Sherry takes its name from the province of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia, Spain. Depending on how it is made and how long it is aged, sherries are produced in a number of different styles. Here are some of the main ones.
Types of sherry
Fino: These wines have come into contact with flor, a veil of yeast that covers sherries aged in partially filled barrels. It is this yeast that gives fino-type sherries their distinctive hazelnut taste. These wines have already stopped fermenting by the time the alcohol is added to them, so they reach approximately 16 percent alcohol by volume. They are made from the Palomino Fino grape variety.
Manzanilla: Manzanilla-type wines are made according to the same principles as fino, but come exclusively from the city of Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
Oloroso: To make Oloroso, the wines are fortified after fermentation until they reach an alcohol level of at least 18 percent. Because the flor cannot develop on contact with this higher alcohol level, the wine develops through a slow, controlled oxidization process. Long barrel-aging gives it its golden colour and complex perfume.
Wines developed in the oloroso manner are numerous and bear the following descriptors: palo cortado, cream, pale, pale cream and Pedro Ximénez. These wines are made from Palomino Fino grapes, often with a blend of Moscatel or Pedro Ximénez. The latter two varieties also lend their name to two particularly sweet kinds of sherry.
Amontillado: Wines of the amontillado style are a kind of hybrid because they are fist developed as a fino, but then kept in the barrel until the flor disappears. They then undergo a long aging similar to the oloroso.