Sherry from Cádiz

We find a great diversity of wines under this denomination, Finos (a dry, white sherry wine), Olorosos (a fortified sherry wine), Amontillados (a darker sherry wine)… and all this from three types of white grapes: Palomino, Pedro Ximénez, and Moscatel. The process of each winemaker for making these wines gives place to the “families” of “Jerez” or sherry wines. Within each family are distinct types, defined by their color, aroma, flavor and structure.

They are dry wines. The process of making them includes a complete fermentation of the musts, normally from Palomino grapes. After fermentation, the appearance of the yeast veil “flower” in the base wine occurs, making different types according to their subsequent ageing.

Fino, after the fermentation of the musts, eventually reaches 15% vol. alcohol. Favoring the veil “flower”, the natural protection of these yeasts prevents oxidation during the ageing of wine and confers its organoleptic characteristics. It is a bright, straw-yellow to pale, golden wine. With delicate aromas, it is light and dry to the palate. It should be served very cold, between 7-9 ºC. Fino is a good choice with appetizers such as olives, nuts and Iberian ham. It is also a good accompaniment with seafood.

Amontillado, a complex wine derived from the union of two types of ageing, the biological and the oxidative, in the second will develop its final dark coloration. This gives it concentration and complexity. With an alcohol content between 16-22% vol., it is a topaz to amber colored wine. With a delicate aroma, it has a balanced acidity and is soft on the palate, highlighting a dry finish. It should be served at a temperature between 13-14 ºC, and it’s recommended to accompany soups and consommés, vegetables, white meats and semi-cured cheese.

Oloroso, increases its alcoholic strength to 17% vol. The development of the flower veil is prevented, so this exposed wine ages at all times to the slow action of oxygen through the traditional system of “criaderas and solera.” The alcohol content is between 17-22% vol., and it is an amber-to-mahogany colored wine, turning darker the longer it ages. With complex and potent aromas, it is tasty and soft on the palate. The recommended temperature of consumption is between 13-14 ºC. Suitable for red meat and game, it is recommended to accompany meat casseroles or stews, as well as very cured cheeses.

Palo cortado, obtained from extremely fine musts, gets its name from its identification process. When the tasters find a fino that can potentially become a Palo cortado, the barrels are identified with a “palo” a piece of wood or an oblique stripe/line. After two years it is checked to see if those distinctive characteristics of the young wine are confirmed, giving rise to a real Palo cortado. The color ranges from chestnut-brown to mahogany.  This wine has a great complexity, which combines the aromatic delicacy of an Amontillado and the intensity in the mouth of an Oloroso. Consume it at a temperature of 13-14 ºC. Palo cortado accompanies well-dried fruits or cured cheeses.

Wines obtained by means of combinations of full-bodied wines with naturally sweet wines, and sometimes with concentrated must. We can distinguish between three varieties according to the full-bodied wines used and their final sweetness level.

Pale Cream, made from Fino or Manzanilla (another sherry wine), adds concentrated musts to provide sweetness. Straw-yellow to pale gold in color, it is light and fresh with a sweet taste in the mouth. Pale cream should be served cold around 10 ºC, and it is a good accompaniment of foie and pâté.

Medium, utilizes Amontillado wine or oxidative ageing and is usually used in combination with natural sweet wines or concentrated must. This results in a wine that is the color of amber to dark chestnut, with aromas reminiscent of the wine Amontillado. When it enters a dry mouth, it ends in sweetness. Its recommended consumption temperature is between 12-14 ºC. It accompanies pâtés and specialized dishes.

These are obtained from musts from very mature grapes or grapes with a lot of sun exposure that are partially fermented to preserve most of the original sweetness. They age later when in contact with the air, acquiring a dense appearance and mahogany color.

Pedro Ximénez, a mahogany-colored wine with more or less intensity and visual sensation of great density, is made with sun-exposed grapes of the same name. It offers sweet aromas for the nose, and it is velvety and unctuous in the mouth. It should be served slightly chilled between 12-14 ºC, and it can be used as a dessert, although it goes well with ice cream or blue cheeses of great intensity.

Moscatel, is made from the grape of the same name after the “soleo” until achieving an intense dessication. It is a dense looking, chestnut-brown wine. The aromas are derived from the variety and sweetness to the palate. It should be served slightly chilled between 12-14 ºC. It is a good accompaniment with pastries (desserts not excessively sweet, such as fruit or ice cream.)

The cultivation of vines and the making of wines in the region of Jerez goes back to the time of the Phoenicians. The geographical location, close to the commercial ports of Cádiz or Sevilla, led to the frequent loading of local wines on ships that departed to both the Americas and the Northern European markets.

The production area includes the municipal places of Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, the city of Chipiona, Rota, Puerto Real, Chiclana de la Frontera and Lebrija. However, the upbringing is confined only to the first three. The vineyards are located on lands made up of limestone, clay and sand. This area has a climate of mild temperatures and high humidity, thanks to the presence of the Guadalquivir River, the Atlantic Ocean and the marsh.

Buy these wines from their origins in our LUGARES FASCINANTES: Jerez de la FronteraEl Puerto de Santa María, Chiclana de la Frontera, Chipiona y Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

Regulatory Council of the DO “Vinos de Jerez” and “Manzanilla”
Avda. Álvaro Domecq, 2
11402 – Jerez de la Frontera (CÁDIZ)
Tel: 956 332 050
Fax: 956 338 908
E-mail: [email protected]

Wine route and Sherry Brandy

Images courtesy of © CRDO Wines “Jerez-Xérès-Sherry” and “Manzanilla – Sanlúcar de Barrameda”

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