Sherry is a type of wine originally produced in the Jerez region of Spain. The name results from a mispronunciation of Jerez in English. Sherry is a fortified wine. Spanish producers have registered the names Jerez / Xerés / Sherry and will prosecute producers of similar wines from other places using the same name. However the name Sherry is used as a semi-generic in the United States where it must be labeled with a region of origin such as American Sherry or California Sherry.
Sherry differs from other wines because of how it is treated after fermentation. It is first fortified with spirits and then if destined to be fino style a yeast called flor is allowed to grow on top. Oloroso style is fortified to a strength where the flor cannot grow.
Sherry is then aged in the solera system where new wine is put into wine barrels at the top of a series of 4 to 9 barrels. Each year half of the wine in a barrel is moved into the next barrel down. At the end of the series only half the barrel is bottled and sold. So the youngest wine going into the bottle is as old as the number of barrels in the series and every bottle also contains some much older wine.
Sherry was a major wine export to the United Kingdom and many English companies and styles developed. Many of the Jerez cellars were founded by British families.
Some famous styles include:
- Pale Cream
- Cream Sherry
- East India Sherry
- Brown Sherry