sábado, 4 de agosto de 2012

The Diferent Styles of Sherry


In de market exist diferent commercial styles of sherry made from the diferent types of wine naturally formed.

Before bottling as Fino or Manzanilla styles of sherry, finos are filtered and fortified to a minimum of 15.5 %. Some of the more commercial brands are slightly sweetened.

Finos which lose their covering of flor become a sherry type known as amontillados, turning amber in colour and changing in character due to greater contact with the air. Amontillados evolve naturally if the flor has exhausted its supply of nutrients, or the style may be induced if the flor is killed off by fortification to 16 % alcohol or above. A fino beginning to take on the characteristic of an Amontillado may be bot tled as a fino-amontillado or, in the case of a wine from Sanlucar de Barrameda, a Manzanilla Pasada True Amontillados are completely dry and the finest examples age for many years in their own soleras. Most so-called ‘Amontillados’ are no more than medium dry sherries blended from inferior quality ray as and sweet wines.

Having been fortified to 18 %, olorosos on the other hand develop without recourse to flor. They age in greater contact with the air, turning dark brown and gaining in concentration with age. The alcoholic content increases with slow evaporation such that the strength of an old oloroso may approach 24 %. In their natural state, olorosos are dry, althoug old wines may taste full and concentrate Rayas (inferior olorosos used in blending) be aged in the open air. A certain proportion Oloroso on the market is natural, dry oloroso; the majority is sweet wine of various quality levels.

Sweet sherries, most of them styled Cream are made in a number of different ways, finest sweet sherries such as Oloroso dulce (sweet oloroso) are produced by blending intensely sweet wines made trom sun-dried Pedro Ximenez grapes. However, tday Palomino grapes are frequently dried to raisins under plastic tunnels, pressed, and fortified before fermentation to make a Mistela. This is never as sweet or as powerfully concentrated as PX, but the method is widely used for the production of more commercial sherries. Commercial Cream sherries may be very ordinary blends to which sweetening and colouring wines have been added.

The darkest sherries may be adjusted with arrope grape concentrate, or vino de color, a dark, sweet syrup that has been prepared by boiling down fresh grape must. Pale Cream sherry, typically a blend of fino and sweet wine, is normally adjusted with rectified concentrated grape must and fresh Palomino must, vacuum concentrated, and the colour removed with activated charcoal. A few bodegas sweeten their wines with fortified Moscatel but this tends to produce a rather obvious, aromatic, grapey style of sherry.

In the early 2000s, two new designations were introduced, with some success, for particularly old sherries: VOS, Very Old Sherry or Vinutn Optimum Signatum, for blends at least 20 years old and VORS, Vinum Optimum Rare Signatum or Very Rare Old Sherry, for blends at least 30 years old. This provided some incentive for the release, or rebranding, of some bodega´s greatest treasures.


- Fino ('fine' in Spanish) is the driest and palest of the traditional varieties of Sherry. The wine is aged in barrels under a cap of flor yeast to prevent contact with the air.
- Manzanilla is an especially light variety of Fino Sherry made around the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
- Manzanilla Pasada is a Manzanilla that has undergone extended aging or has been partially oxidised, giving a richer, nuttier flavour.
- Amontillado is a variety of Sherry that is first aged under flor but which is then exposed to oxygen, producing a sherry that is darker than a Fino but lighter than an Oloroso. Naturally dry, they are sometimes sold lightly to medium sweetened but these can no longer be labelled as Amontillado
- Oloroso ('scented' in Spanish) is a variety of Sherry aged oxidatively for a longer time than a Fino or Amontillado, producing a darker and richer wine. With alcohol levels between 18 and 20%, Olorosos are the most alcoholic Sherries. Like Amontillado, naturally dry, they are often also sold in sweetened versions called Cream Sherry. As with Amontillado "Sweet Oloroso", "Rich Oloroso" and "Oloroso Dulce" are prohibited terms.
- Palo Cortado is a variety of Sherry that is initially aged like an Amontillado, typically for three or four years, but which subsequently develops a character closer to an Oloroso. This either happens by accident when the flor dies, or commonly the flor is killed by fortification or filtration.
- Jerez Dulce (Sweet Sherries) are made either by fermenting dried Pedro Ximénez (PX) or Moscatel grapes, which produces an intensely sweet dark brown or black wine, or by blending sweeter wines or grape must with a drier variety.
- Cream This is the term for sweetened Oloroso and is rich deep amber to golden brown & very sweet and is a common type of sweet Sherry made by blending different wines, such as Oloroso sweetened with PX.

On 12 April 2012, the rules applicable to the sweet and fortified Denominations of Origen Montilla-Moriles and Jerez-Xérès-Sherry were changed to prohibit sweet Oloroso and sweet Amontillado banning terms such as "Rich Oloroso", "Sweet Oloroso" and "Oloroso Dulce". Such wines are to be labelled as "Cream Sherry: Blend of Oloroso / Amontillado" or suchlike. The classification by sweetness is:

Fortified Wine Type (grams per litre): Alcohol % ABV; Sugar content
- Fino: 15-17; 0–5
- Manzanilla: 15-17; 0–5
- Amontillado: 16-17; 0–5
- Palo Cortado: 17-22; 0–5
- Oloroso: 17-22; 0–5
- Dry: 15-22; 5–45
- Pale Cream: 15.5-22; 45–115
- Medium: 15-22; 5–115
- Cream: 15.5-22; 115-140
- Pedro Ximénez: 15-22; 212+
- Moscatel: 15-22; 160+
- Dulce/ weet: 15-22; 160+

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