Enjoying Sherry

How to store Sherry Wine
Some Sherry Wines, particularly Fino and Manzanilla, due to their light, dry and delicate character, are best consumed within several months after being bottled. Today, modern bottling technology allows us to enjoy such wine´s original character for as long as 18 months after having been racked off the solera, providing the wine has been stored properly. Amontillado Sherry should not be kept in the bottle for too long either; between 24 and 36 months maximum. After these periods these wines can loose some of their "freshness", together with some of their most distinctive characteristics. However,  this is a very gradual process, highly dependent on the circumstances in which the wine has been stored. Wines made through long oxidative ageing processes, such as Oloroso, Cream or Pedro Ximenez Sherrys, keep their characteristics untouched for years and even decades, depending of course on the intrinsic quality of the wine. Like most wines, it is important to remember that a loss of primary characteristics accelerates once the  bottle has been opened. For example, a bottle of Fino or Manzanilla Sherry will keep for longer than a week in the fridge, but will not be at its best. Amontillado can be kept for a few weeks and other more oxidised wines even months.

How should we keep the bottles? Unopened bottles should be kept in a dark, quiet place without thermal or acoustic oscillations. Unlike other wines, it is advisable that the bottles are stored upright in order to keep the surface of wine exposed to oxidation to a minimum. Once a bottle is opened it should be kept always corked and preferably in the refrigerator. If there is not much wine left ... then find a good excuse to finish it off!

How to serve Sherry
What are the correct glasses for serving Sherry? In order to appreciate fully each and every organoleptic characteristic of our wines, the classical catavinos Sherry glass is unbeatable. If however you do not have any catavinos glasses, use white wine glasses or even Champagne flutes. The most important tip is to use thin, transparent glasses, large enough to be less than half-filled while enabling us to swirl the wine around to release its subtle qualities. The shape of the glass must help concentrate the bouquet yet without "suffocating" the wine which itself must be able to bloom and breathe while the stem must be long enough for us to hold the glass without warming the wine.

What is the best temperature for serving Sherry?
This depends on the time of year and personal taste. In fact we might say that there are no hard and fast rules except the Fino and Manzanilla should be served chilled, at between 7º and 9º C. The usual serving temperatures for other Sherry wines are:

°  Pale cream: 10C.
°  Medium: 10º - 11 C.
°  Cream: 13º C (although it is also delicious on the rocks).
°  Amontillado and Dry Oloroso: 13 - 14º C.
°  Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel: 15º C. (in warm weather, this style is also pleasant on the rocks).

Sherry Wine and Gastronomy

Although Sherry and Manzanilla are the aperitif drinks par excellence, the possibilities of Sherry Wines go much further. The suggestions below are but a few, since the combinations of these wines with good food have no limits other than your own imagination:

° Fino and Manzanilla, served well-chilled, are ideal aperitifs. Moreover, they are the perfect accompaniment for "tapas" (hors d'oeuvres), seafood, white fish and mild cheeses.
°  Amontillado is an ideal wine to accompany soups and consommés, white meats, blue fish and strong cheeses.
° Medium Sherry, served slightly chilled, is the perfect wine to accompany pates and quiches.
°  Oloroso is the best Sherry Wine to serve with game and red meats.
°  Pale Cream, served chilled, is an excellent wine to accompany foie gras and fresh fruit.
°  Cream is the most appropriate Sherry Wine to accompany sweet pastries. And
°  Finally, Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel are ideal wines to serve with all types of pastries and blue cheeses and chocolates.

Sherry wine is also used widely in cooking both for macerating and adding zest to numerous dishes, giving them new notes and that special personal touch. For example...

Recipe: Gilthead "Yolanda"

1 one and a half-kilo gilthead,
3 leeks,
2 carrots,
2 shallots,
2 onions,
1 stick of white celery,
70 gr of flour,
1 large glass of Fino or Manzanilla,
80 gr of butter,
1 small glass of cream,
salt, pepper and parsley.

Preperation: Wash the gilthead and dry with a cloth, seasoning with salt and pepper. Dice the leeks and carrots. Wash and chop the leeks. Brown the vegetables in the butter. When they begin to brown, add the wine and two glasses of water and season and cook for fifteen minutes. Pre-heat the oven to a medium temperature.
Place the gilthead on an oven plate, and cover with the vegetables and bake for twenty minutes. Remove the fish from the oven and immediately place it on a serving dish. Strain the juice. Make a roux with the butter and flour. Cook for three minutes, slowly adding the strained juice and the cream. Once it has been stirred well, leave it to simmer and then cover the fish with the hot sauce. Serve with steamed potatoes.


  • Recipe: Artichokes in Sauce


    PREPARATION: Chop the parsley and onion very finely; crush the garlic and peppercorns; peel the artichokes, leaving just the heart. Place the artichokes in a saucepan with all the other ingredients, the olive oil and salt, cover with water and cook till tender.
    Serve with a glass of Fino or Amontillado.

  • Recipe: Almejas a la Marinera
    (Clams in Fisherman's sauce)

    Half a kilo of clams
    A spoonful of flour
    A glass of Fino or Manzanilla
    4 or 5 garlic cloves chopped
    A large pinch of chopped parsley

    Preperation: Heat the frying pan on a moderate flame, add the clams and wait until they start to open. Once open, remove then from the heat together with their juices. In the same frying pan, add a little oil and fry the chopped garlic until golden. Add the clams again. In a glass, mix the Fino or Manzanilla, a spoonful of flour and a little chopped parsley. Add to the pan and leave for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens. Serve immediately.