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A Love Letter to Sherry

A Love Letter to Sherry


It’s the driest wine in the world; and the sweetest. It’s as pale as straw; and as dark as molasses. It’s an incredible number of things across its own spectrum of expression and style. But perhaps more than anything else, Sherry is misunderstood


Sherry has had an interesting history in the States. For a long period of time, sweet and inexpensive bulk Sherry flooded the American market so pervasively that nearly every bar across the country had a dusty bottle of sweet ‘cream Sherry’ on its shelf. So what’s the misunderstanding? That bulk style of  Sherry has almost no relation to the spectrum of the drink from Jerez and provides about as much context to experiencing the beverage as tasting an apple Jolly Rancher does for experiencing an apple. 


Sherry is a weirdo. It defies the conventional wisdom of the entire rest of the world of wine. For one, the specific grape that makes it up need only be high quality and consistent. Otherwise, the rest of all the expression and finesse of these wines comes from what happens inside the bodega. And a lot does happen. The bodegas of Jerez are expansive cathedrals lined with seemingly endless barrels. Dusty floors that help control temperatures when doused with water. Beams of sunlight shooting through towering windows with shutters for controlling the winds (and humidity) that whip through them. The barrels of sherry are stacked and sorted: an orchestral dance of fractional-blending that makes a final bottle of Sherry the sum of so many years of harvests and aging. There’s living layers of flor, and the banishing of the same, that allow for oxidized and non-oxidized versions: and in the case of Amontillado sherry, famous by way of Edgar Allen Poe, both


Fino, Manzanilla, Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Oloroso, Pedro Ximénez – these are the types of Sherry whose names often elicit a vague memory of a menu you read once upon a time. If you frequent craft cocktail bars, you’ve seen them written over and over again. They’re the supporting actors, and sometimes the stars, of cocktails from London to LA. Sherry brings a layer of complexity and flavor, most often without adding any sweetness, that’s unmatched. Bone dry and often salty, the entire spectrum of dry Sherries pair with nearly every classical Spanish dish. Because of that, they’ve engrained themselves as beloved favorites of bartenders and chefs alike. 


Sherry may be misunderstood. But understanding her means an endless exploration down a rabbit-hole that goes on forever. The more you know, the more you don’t, and we’re completely in love with that.  


Sherry Triangle

Sherry Triangle by: Drew McConnell