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Sherry is a Spanish white wine, produced in southern Andalusia in Jerez de la Frontera. This wine is reinforced with brandy and then aged in oak barrels.
Types of sherry
There are mainly 6 types of Jerez wine: Fino, Amontillado, Manzanilla, Palo Cortado, Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez. Except the latter, they all come from the Palomino grape variety.
Once the brandy has been added to the wine to strengthen its alcohol level, these wines will undergo 2 types of aging.
Fino, Amontillado, Manzanilla and Palo Cortado wines are fortified at around 15% alcohol and then undergo biological aging. In contact with oxygen and humidity, yeasts naturally create a light film called "flora" which only develops under 17% alcohol. These wines will have a drier profile.
Beyond 17%, the wine loses its flora and comes into direct contact with oxygen, which will cause its oxidation. It will then acquire a darker colour and develop specific aromas. We then speak about occidative aging.
Whiskey and Sherry Cask
Each grape variety and type of aging bring their uniqueness to the sherry whose barrels, once emptied, will transmit their particular characteristics to the whiskey that will age there and which make whiskeys aging in Sherry barrels a very popular finish.
- Fino is a pale, dry wine, with fine and delicate notes of nuts and citrus.
- The Manzanilla is similar to the Fino but brings a saline touch due to its origin, the town of Sanlucar de Barrameda located by the sea.
- The Amontillado has a more amber color, with notes of dried fruits and tobacco.
- Palo Cortado is complex with notes of nuts, mahogany and citrus.
- The Oloroso is a powerful wine, with body, whose intense notes of nuts and spices stand out.
- Finally, Pedro Ximenez brings a nice sweetness with notes of honey, dried fruit, dark chocolate and coffee.
To learn more, check out our Everything about whisky aged in Sherry casks article.