Sherry wines are gaining new ground in the wine world, and it is well deserved to say the least. Sherry has a long history of serving the likes of Christopher Columbus to Shakespeare, and has recently been previewing new spotlights for its stellar value and food-friendly behavior in our modern world of wine.

Sherry Growing Regions

Traditional Sherry, or Jerez, is a fortified white wine that is made in Andalusia in southwest Spain. It is made in many different styles and can be finished either dry or sweet.

The majority of the vineyard land of the Jerez or Sherry region lies between the triangular configuration of three major cities:

Although the climate is Mediterranean, and the weather is both hot and dry, the sherry district does enjoy a cooling influence from the Atlantic. Summers are cloudless, and there is no rain during the growing season.

Sherry Grapes

There are three grapes authorized for Sherry production.

Types of Sherry

The two predominant types of Sherry are Fino (very dry with a lighter-body) and Oloroso (still dry, but much richer in both flavor and body). If the winemaker is going for Fino, alcohol is added (fortification) until it reaches just over 15%; however, if Oloroso is the goal then alcohol is added to reach an 18% alcohol content.

Now the fun begins, while the wines remain in their casks they are permitted contact with air in the top portion of the cask. A layer of yeast, called "flor" forms a coating on the surface of the Sherry, keeping the wine from over oxidizing - these wines will become Finos as their lower alcohol content is what allows the yeast to grow in the first place. Olorosos on the other hand, do not support the growth of flor due to their higher alcohol content. Olorosos are permitted to oxidize intentionally, producing a darker, and richer wine, with more body than a Fino.