I have a love named Sherry. Don’t worry, it’s not a woman. It’s a wine. Truth be told, it’s one of the most underrated wines in the world, which causes me to love it even more because it’s cheap. Not cheap like a frying pan from the dollar store, though. Perhaps inexpensive is a better word for it.
Either way, I’m not sure why more people don’t drink Sherry. It could be that it has a reputation, much like Marsala, of being nothing more than a cooking wine. It could also be that it’s an incredibly confusing wine that comes in many shapes and sizes and people, including many wine professionals, just don’t have the time or patience to unravel its mysteries. In fact, there are so many wines covered by the name “Sherry” that telling someone you had “Sherry” is like saying you bought a new pair of shoes. What kind of shoes? Tennis shoes? Slippers? High heels? Some people may love tennis shoes and hate high heels. The same holds true for Sherry. You may hate one type and love another.
If you’re reading this, though, I assume you’re willing to spend at least a little time getting to know this lovely wine. I’ll try to keep this as short and sweet as possible, but it won’t be easy…
Sherry is a fortified wine, like Port. Unlike Port, it is made from white grapes, the main variety being Palomino. It can also contain Pedro Ximénez or Moscatel grapes, but their use is less common. The grapes must be grown in an area of Spain known as the “Sherry Triangle,” which is a roughly triangular geographic region formed by three cities; Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa María. The soil in this region is very unique combination of chalk, limestone, clay and sand. Locally, it is called Albariza. The soil is white in appearance and serves the dual function of reflecting sunlight back to the vines, which helps with ripening, and preserving moisture for Spain’s hot summer months. Read the rest of this entry »