There exists a much neglected gem in the world of wine and spirits. A delicious, versatile, affordable and intriguing drink. Commonly regarded as a drink for doddering old seniors with blue rinsed hair, Sherry is an ageless classic. Many may scoff at the thought of reaching for a small glass of the stuff, thinking only of the generic finos of the world like Tio Pepe or the ghastly sweet Harvey's Bristol Cream. But those that mock will soon be smitten when they taste the enamoring depth of flavor of a good Oloroso or Amontillado.
Sherry is a fortified wine, made in and around the town of Jerez, Spain, usually from the Palomino variety of grape. The name “Sherry” is protected by law and may only be applied to the wine of Jerez. Sherry differs from regular table wine in that it is fortified after fermentation has ended, and then undergoes a complex transformation through a series of maturation barrels. This process, known as the Solera system, results in the wine taking on many of the characteristics of the old barrels. There are several different styles of Sherry to choose from. Your taste, the food with which you will be consuming the Sherry, the time of day, your mood, or any other factor may determine which style of Sherry you select. Generally your choice of Sherry should be served chilled in a small wine glass.
Sherries are so versatile. They are delicious on their own, as an aperitif, yet are equally good as an accompaniment to many kinds of foods. Ask your wine retailer for advice. Many sherries can be purchased in half-size bottles, conducive to exploring the different styles. There are several brand names available but Lustau is a particularly excellent producer. Don’t be afraid. Be brave and take an adventure. The reward is great!