Sherry is the wine world’s most underestimated wine. Sherry gives you a lot for your money. Sherry is the world’s most character-filled wine. Few wines go as well with tricky food combinations as Sherry. Despite this, little Sherry is really consumed, even among sommeliers and wine connoisseurs. It makes you wonder why. This is what the award-winning wine connoisseur Anders Öhman writes. Although this is not the case in Andalucía: Here is were Sherry comes from and were it is most enjoyed. All wines that are called Sherry must
come from the province of Cádiz between Jerez, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Puerto de Santa María – except in the USA. We drove about 100 km north to find out more about Sherry’s less known cousin in the wine district of Montilla-Moriles D.O. Here the cellars are older, smaller and more intimate, but the wine is at least just a great as the best Sherrys. Bodegas, Alvear, Marenas, Pérez Barquero, Cruz Conde, la Aurora ... Few tourists make their way here, and here Pedro Ximénez is grown.
There are many stories about the Pedro Ximénez grape. For a long time many thought that this varietal was related to Riesling, but today’s DNA has shown its origin to be Al-Andalus and that it was probably brought to the Iberian peninsula by the Moors. On the other hand no one is able to say exactly who Pedro Ximénez was. Today, it is grown in many places, but in Montilla-Moriles the soil, sun and wind are perfect. Some of the must is even exported to Jerez. The grape harvest begins in late August, monitored under strict control.
Several different types of sherry wines are made from Pedro Ximénez. Edgar Allen Poe’s Amontillado is not the only one.
FINO: is the most common type. It’s clear and light, often yellow or a light olive hue. The fragrance is complex and subtle, with hints of almond, tobacco and even anise. The taste is dry with some bitterness, full-bodied and prolonged. Fino is perfect with tapas, 14 – 16% alcohol.
AMONTILLADO: is a Fino which has matured under the right conditions to become a beautiful amber. It’s a complex wine – dry, smooth and full-bodied at the same time. Great with aged cheese, 16 – 18% alcohol.
OLOROSO: It’s said to be the king of fortified wines with its wonderful mahogany color and silky taste. Drier, more full-bodied and often darker than amontillado, it has an intensive nose of dried fruit. Great as it is, it’s a perfect aperitif, 18 – 20%.
PEDRO XIMENEZ: is a delicacy made from the varietal of the same name, very ripe and dried in the sun, sweet, rich and best cool, related to sweet Muscat wine from Málaga. 15 – 17% alcohol.
JOVEN: is the only wine which is really not of the sherry type, rather a normal white wine. Sometimes blended with other varietals. It’s light in color, dry and fruity and is great with shellfish. It has around 10 – 12% alcohol.