domingo, 5 de agosto de 2012

Spanish Sherry Wine


Sherry is fortified wine from the region around the city of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalucía, south west Spain. Sherry was used as a generic term for a wide range of Fortified Wines made from white grapes, but in the mid 1990s the sherry trade successfully campaigned to have the name restricted (at least within the European Union) to the produce of the Jerez DO.

Sherry production was steady in the late 1990s, after a sharp reduction earlier in the decade, averaging about 700,000 hl/18.5 million gal a year. Apart from Spain, the two most important markets for sherry have been the Netherlands and Great Britain.

Sherry is the English corruption of the word Jerez, while Xérès is its French counterpart and is also the French name for sherry. The words Jerez-Xérès-Sherry appear on all bordes of sherry, on paper seals granted by the consejo regulador to guarantee the origin of the wine. Within the Jerez DO, there are d three centres for sherry maturation: Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and Puerto de Santa María, each of which imparts subtle differences to the wines.

Sherry is initially made to conform two principal types: pale, dry fino (or, in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, manzanilla), which ages under the influence of the film-forming yeast flor, and dark, fulll, but dry oloroso. All sherry styles found on labels (Manzanilla, Fino, Amantillado, Oloroso, Pale Cream, Cream, etc., in generailly ascending order of body) are derived from these two main types. The only exception is Palo Cortado, which is a naturally resulting intermediate type and style between Amontillado and Oloroso. Pedro Ximénez intensely sweet wine, usually for blending, made from the grape variety of the same name often grown outside the sherry region.


Although Few boundaries are visible, there are over 6,000 individual vineyards in Jerez farmed by over 5,000 different growers. A few sherry firms have vineyard holdings that amount to 2,000 ha/4,940 acres but the majority of properties are small, averaging little over a hectare. The majority of growers sell their grapes either directly to a shipper or to one of seven cooparatives. Some coops maintain their own soleras but most sell the wine to one of the sherry bodegas.

Four classes of sherry bodega are recognized by the Consejo Regulador:
- Bodegas de Producción: wine-making bodegas which are not permitted to mature wine.
- Bodegas de Elaboración: wine-making bodegas which are allowed to hold stocks of wine for a short period of time before selling it on.
- Bodegas de Crianza y Almacenado: firms which mature and keep stocks of wine or almacenistas. These bodegas are required to have a minimum of 1,000 hl/26,400 gal of which 60 % must be from Jerez Superior.
- Bodegas de Crianza y Expedición: firms which both mature and sell wine for consumption. These bodegas are required by law to maintain a minimum stock of 12,500 hl/330,000 gal of wine of which 60 % must be from Jerez Superior. Exporters of sherry must hold a government licence.

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