Sherry is one of the emblematic wine of Spain and its particular aging process, make it a unique wine. Perhaps the Spanish wine more recognized globally. It is usually dry, with super sweet exceptions, that accompany marine meals with a grace and a salt shaker of the motherland, serving first as a snack and sweet as dessert wine.
Let's start by placing us on what Spain represents in the world of wine. Spain is one of the largest producers of wine in the world, ranking in third position as a producer of wine in the world, close to France and Italy, first and second respectively. Among the three countries, they produce half of the wine on the planet.
Some scholars locate the beginnings of viticulture in Spain around 1100 BC, when the Phoenicians introduced the first vines in the peninsula. The wine that was produced for the period should be cooked so that it is not damaged. Later at some point in history this practice changed by the of adding wine alcohol, for the same purpose, to protect the wine.
In the 8th century B.C. appear in scene Greek settlers, who leave certain traces of the systematic and extensive planting of vineyards. A century more, the Romans started the expansion of the Empire, which will influence a decisive, the Mediterranean including, of course, the Iberian peninsula.
Towards the year 711 it begins dominating Arabic of Spain, the current city of Jerez, Arabic "Sherish" called, and despite a ban on the Quran alcohol intake, is continued drinking wine in the region. The vineyards are reduced on the orders of the Caliph to a third in the year 966.
Around 1,500, with the reconquest by Alfonso X, the wise, Sherry Wine takes its natural peak. At the time wine was exported to England, where it was known as "Sherry".
"Sherry" gets fashionable in the Court English, about the year of 1.587, when the fleet of Francis Drake attacked Cadiz and Jerez, taking more than 3,000 Wineskins as booty.
For the 15th century "Sherry" is exported to England, France, the Netherlands and America.
From 1.682, several English entrepreneurs bring capital to Jerez, founding wineries such as: Garvey, Duff-Gordon, Wisdom & Warter, Osborne. Then continue Spanish repatriated capital founding wineries such as: Gonzalez, Marquis of Misa, as well as French capital founded: Domecq and Lacave.
They resonate today names such as Sandeman, Harvey, Byass, Terry, Domecq, Garvey and Williams & Humbert, as well as various mergers between the previous ones.
DENOMINATIONS OF ORIGIN
The classification of Spanish wines was similar to those found in Europe until the enactment of the new law of vine and wine of 2003, which introduced deep modifications that still keep alive the discussion around it. Why not delve into the same and go direct to the denomination of origin Jerez.
This denomination has as synonyms Sherry and Xerez and is controlled by the Council regulator of wine of Jerez.
Takes its name from the city Andaluza de Jerez de la Frontera, and is a wine Fortificado, i.e. with added alcohol, usually dry, but with extraordinary sweet exceptions.
Unique and unrepeatable, wines are given the characteristics of soil, climate and development in its area of production; Highest quality, Albarizas, soils are soils formed mainly by organic calcium carbonate; The tropical climate, warm, bathed breeze marina full of moisture; And the process, particular and characteristic.
The D.O. Jerez covers the area known as the triangle of Jerez, which is made up of the region between three beautiful cities, Jerez de la Frontera, with Moorish and Arabic origins, Puerto de Santa María, beautiful maritime city, southwest of Jerez and Sanlúcar de Barrameda, also on the coast, but Northwest of Jerez. All located in the province of Cádiz, in the autonomous community of Andalusia.
Palomino is the predominant grape in the production of sherry. Although it is not a grape for table wines recommended by its neutral flavor and low acidity, however it is perfect for the production of sherry.
Pedro Ximénez is another important grape variety, used for sweet sherry. Regarding their origin, there is a curious story, it says that a soldier flamenco, Carlos I, to name Peter Siemens armies, brought the region German of the Rhine, a few strains of "Elbling" or "Weissable", with the passage of time Peter was changing Peter and Siemens by Ximen, giving name to the grape variety and wine producing.
LAND AND CLIMATE
Formed mainly by land Albarizas, also called "White land", they are those that produce wines of the highest quality. Are formed poLAND AND CLIMATE
Formed mainly by land Albarizas, also called "White land", they are those that produce wines of the highest quality. They are formed by organic sediments of an inland sea that covered the region in the Oligocene period. It is rich in calcium carbonate. Excellent to retain moisture during the winter to release it slowly over the summer.
There are other types of lands in Jerez, of lesser quality, barros, of dark color, primarily clay soil and sand, Golden hues, with high content of silica.
Its climate is strongly influenced by the Mediterranean, is a warm southern zone, which receives humid winds from the West, which acts as moderator of high temperatures in summer times. The region boasts 290 days of cloudless sunshine and intense luminosity. The summer nights are watered with sprays or "Indefinitely", contributing too much moisture to the vines. The rains reach the 600 l/m2 per year, falling mainly from October to may. September tends to be mainly dry, which helps the healing of the grape about to for vintage.
TYPES OF JEREZ
There are two major groups in the wines of Jerez, the fine and the Olorosos, and characteristics of each one of them come dice by the processes of development and aging. These two groups are subdivided in turn into two groups each, as are classified below:
Fine, camomile and pale, usually known as "Generous", are the product of biological ageing, which will be explained later.
Amontillados, although they tend to be called liqueur liqueur wines, only the above we refer to as generous, Amontillados are ageing and oxidative aging, which also expand later.
Oloroso, Palo Cortado and Golden, are dry liqueur wines, and receive only oxidative aging.
Pedro Ximénez, are wines sweet, natural or not, and receive oxidative aging.
GENERAL PROCEDURE FOR OBTAINING THE WINE BASE OR SOBRETABLA
Grape is harvested manually to avoid damaging it, it goes through a few machines of soft crushing, where Gets the must's "Yolk", which is the base of good wine, and immediately after presses. The must obtained is inserted into a large stainless steel tanks where starts the fermentation at a controlled temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius for a week and in which the grape sugar turns into alcohol, then spends several months, during which develops the fermentation that culminates with a wine base, which receives the name of "Sobretabla" or "Must"This last erroneous considered term for a juice already fermented, gives us the idea that the wine obtained, is very far from complete.
THE PHENOMENON OF THE FLOWER (VEIL)
Once the wines have been fortified, and whilst it still boots, occurs in the Sherry intended for Finos or manzanilla, the growth of a yeast called FLOR (Saccharomyces), this grows spontaneously on the surface, which eventually is completely covered by it, protecting the wine from oxidation. The flower only grows to a maximum of 17% alcohol. For this reason the fine lead up to 15º and the Olorosos up to 18 °.
The flower thrives on oxygen extracted from the wine and air, and Glycerin to wine making, this changes the character of the wine helping to develop their distinctive characteristics of aroma, smell and taste. Low aging flower is known as "Biological ageing".
Due to its high alcohol content, the flower does not grow in wines destined to be Olorosos. Without this protection of the oxygen in the air, the wine oxidizes as it ages. This is known as "Oxidative ageing". This feature will be very useful, because the finished wine will not rust once opened the bottle, maintaining its characteristics longer than a fine.
All Sherries, age through a unique system in the production of sherry. This system is known as Solera and consists of a chain of barrels, usually between 4 and 9 levels, used to go to aging the wine. Then it exemplifies the solera system.
1st CriaderaEn the scheme, we appreciate a slab of 4 levels, top level contains the youngest wine, and level lower, is the one containing the oldest wine, this final level is also called Solera.
SoleraNo is an imperative that the boots are placed on each other, however, when it is so easy to be conveyed between barrels wines.
When there is a new wine, begins the process of transfer, which takes place more or less well, the level lower or hearth, where this wine more aged, a part of the content, approximately between a third and half of the contents of each barrel is extracted, this wine is bottled and ready for sale.
The empty space is filled with the wine of the immediately higher level, normally called "1st Criadera", which is half filled and is filled with the wine from the level immediately suprior, i.e. "2nd Criadera", this procedure is repeated until the barrels of the upper level, which contains wines are more young, half filled, and to fill themthe newly developed "must" is used.
A cask wine is not racked completely to another boot of a lower level, but it is distributed to several barrels, contributing to the homogenization of the finished wine.
This process makes young wines are mixed with wine Ageing, becoming a wine increasingly more aged, to become the more aged and ready for sale.
While new wines will be mixing with wines, they will gradually take the characteristics of the more mature.
We can assume that each slab (last barrel of the chain), contains a small amount (increasingly decreasing), of the most ancient wines of the winery.
This system helps to standardize the quality of the wine over the years.
Since the Sherry barrels, ageing in well-ventilated and dry warehouses at ground level (rather than wet and table wines), part of the water of the wine tends to evaporate, making their relative content of alcohol will increase. As an example we see some fragrant that after 10 years of aging can have alcohol contents of up to 24%, contrasting his original 18%.
Finally it should be noted that this particular aging system makes that the Sherries do not benefit from year of manufacture (vintage).
STORAGE AND SERVICE
The Sherries are stored with the bottle stop, in a cool environment and the general care of any wine.
The Finos and Manzanillas are taken cold, between 4 ° and 7 °, Amontillados between 10th and 12th and the Olorosos and Pedro ximenez between 10th and 12th.
Sherry in general should be taken from freshly opened bottles or that they don't have many days of uncovered and they have been refrigerated.
It is not good to keep bottles of Fino or Manzanilla for more than three months. Other types of sherry, more alcohol and more oxidized the olorosos, sweets, etc. They may be kept for a longer time.
Finos and Manzanillas, go very well with almonds, olives, shrimps or prawns, and in general all kinds of seafood. As well as all kinds of Spanish tapas.
Amontillado, but they go well with Tapas, also accompany soups, cheese, ham, salami and sausages in general.
Fragrant and stick cut go better with nuts, olives, and hard cheeses including the manchego.
All the sweet Sherries, well accompany desserts.
Its particular taste brings to mind the sea. So it accompanies the sea fruits in an impeccable manner. It goes very well with the majority of Mediterranean products, such as olives, almonds and dried fruit in general, as well as the local cheeses.