What is sherry?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question” What is sherry?” with an in-depth analysis of the recipe for making sherry. Moreover, we are going to highlight its different types.

What is sherry?

Sherry is a fortified wine. While Sherry is often known as a sweet wine, it was traditionally made dry. Sherry wines have been sweetened to make the tasty dessert wines in recent years that people are more familiar with. This is commonly known as Cream Sherry.

Sherry is known as a highly alcoholic wine. It ranges from approximately 15% ABV to an incredibly boozy 22%. This means you can enjoy it at the end or beginning of a meal, similar to Port. 

How to make sherry?

Sherry is fortified with a spirit. This spirit is made from grapes which then, in turn, are aged in old Sherry casks. Sherry is made from Palomino grapes, but you can also use some old concentrate instead of throwing it away, or you can buy some at greatly reduced prices.

You can drink sherry for up to 2-3 years, though it will improve with much longer aging. 

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 5-gram package of sherry flor yeast
  • 5 liters of white grape juice concentrate
  • 21 liters water
  • 7.5 pounds sugar
  • 1/3 teaspoon sulfite crystals
  • 1/3 tablespoon acid mixture ‘B’
  • 2 teaspoons yeast nutrient
  • 13 grams of precipitated chalk (calcium carbonate) per gallon
  • 30 ml of natural oak essence (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare yeast 24 hours in advance.
  2. Mix juice concentrate, 20 liters of warm water, 6 pounds of sugar, sulfite crystals, acid mixture, and yeast nutrient.
  3. Adjust acidity( Sulphuric) to 4.5 parts per thousand (ppt) and specific gravity to 115.
  4. Set aside 2 cups of this preparation and add 1/4 of the prepared yeast to these 2 cups.
  5. Add remaining yeast to the must and stir it well.
  6. Cover the fermentor and keep it near the furnace (you need a place with high fluctuations in temperature).
  7. When the process of fermentation has started, add the 2 cups that were set aside.
  8. On the third day of the fermentation process, feed the yeast with 1.5 pounds of sugar dissolved in 1 liter of water.
  9. Allow the process of fermentation to go for another 4-5 days while stirring twice a day.
  10. In the end, put 13 grams of precipitated chalk per gallon into gallon jugs and give them a good shake.
  11. Put on airlocks without water. To allow some oxidation use cotton balls.
  12. Keep at fluctuating temperature for 9-10 months undisturbed  – this allows a floor to form on the surface within 4 months. If no flour appears within 5 months, or as soon as flour drops into the wine, rack, sweeten, and fortify with 1 cup of brandy.
  13.  Before bottling, age in gallon jugs for 2-3 years. Don’t worry about oxidization; it’s beneficial.
  14. Add natural oak essence before bottling.

Types of Sherry Wine:

There are many different kinds of Sherry wine. We can enjoy Sherry wine in different styles, which can taste completely different from each other. You can achieve it by changing the way the wine is produced, usually by varying the aging process.

There are five types of Sherry wine you should know about.

Fino:

The word Fino means “refined” in Spanish. It is the most common Sherry wine. This is the driest of all the varieties. They are usually only aged 4-7 years. They are consumed when young.

Manzanilla:

Manzanilla, which is the Spanish word for “chamomile,”. Manzanilla is a subcategory of Fino because they are made using similar methods. Manzanilla is produced only in a specific region of Southern Spain which is called Andalusia.

While Fino and Manzanilla share similar production methods.

Amontillado:

Amontillado starts its life as a Fino. but after then it is fortified and transforms into a richer, darker wine. This Sherry is enjoyed dry. Amontillado can be sweetened during the winemaking process.

Amontillado Sherry has a darker color than Fino and Manzanilla. The reason behind this is that it has a longer aging process.

Palo Cortado:

Palo Cortado is a rare variety. It was first made by accident. If the protective flor dies unexpectedly during the winemaking process, the wine takes on oxygen, changing the flavor. Palo Cortado was discovered in this way, but now some winemakers purposely oxidize Sherry to produce this variety.

Oloroso:

Oloroso is called a rich, dark, and highly alcoholic wine. Its range is 17-22% ABV. These wines can be aged for decades. They result in deeply complex Sherries with plenty of aromatic spices.

Oloroso Sherry is dry. You can sweeten it to make dessert wines. This sherry needs to be legally labeled as “Cream Sherry.”

Here, you can find the sherry production process.

Conclusion:

In this brief guide, we answered the question” What is sherry?” with an in-depth analysis of the recipe for making sherry. Moreover, we discussed its types.

Citations:

https://www.homebrewit.com/pages/homemade-sherry-recipe

https://usualwines.com/blogs/knowledge-base/sherry-wine

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.