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My grandmothers´ drink would you think! Not anymore, as there is a comeback of the fortified wines. Fortified wines meaning the addition of alcohol during the fermentation process, with Sherry & Port the most known out there.
Sherry is a dry to sweet wine made in Southern-Spain, near the town of Jerez de la Frontera. It starts with a base white wine, but due to the ageing process the result can be amber to even deep brown coloured.
Sherry is a neutral, low acidity wine from the Palomino grape. Fermentation starts in steel tanks, where after alcohol is added to stop the process. Then, the wine is transferred to old vats, so called buts. The maturation process is done via the Solera system.
The Solera system a process where a bunch of butts are stacked upon each other. The top-butts contain the youngest Sherry, with the bottom ones the oldest. Sherry which is ready to be bottled, is taken out of the bottom ones, and filled up by the wines in the butts the layer above them. It’s a process where the younger wines will blend with the older ones, creating a consistent style of matured Sherry wines.
Sherry gets its flavour from the ageing process. The different styles of Sherry are due to the length of ageing periods & how many times they’re moved butts.
Its a dry, pale, medium body with 15% wine. The unique part of the fermentation process that the wine has to be kept around 15%, as the wine will create a layer of yeast called ‘’flor’’ that protects the wine against oxidization & adds toasty notes. These styles of Sherries are meant to be drunk young & chilled. The sweet versions are called Pale Cream Sherries, whereby sweet concentrated Muscatel or Pedro Ximenez grapes juice is added. Perfectly suitable for the Spanish tapas & aged cheeses.
Amontillados are Fino or Manzanilla with an added spirit to get is to 18%. This will kill the flor, exposing it to oxidization. This will create a dry, deep amber colour & nutty flavours, medium-full body & high alcohol wine. The sweeter version is labelled as Medium. Tapas with meat, Game & red meats will go well with this style of wine.
Olorosos are like Amontillados, but are longer aged, resulting in deep brown colour, full bodied, high alcohol wines with roasted flavours of nuts & coffee flavours. Sweet versions are called Cream.
The addition for the sweeter versions of Sherry consists of Pedro Ximenez of Muscatel. Both are very sweet, dark in colour wines with dried fruit & syrupy texture. Single-variety wines do exist too, making them great dessert wines.