Sherry is a particular and distinct variety of wine, originating from the Spanish city of Jerez and the surrounding areas. Despite sherry’s unique geographical origin, the fortified wine exists in more than one variety, and you’ll have many different types of sherry to choose from if you’re interested in trying this class of wine. Sherry is typically divided into three categories–generosos, vinos generosos de licor, and vino dulce natural.
Types of Sherry–Generosos
The Generoso type of sherry is one of the earlier, traditional categories of Jerez wine. It’s aged according to a specific process before bottling unique to wines of the Jerez area. Often called “flor,” this process refers to the spontaneous occurrence of a thin film of yeast on the surface of the fermented sherry.
Varieties of Generoso sherry include the following:
- Amontillado, aged with the flor process and then passed through oxidative ageing. High alcohol content of 16 to 22 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).
- Fino, another flor-aged sherry with a dry taste and 15 percent ABV, served cold.
- Manzanilla, specifically referring to fino sherry made in the area of Sanlucar de Barrameda.
- Oloroso, aged in a process similar to Amontillado sherry with a similarly high alcohol content. Ideal for pairing either with red meat or as a dessert wine.
Vinos Generosos de Licor
This type of sherry refers to wines made according to the Generoso process and then sweetened with no less than 5 grams of sugar per liter.
- Cream sherry: Combines the full flavor of an Oloroso with a strong sweetness.
- Medium: Less full-bodied than cream sherry, sometimes called golden, amoroso or abocado sherry.
- Pale cream sherry: Pale yellow in color, a marked difference from traditional amber-colored cream sherry, with a sugar content between 115 and 145 grams per liter.
Vino Dulce Natural Sherry
These wines go through a process of fermenting and fortifying sherry that’s different from either Genoroso or sweet Genoroso sherries. Vinic alcohol is added at the end of the fermentation process, as opposed to other sherry types which only contain naturally occurring alcohol.
- Moscatel sherry: Made from sun-dried grapes of the moscatel varietal, which is sometimes used for other types of wines.
- Pedro Ximenez sherry: This dark, mahogany-colored sherry has a very sweet raisin taste due to a large amount of naturally occurring sugar.