Styles of sherry

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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The diagram above shows how commercial styles of sherry are made from the types of wine naturally formed.

Before bottling as Fino or Manzanilla styles of sherry, finos are filtered and fortified to a minimum of 15%. Some of the more commercial brands are slightly sweetened.

Finos which lose their covering of flor become a sherry type known as amontillados, turning amber in colour and changing in character due to greater contact with the air. Amontillados evolve naturally if the flor has exhausted its supply of nutrients, or the style may be induced if the flor is killed off by fortification to 16% alcohol or above. A fino beginning to take on the characteristic of an amontillado may be bottled as a fino-amontillado or, in the case of a wine from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, a Manzanilla Pasada. True Amontillados are completely dry and the finest examples age for many years in their own soleras. Most so-called ‘Amontillados’ are no more than medium-dry sherries blended from inferior quality rayas and sweet wines, however (see amontillado).