a croquette, or an anchovy, with the complex savouriness and freshness of Fino or Manzanilla. Es perfecto, have a go!

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