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Celebrating International Sherry Week

International Sherry Week is from November 4 – 11 and there are so many styles of sherry to celebrate with.

Photo credit: sherrywines-losvinos

Sherry is a fortified wine produced in Andalucía, located in the southwest area of Spain. With over 40,000 hectares of vineyards in Andalucía, more than half of the wine produced here is in DO (denomination de origin) areas. Sherry can only be made from Palomino, Muscatel and Pedro Ximenez white grapes.

To learn about the terroir of Andalucía and how sherry is made, please click on the link below that will take you to a story on my website:

Borrowing from the above story, let’s take a quick look at all the sherry styles available.

Fino de Jerez is the youngest (usually 3-5 years old) and the driest of sherries.  The wine ages under a layer of flor (yeast).  This layer of flor protects the wine from being oxidized and it also consumes all the sugar in the wine, creating a dry sherry. Fino only comes from Jerez and El Puerto de Santa Maria.

Manzanilla is another dry sherry that is just like Fino, except that Manzanilla comes only from the coastal town of Sanlúcar.  Both Fino and Manzanilla have more wine salinity than the other styles.  They will complement fish and shellfish.

Amontillado is an aged Fino or Manzanilla.  Once the layer of flor fades the wine begins to oxidize and takes on a new character. It can be fortified up to 18%. The color is darker and it is less briny, but nuttier and richer on the palate.  These wines pair well with white meat and game.

Palo Cortado is an interesting sherry that begins as a Fino or Manzanilla but for no known reason it unexpectedly loses its layer of flor too soon.  Once the flor dies, the wine takes on oxygen and requires further fortification.  In other words, it does “its own thing”. This wine has richness but is crisp as well.

Oloroso (‘scented’ in Spanish) intentionally never develops flor.  Aging through oxidation of up to 40+ years produces a full-bodied, aromatic, dark and rich wine.  Oloroso contains the most amount of alcohol in  sherry with levels of 18% to 20%. This is a great wine for hearty entrees, meats and stews.

Pedro Ximenez (PX) is an intensely sweet wine and the sweetest of the sherries. The grapes are dried in the sun allowing the juices to concentrate before pressing. This is a rich wine that oozes raisins, nuts and fig.

Cream Sherry is usually a blend of Oloroso, PX or Moscatel but can come in a variety of styles. This is a semi-sweet wine that is aromatic, dark in color with classic notes of nuts and caramel.

I’m starting the celebration with the following styles of sherry.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

Tio Pepe Palomino Fino DO Jerez Xérés
This sherry is made with 100% Palomino grapes harvested from Jerez Superior vineyards that are considered the best area of the DO. The wine remains for a minimum of 4 years in American oak casks following the traditional Solera system under the flor. It has a pale lemon color with heady aromas of sweet honeysuckle, almonds and bread. However, this is a very dry sherry with complex flavors infused with almonds and a hint of yeast that lingers on the palate. Due to its savory nature, this sherry will intensify the flavors of many foods and pair well with seafood, cheese, meats and Asian cuisine. Serve well chilled and enjoy! I paired this sherry with smoked cheese, briny cherry tomatoes, spiced nuts and an assortment of olives.
Alcohol:  15%
SRP:  $20

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

Harveys Bristol Cream  DO Jerez Xérés
This sherry is a blend of 80% Palomino and 20% Pedro Ximenez grapes. It is a unique combination of Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherries that have been aged separately in the Solera system, averaging between 3 and 20 years of age.

It has an intense burnished-brown color that offers intoxicating aromas of dried fruit, raisins, nuts and toffee. The palate is layered with raisins, caramel, fig, toasted almonds and a creamy mouthfeel. This is a nice sherry to drink as an aperitif or serve with desserts, cheese and fruit. Serve well chilled. And if you’re not sure if the sherry is cold enough, the thermochromic label turns blue when the sherry is ready to serve!
I poured this sherry over vanilla bean ice cream. It was heavenly!
Alcohol: 17.5%
SRP:  $15

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

What style of sherry will you be pouring in your wine glass to celebrate International Sherry Week? Please share your stories and photos with me!

Until next time,



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