Age, price, flavor and food pairings are just a few of the considerations when buying sherry. Gaining a well-rounded knowledge of sherry can improve your purchasing practices. Classes, tastings and pairing workshops can make you a connoisseur of this unique dessert wine.
Choosing the Best Sherry by Taste–Dry or Sweet
When selecting the right type of sherry, you may be deciding between a dry or a sweet sherry. This consideration carries over to choosing between other types of fortified wines such as Porto or Madeira, as these are typically available in sweet or dry varieties.
Dry sherry varieties, such as finos, manzanillas, amontillados, olorosos and palo cortados, are quite flavorful, but have little or no sweetness. The aromas and flavors of dry sherry, which can include hazelnut, almond and walnut are present in sweet sherry.
Dry sherry wines can be matched well with meals, as the flavors of the beverage won’t interfere with the tastes of the food, and they can also serve as a before-the-meal aperitif. Dry sherry can be used as a base for meat marinades as well.
Oloroso is particularly suited to red meat and game dishes, while more moderately-bodied dry sherry, such as fino, works best with lighter meals. Sweet sherry wines may also be used as aperitifs, and serve as excellent dessert wines.
Choosing Between Sherry Wines by Alcohol Content
Sherry is known for being high in alcohol content, measured in alcohol by volume (ABV) than many other non-fortified wines. The average wine, whether white, red or rose (pink), generally stands between 12 and 14 percent ABV.
The ABV of sherry is dictated by Spanish law. Most sherry must have an alcohol content of at least 15 or 15.5 percent ABV. Some types of sherry, such as Oloroso and Palo Cortado, usually average 17 percent and can go as high as 22 percent. Depending on your subjective purposes for the wine–alongside a meal or on its own–you may want a lower or higher alcohol wine.
Finding the Best Sherry For Your Buck
You can find reasonably-priced sherrys with a little research. Bottles of reputable wines from some of the top sherry providers–such as the Domecq Sanlucar de Barrameda manzanilla sherry or the Sandeman Don Fino Jerez fino sherry–cost between $10 and $20 at certain vendors.