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Sherry

Sherry is a wine from southern Spain. It takes its name from the British attempt to say the name of the town Jerez or Xeres as it’s called in French. Wine from the sherry region has been popular in Northern Europe since the 16th century when it was known as sack. Sack is by far the most-mentioned type of drink in the plays of Shakespeare most notably by Falstaff in Henry IV Part II who said: “If I had a thousand sons, the first humane principle I would teach them should be to forswear thin potations and to addict themselves to sack.”

Most of the vineyards of the region lie between Jerez and the towns of Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María. The wine gets its unique character from long ageing in a solera – a system of fractional blending that means that each bottle contains minute quantities of old or sometimes extremely old wine. You do sometimes see vintage releases but these are rare.

Though there are other grape varieties, the vast majority of sherry is made from palomino fino, while Pedro Ximenez (known as PX) and moscatel are grown to make sweet wines. Broadly speaking there are three types of sherry. There are those which owe their character to being aged under a layer of yeast called flor which protects the wine from oxidation. These are called finos or if they’re aged by the sea at Sanlucar they are called Manzanilla. These are usually made from the first pressing of grapes with the least amount of impurities like tannin in. Traditionally these also came from the finest chalky vineyards. They are usually fortified, have grape alcohol added, to 15% ABV but regulation that came in in 2021 states that this alcohol level can be natural. If they are aged after the flor dies, either naturally or when the alcohol is added, then these become amontillados which tend to be some of the most highly-prized wines. They are always fortified to between 17 and 20% ABV.

Some wines don’t develop flor at all so age wholly with oxygen contact. This might be because alcohol has been added to kill the yeast or because second pressings of wine contain impurities which prevent the growth of flor. Such wines are called olorosos, meaning fragrant. They are fortified to a similar alcoholic strength to an amontillado. There’s a very rare sort of wine that has the body of an oloroso but the character of an amontillado called a palo cortado - these are usually made from wines that would usually be used to make a fino or amontillado but for some reason the flor didn’t develop properly so the wine aged oxidatively.

The third type of sherry is the sweet. These are made from PX and moscatel grapes which are dried in the sun to concentrate the sugars. These tend to be enormously sweet with up to 400 grams of sugar per litre. Sherry regulations allow PX grapes grown outside the region in nearby Montilla to be used in sherry.

Historically most sherry that was exported to Northern Europe would have been blends such as cream sherry which are largely made up of oloroso wines sweetened with PX. Nowadays, however, most sherry tends to be bottled as fino, amontillado etc. You’re also starting to see the return of single vineyard bottlings like Hidalgo’s Pastrana manzanilla.

Sherry is not like other wines. The flavours tend to be nutty and floral, with dried fruit, spice and woody aromatic notes in richer wines. In fact, if you’re a whisky drinker, then you’re probably already a sherry fan as great single malts like Macallan and Glendronach owe much of their character to ageing in used sherry casks.

Lighter dry styles are great with grilled prawns, olives, and all kinds of tapas whereas richer styles are great with mature and blue cheeses, or pudding. Don’t forget that sherry makes a superb cocktail ingredient. Try a fino in place of vermouth in a Martini or use a PX to sweeten your Old Fashioned.

Lustau Amontillado Los Arcos

75cl, 18.5%
Lustau

From Lustau comes Amontillado Los Arcos, a dry Sherry made from Palomino grapes and aged in American oak casks. It boasts a good body and works fabulously as an aperitif with nuts or cheese.  More info

Lustau Amontillado Los Arcos
£19.94
Best Seller

Gonzalez Byass Nectar Pedro Ximénez

75cl, 15%
Gonzalez Byass

A top choice for enjoying as a dessert Sherry, Gonzalez Byass' Nectar Pedro Ximénez is jam-packed with sweetness (think thick caramel, dried raisin and coffee), joined by a prickle of oak-y spice.…  More info

Gonzalez Byass Nectar Pedro Ximénez
10
£17.94

Barbadillo Manzanilla

75cl, 15%
Barbadillo

A well aged extra dry Manzanilla sherry from Barbadillo. The result is a full bodied, zesty, nutty, salty sherry which serves as a perfect accompaniment to shellfish.  More info

Barbadillo Manzanilla
£11.99
Best Seller

Gonzalez Byass Matusalem Oloroso 30 Year Old (37.5cl)

38cl, 20.5%
Gonzalez Byass

Gonzalez Byass Matusalem is aged for more than thirty years and sweetened with the addition of a little Pedro Ximinez. This creates an intensely rich Oloroso.  More info

Gonzalez Byass Matusalem Oloroso 30 Year Old (37.5cl)
2
£26.74

Harveys Fine Old Amontillado 30 Year Old VORS

50cl, 19.5%
Harveys

A nutty, oaky Amontillado sherry from Harveys. This offers up notes of almond and cedar, and makes a great aperitif. 100% palomino grapes.  More info

Harveys Fine Old Amontillado 30 Year Old VORS
£55.74
Best Seller

Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Palomino Fino

75cl, 15%
Gonzalez Byass

A crisp and dry fino sherry from Gonzalez Byass. This is made using Palomino grapes and the wine is aged for around 5 years. Best served chilled.  More info

Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Palomino Fino
2
£14.99

XECO Fino

50cl, 15%
XECO

Made from the Palomino Fino grape, XECO (pronounced 'sec-co', the Spanish word for 'dry') Fino is a super refreshing and dry tipple. It's aged for four years in Andalucia in American oak casks, and…  More info

XECO Fino
£13.45

Bodegas Hidalgo Amontillado Napoleon

50cl, 17.5%
Bodegas Hidalgo

From Bodegas Hidalgo, Amontillado Napoleon is a nutty sherry, with roots in a manzanilla fed solera. A great sherry for those looking to try something drier, but not quite ready for a fino. This is…  More info

Bodegas Hidalgo Amontillado Napoleon
£14.94

Bodegas Tradición 20 Year Old Cream

75cl, 18.5%
Bodegas Tradición

A VOS Cream Sherry(!) and possibly the very best Cream Sherry around. It's made with 70% very old Oloroso and a younger Pedro Ximénez from Bodegas Tradición.  More info

Bodegas Tradición 20 Year Old Cream
£58.45

Harveys Old Palo Cortado

50cl, 19.5%
Harveys

Very dry and very nutty with a lot of depth, Harveys Palo Cortado offers notes of Christmas cake, burnt sugar, toasted hazelnut and orange zest. Very enjoyable with a cheese course!  More info

Harveys Old Palo Cortado
£50.93

Gonzalez Byass Apostoles Palo Cortado 30 Year Old (37.5cl)

38cl, 20%
Gonzalez Byass

Palo cortado sherry is a rare variety of sherry that starts its maturation under protective flor, destined to become a fino or amontillado. But partway through the maturation it loses its veil of…  More info

Gonzalez Byass Apostoles Palo Cortado 30 Year Old (37.5cl)
1
£26.74

Gonzalez Byass Cuatro Palmas Amontillado

50cl, 21%
Gonzalez Byass

Gonzalez Byass produces excellent sherry of all varieties, including the awesome Amontillado. If that happens to be your favourite style of sherry, then this will be a treat - it's a particularly…  More info

Gonzalez Byass Cuatro Palmas Amontillado
£76.94

Lustau Oloroso Emperatriz Eugenia

50cl, 20%
Lustau

A rich and nutty dry sherry from Lustau. Oloroso Emperatriz Eugenia is aged for 15 years in Jerez, Spain and if full of mouthfilling flavours of bitter chocolate, chewy nougat, and dried fruits. The…  More info

Lustau Oloroso Emperatriz Eugenia
£20.95
Best Seller

Gonzalez Byass Leonor 12 Year Old Palo Cortado

75cl, 20%
Gonzalez Byass

A rather excellent Palo Cortado sherry here from the immensely talented Gonzalez Byass. Aged for 12 years, this one has developed a full-bodied flavour profile rich in nutty elements. Always a treat…  More info

Gonzalez Byass Leonor 12 Year Old Palo Cortado
£18.24

Harveys Signature 12 Year Old Cream Sherry

50cl, 19%
Harveys

12 year old cream Sherry from top quality producer, Harveys. A handsome step up from your standard cream Sherry.  More info

Harveys Signature 12 Year Old Cream Sherry
2
£16.42

Bodegas Tradición 20 Year Old Pedro Ximénez

75cl, 15.5%
Bodegas Tradición

A V.O.S (Very Old Sherry) Pedro Ximénez Bodegas Tradición who only bottled well-aged wines at their Jerez bodega.  More info

Bodegas Tradición 20 Year Old Pedro Ximénez
1
£70.10

XECO Amontillado

50cl, 18%
XECO

An awesome Amontillado sherry from XECO, which is all about showing off how accessible sherry can be. They've done a fab job here. Bold and fruit-forward, with just a touch of salinity tucked away.…  More info

XECO Amontillado
£15.25

Gonzalez Byass Noe 30 Year Old Pedro Ximénez (37.5cl)

38cl, 15.5%
Gonzalez Byass

An intensely rich PX from Gonzalez Byass, this has been aged for more than thirty years producing a full-flavoured powerful PX.  More info

Gonzalez Byass Noe 30 Year Old Pedro Ximénez (37.5cl)
5
£26.74

Colosia Oloroso Sherry

75cl, 18%
Gutierrez Colosia

A full flavoured Oloroso sherry from Colosia, a brand which has only recently started bottling its sherries under its own name. Colosia was originally one of the Almacenistas (small bodegas which…  More info

Colosia Oloroso Sherry
£25.44

Lustau Palo Cortado de Jerez

50cl, 21%
Lustau

Wonderful Palo Cortado sherry from Bodegas Lustau. Matured in American oak in a small solera of 22 butts. Extraordinary stuff, this is intensely dry with plenty of nutty character and a wonderfully…  More info

Lustau Palo Cortado de Jerez
£27.95

Harveys Pedro Ximénez 30 Year Old

50cl, 16%
Harveys

A great old Pedro Ximénez from Harveys that represents good value for money.  More info

Harveys Pedro Ximénez 30 Year Old
2
£55.94
Price Drop

Gonzalez Byass Una Palma Fino

50cl, 15.5%
Gonzalez Byass

From the Gonzalez Byass Palmas series of unfiltered En Rama sherries comes Una Palma Fino. The liquid is selected from casks which, despite being older than six years, still retain a delicate…  More info

Gonzalez Byass Una Palma Fino
£17.65
£15.94

Argüeso 1822 Pedro Ximénez

50cl, 15%
Argueso

Another top sherry from Argüeso, this one was made with Pedro Ximénez grapes grown in Montilla! It was aged in an American oak solera system, full of viscous, rich fruity sweetness. It'll go…  More info

Argüeso 1822 Pedro Ximénez
£15.98

Bodegas Tradición 30 Year Old Oloroso

75cl, 20%
Bodegas Tradición

A very highly rated Oloroso Sherry bottled from a Solera system that contains some very old wines indeed!  More info

Bodegas Tradición 30 Year Old Oloroso
£59.46
Best Seller

Croft Particular Sherry

75cl, 17.5%
Croft

This is Amontillado is a smooth Sherry from Croft, best known for their Port.  More info

Croft Particular Sherry
£13.25

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