Learning to Love Sherry One Style at a Time

This month, the World Wine Travel (#WorldWineTravel) group of writers continues its virtual tour of Spain with a with a visit to Andalusia in southern Spain. For more information about Andalusia see Martin Redmond, our host of Enofylz Wine Blog fame has written a great invitation post here.

Sherry comes in many styles and I have learned to love each in time and with practice. Like most I started with the driest Sherry Fino.

Osborne is one of the oldest Sherry houses, started by Thomas Obsorne Mann in 1772. He began bottling his own sherry in 1804. Some years later Osborne joined forces with the owner of Duff Gordon. By 1872, the Osborne family had bought out the other partners. The Duff Gordon brand continued until about 1980. While Osborne still owns bodegas they have sold many of their hectares of vineyards. I love the Logo for Osborne which is of course the symbol you see throughout Spain. It’s great to see the Toro or Bull and think about traveling through Spain.

Their Fino sherry is perfect with nuts and with the Wild Rice Mushroom Pilaf I ate last night. The Fino has great acidity, salinity, undertones of almonds and brine. Relatively inexpensive and available through most delivery services, this is a good Fino to keep at home and quite reasonable in terms of price, at under $15. I appreciated their hashtag about the moment we are living in, #ThisTooWeCanOvercome.

After many Finos, especially with my sister who loves Sherry, I then caught the bug and began to taste Manzanilla and eventually Amontillado where possible. Palo Cortado was a wine I discovered through a friend Tina many years ago and it may be the most rare of the styles and perhaps my favorite.

Sherry is such a complicated wine in terms of how its made but it is also so fascinating. A visit to the region is at the top of my bucket list. The solera system and fractional blending is a huge post on is own. As is the Sherry triangle conversation. I’m focused today more on styles. hard to explain the Solera system and many people don’t associated Sherry with a specific place, Jerez and Southern Spain. I don’t know, I think more work could be done in the States on this aspect. When we can travel again, I am sure it could be a great destination. Perhaps there needs to be more emphasis on what else tourists/consumers can do when visiting the region. As a wino/wine geek/etc, I love to see as many wineries or bodegas in this case as possible but I also like to know what tourist attractions, art cities, museums, beaches and landmarks are near beautiful wineries. I see only a bright future for this gorgeous part of Spain.

Back to this specific wine, Amontillado Los Arcos ages for equal periods of time under flor and in contact with oxygen in Jerez de la Fronera.

Amber with brown highlight, this wonderful Amontillado was nutty with  apricot, cardamon, baking spice aromas on the nose. On the palate it was enveloping and rich with a long finish.

Apparently the name comes from the two arches that can be found at the entrance to the winery where this Amontillado ages. Although the alcohol is 18.5%, the wine is not heavy or overly powerful. It is made with 100% Palomino grapes. For $17 a bottle, this is a great wine for Sherry lovers and neophytes alike.

As a sweet wine lover, Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez, sweet versions have also graced my table and I can share them with my Dad who loves sweet wines.

I have tried but have less experience with the cream sherries. My great Aunt Clara and Grandma Lil were fans back in the day. I learned a lot about Sherries from the Wine Scholar Guild last year when I became a Spanish Wine Scholar and from the House of Lustau and the Sherry Regulatory Council from a class I took to become a Certified Sherry Wine Specialist. I took the class at the Society of Wine Educators conference the year before the pandemic.

I always eat almonds, preferably Marcona Almonds if available with Sherry but there are so many more distinct options from Olives with Amontillado to Grilled Vegetables with Fino, New York Strip Steak paired with an Oloroso or Pedro Ximenez with Chocolate, among others. This is a great pairing wheel they gave us. Sherry should be considered during all parts of a meal not just at the beginning of the end or at the end depending on the styles one is drinking.

Speaking of Lustau, this historic family’s story began in 1896 with the planting of grapes on the family’s state – Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza by Emilio Lustau. HIs daughter María Ruiz-Berdejo Alberti bought a small winery closer to the center of Jerez de la Frontera in 1931 and by 1945, Emilio Lustau began selling wine it’s own wines and by 1950 under the family name. Fast forward to 1990 and the family house became part of the Luis Caballero group, a well-known Spanish company in the business. In 2000, the Lustau bought six historic 19th century Sherry buildings and restored them. I loved their Palo Cortado and Amontillado versions of Sherry pictured below. This two go through both aging processes, they start their lives in one style and end in the other.

Here’s What We Have Planned:
Join our group on Oct. 23, 2021 for our exploration of the Wines of Andalusia. Here’s a list of posts you can expect. Then, join our Twitter chat all about Wines of Andalusia on October 23 at 8am PT/11am ET. Just search for the #WorldWineTravel hashtag on Twitter.

  • Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla offers Tapas on Toast: Spanish Montaditos + 2017 Sierras de Málaga Laderas de Sedella Anfora.
  • Lynn of Savor the Harvest reveals Three Facts About Sherry and Why You Need to Try a Bottle.
  • Terri of Our Good Life gives us A Beginner’s Guide to Amontillado and Spanish Tapas.
  • Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm brings us A Friday Night Cocktail that starts with Alvear Tres Miradas Vino de Pueblo 2018.
  • Susannah of Avvinare is Learning to Love Sherry One Style at a Time.
  • Reggie at Wine Casual offers Tips for Sherry Lovers Visiting Sevilla and Jerez de la Frontera.
  • Jeff Burrows of Food Wine Click! asks Sherry is a Fortified Wine, or is It?
  • Nicole of Somm’s Table dishes Bodegas Dios Baco PX and a Banana Cake.
  • Gwendolyn of Wine Predator…Gwendolyn Alley declares Oh My Corazón: Spanish Songs, Soup, Stew, and Sherry in Andalucía.
  • Martin of ENOFYLZ Wine Blog serves up 2018 Jorge Ordoñez & Co. Moscatel Old Vines Botani + Trout Tartine with Stone Fruit.
Large detailed road map of Spain

This year we have traveled every month to Spain. It has been an amazing journey thus far. Here are those monthly posts. In January, we traveled to Rioja as our first stop on the journey. While in February, we were off to Catalonia. If it’s March, it’s time to visit Rueda. Perfect for Earth day, in April, we visited Rias Baixas in Green Spain and in May we explored Aragon. In June, we went back to Green Spain and visited Basque Country. Here’s my post on Txakoli. In July we tasted Spanish Sidras from Asturias, also part of Green Spain. In August, we visited Murcia and Valencia. Here’s my post on the Jumilla Rosados and in September, Navarra was been the focus. What a long amazing virtual trip.

7 comments

  1. I didn’t know you’re such a Sherry lover Susannah! I too l”learned to love each in time and with practice” I signed up for tCSWS course in December. I’m looking forward to learning more!

  2. Oloroso with sweetness would be nice to taste! As you say (especially after experimenting with a lot of pairings this month), sherry is worthy for all meals, not just start to finish. And vegan/vegetarian too! And now I know you are a sherry lover ;-D

    • Camilla, what a nice comment that is. My whole goal with this blog is education and sharing my love for wine so that really means a lot to me. Sherry is fantastic!!!

  3. I love the sentiment you share at the start that you “learned to love each in time and with practice” — such a lovely way to approach sherry, and many things in life in general! Loving many of the pairings you suggest. Amontillado and a steak in particular has captured my imagination.

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