A fortified wine that originated in the town of Jerez/Xérès (pronounced sherris) in southern Spain, hence the English word sherry. To help Sherry stay stabilized during early ocean voyages, brandy was added to the wine. This is why Sherry is now a fortified (alcohol-added) wine. Sherry is a blended wine of several years, not a single vintage wine. Sherry is usually considered an aperitif. There are dry sherries that can be served chilled, and sweet sherries for room temperature. Cooking Sherry has added preservatives (salt) to increase it's shelf-life and is not suitable for drinking.
Types of Sherry:
Fino is a pale straw and gold color, with a delicate crisp aroma (nutty). It is ideal with tapas, soups, seafood, fish, ham and mild cheese.
Manzanilla: Straw colored, has a crisp aroma, and it is dry and light. It is excellent with tapas, seafood, mild cheese, white fish and ham. It must be served chilled.
Cream Sherry is an Oloroso sweetened with rich Pedro Ximenez grapes. Its color is dark or very dark mahogany. Its aroma is round, crisp and velvety. An ideal dessert sherry.
Oloroso is initially dry, amber to mahogany in color with a strongly fragrant aroma. Full bodied (nutty). Very good before meals and with game and red meats.
Pale Cream is a smooth wine of pale or very pale color, with a Fino crisp aroma and a sweet taste. It is excellent to accompany foie-gras and fresh fruit salad.
Cream sherries are generally sweetened Amontillado or Oloroso and combine a deep mahogany-color with an intense aroma. Sweet and velvety, with full body.
Amontillado is amber in color, naturally dry but with a deep fresh nutty aroma. Smooth and full bodied. A wonderful aperitif and a good match for white meats, oily fish and mature cheese.
Palo Cortado is a hybrid of Fino and Oloroso as the yeast is allowed to develop and then die off. This produces a bright mahogany-colored wine with a hazelnut bouquet and a dry palate.
Medium is an amber to mahogany colored wine with a delicate bouquet and slightly sweet. It’s basically a sweetened Oloroso and also called brown, golden milk or rich Sherry.
Pedro Jimenez is made from one of the other types of Sherry grape. It is normally used to color and sweeten other sherries, but is also drunk on its own. Very sweet.
Moscatel or Moscat is a dark mahogany-colored wine, produced from the other grape variety used in Sherry. It is normally used to sweeten other sherries, and is a smooth, sweet wine with an aroma or raisins. Smooth texture but very sweet.
Store upright in a dark, quiet place before opening. This keeps oxidization to a minimum and ensures the taste is kept as vibrant as possible. A good sherry can be safely stored unopened for 18-36 months, depending on the type of sherry. There is one rule to remember: once opened the flavor starts to fade, so sherry must be refrigerated to keep it as fresh as possible.
Non-alcoholic, sweet white wine or chicken stock Regular drinking sherry can replace cooking sherry in a recipe.