Sherry Wine News

Unlocking Sherry's secrets

Sherry Wines UK reports back after a lesson in Sherry school with César Saldaña, director general of the Consejo Regulador de los Vinos Jerez-Xérès-Sherry y Manzanilla. This time we're looking at biological ageing, and unlocking the secret behind Sherry.

This masterclass unveiled the secrets of biological ageing, one of two ways Sherry ages in the bodega. The session detailed what exactly ‘flor’ is and how it gives Sherry its uniqueness. Guests learnt the science behind ‘flor’ and then, more rewardingly, enjoy a wide-ranging tasting of nine superb examples of Finos and Manzanillas, including some rare old wines, as well as, on-trend, ‘en rama’ styles too.

Despite seeing the presentation more times than most there is always something new that leaps out and sticks in our mind. This time it was how important 'rocío' is to keeping the flor alive, by feeding it air and keeping it active. Whilst winemakers want to minimise the impact upon the ‘flor’ - when drawing the next 'saca' and progressing the crideras through the solera - the slight disruption is actually beneficial.

There is much talk about how long flor lasts and when asked, César explained that this is something that will vary from bodega to bodega, depending on their own microclimates, including their location, how many times they extract (saca), humidity, their yeast strains... It's generally agreed that on average it will be up to 8-9-10 years. But you will find some Fino and Manzanilla with more age than this - which technically would make them amontillado but then as the Consejo say, they explain what the bodegas have in common, the producers will tell you what makes them different to each other.

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Those who attended said afterwards what an excellent opportunity the tasting presented to really study the difference between Fino and Manzanilla. It is often said to be a fine line, but when you have such a carefully chosen selection, as a taster, you have a moment of revelation, that you've finally got it, the difference between the two! You just need to remember it and test your palate in less favourable conditions. Have fun trying and let us know how you define it...

Sherry Wine tasting list:

  1. Fino La Ina, Lustau
  2. Manzanilla La Gitana, Bodegas Hidalgo – La Gitana
  3. Fino, Harveys
  4. Manzanilla Solear, Barbadillo
  5. Tío Pepe en Rama 2016, González Byass
  6. Manzanilla (pasada) La Goya, Delgado Zuleta
  7. Fino Perdido, Sánchez Romate
  8. La Guita en Rama, Rainiera Pérez Marín
  9. Fino Antique, Bodegas rey Fernando de Castilla

This event took place at The Big Fortified Tasting in London/UK on Friday 22 April, 2016.

If you are interested in attending future Sherry masterclasses check for news and updates on our website or contact us.

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Sherry Wines UK
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Sherry Wines UK @sherrywinesuk
25 April 2016
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Victoria Frutos Climent
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