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Types of sherry
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.
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 ageing.
Fino, Amontillado, Manzanilla and Palo Cortado wines are fortified at around 15% alcohol and then undergo a biological ageing. 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 oxidative ageing.
Whiskey and Sherry Cask
Each grape variety and type of ageing bring their uniqueness to the sherry whose barrels, once emptied, will transmit their particular characteristics to the whisky that will age there. Today, whiskies aged in Sherry barrels are very popular.
- 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 colour, 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 character, 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 article about Everything about Whisky aged in Sherry casks article.