Shades of Sherry

This year at The Vancouver International Wine Festival, the host countries were Spain & Portugal. And I was able to attend a few trade seminars to learn about terroir, the wines of Rioja (1994 was one of the best vintages, fyi) and a Shades of Sherry masterclass.

Have you explored sherry? I haven’t given it the time it deserves, so I always find these classes fascinating.

Quick side story… several years ago, I travelled through Southern Spain with friends and we were headed right through the “Sherry Triangle” of Jerez (pronounced Hereth), Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto Sta. Maria. I was new to wine back then, but really wanted to learn more. We were about to pass through Jerez on our way to Seville. I was driving our rental and asked “this is where sherry is made! Do you want to stop and do a tasting?”; all 3 of them replied “naw, we’re good”; again I asked “but you guys, this is like the HOME of sherry! We can stop in quickly to just one Bodega?! Or how about you guys wait in the car and I’ll just go in and do a tasting…?”, they replied “naw let’s just go to Seville”. 😦 Note to self: don’t listen to your friends when YOU have the car keys!!!

Anyways, I’ve learned my lesson 😉

Made with the Solera System, sherry has sooo much to offer. I highly recommend you explore the different styles: Manzanilla, Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso, Palo Cortado, or Cream. From dry to sweet, they all offer such a delightful personality!

You can pair the different styles with food, or even have a glass by itself.

What is the Solera System? “Solera is a process for aging liquids by fractional blending in such a way that the finished product is a mixture of ages, with the average age gradually increasing as the process continues over many years.” And trust me, this solera system is amazing to learn about, see in action and taste it’s final product.


Here is a list of some popular brands to try & how to serve them:

Lustau – Manzanilla Papirusa – Sanlúcar de Barrameda – D.O. Manzanilla

(Dry. Serve chilled, with pate, oysters, salads, ceviche, cheese)

González Byass – Tio Pepe – Fino – D.O. Jerez-Xérès-Sherry

(Dry. Serve chilled, as apéritif or with salads, pear dish or briny, umami foods)

Alvear – Fino – D.O. Montilla-Moriles

(Nutty. Pair with Indian, spicy, nutty foods or hot-pot)

Lustau – Los Arcos – Amontillado – D.O. Jerez-Xérès-Sherry

(Light, nutty. Serve with antipasti platter, mushroom risotto, ramen or a tomato based pasta)

Lustau – Don Nuño – Oloroso – D.O. Jerez-Xérès-Sherry

(Oxidative. Pair with osso bucco, smoked meats or couscous)

González Byass – Apostoles – Palo Cortado – D.O. Jerez-Xérès-Sherry

(Rich, hint of sweetness. Pair with foie gras, onion tart or umami foods)

Lustau – East India Solera – Cream – D.O. Jerez-Xérès-Sherry

(Sweet. Serve as apéritif, or with apricot mousse or white chocolate)

González Byass – Noe – Pedro Ximénez – D.O. Jerez-Xérès-Sherry

(Sweet. No pairing needed for this one, maybe just gelato!)


Happy Sherry researching! 🙂


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