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Chris Hills Wine List - Sherry

Friday, 7 September 2007


Our resident connoisseur has the definitive guide to Sherry.

About Sherry
. Sherry is a complex, fortified wine with the versatility to go from apéritif to table wine to after-dinner sipper inextricably tied to a storied, exotic locale
. Sherry is truly unique and underappreciated wine that has been produced in a range of styles since the 1600s.
. Sherry is produced around three main  towns, Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa Maria.  Together the three cities form the so-called Sherry Triangle.
. Sherry is an acquired taste. The finos (and the manzanillas that hail from Sanlúcar) can come across as being razor-sharp, with a salty edge to boot. To the uninitiated, the amontillados and olorosos can also taste salty, as well as slightly bitter and introverted; and the cream and other sweet Sherries are just that, sweet. But with an open mind and a curious palate you will find that these are wines of nuance and subtlety.
. Almost all Sherries are made from the Palomino Fino grape, a fairly neutral, large-crop white grape that thrives in the albariza soil, a chalky, white, absorbent composite common to the vineyards

Sherry and Food
Firstly the grapes are fermented into a still white wine.  It's after fermentation that the Sherry-making process really begins.
. Step one for the Sherry bodegas is to identify the batches of wine that will become finos and the ones that will become olorosos. Wines deemed the cleanest and most aromatic are destined to be finos (or manzanillas, if they are to mature in the cellars in Sanlucar).  Chunkier full bodied wines will become lorosos.
.Finos fortified to 15.5%abv and put into 600L casks where flor developsFlor protects the wine from oxidation and keeps it fresh
If the flor dies it becomes Amontillado, increased to 17.5%and aged.
 . Manzanilla is like a fino but is aged in Sanlucar, saltier, flor rarely dies off here.
 . Amontillado is a Fino whose flor fails to develop or is killed of by additional fortification, it is then aged for complexity. Palo Cortado is a Fino whose flor inexplicably dies off, it is then fortified.  Accounts for 1-2% of sherry.  Has the richness of an oloroso with the crispness of amontillado.  Rare and expensive.
. Oloroso are wines that are fortified to 18%abv to prevent flor and age directly in contact with the air
o Dry olorose from palomino fino grape
o Sweet oloroso (cream sherry) from palomino fino and a small amount of Pedro Ximenez or PX)

For More Information
Name: Berry's Fino Sherry
Price: €11.95
Buy: Berry Bros, 4 Harry St D2, or for deliveries nationwide.
Characteristics: Clear and pale in appearance with a yellow hue. Distinct 'flor' yeast aroma with notes of granny smith apples. The palate is bone-dry with slight saltiness and delicate finish.

Name: A winters tale
Price: €10.99
Buy: In all supermarkets nationwide
Characteristics: Brilliant amber. Intense aroma of dried nuts. Full-bodied and balanced,
with low acidity. Sweet and persistent

Palo Cortado
Name:  Palo Cortada de Jerez
Buy: Berry Bros, 4 Harry St D2, or for deliveries nationwide.
Characteristics: Mid-tawny in colour with a distinctive nutty aroma and the palate of a rich, dry Oloroso. Complex and stunning.

Dry Oloroso
Name: Solera Especial, Dry Sack
Price: €14.99
Buy: Celtic Whiskey Shop, Dawson St.  & Lilac Wines Phibsboro Avenue.
Characteristics: An Amber coloured wine of intense aromas suggesting dried nuts.  Full-Bodied and Balanced with little acid and quite sweet.

Sweet Oloroso
Name: Canasta Cream
Price: €13.99
Buy: Mortons of Ranelagh & Lilac Wines of Phibsboro Avenue
Characteristics: Mahogany colour with aromas of dried nuts with a hint of raisins and brown sugar.  Smooth Velvety palate with warm alcohol flavours and a persistant aftertaste.

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