The wide and varied range of Sherry Wines could be seen as a faithful reflection of the long history and friendly, welcoming character of the Andalusian people, who pride themselves on pleasing, and adapting to , their customers and visitors. Hence the frequent claim that there is a Sherry to suit every taste and every occasion. Sherry Wines have sensory characteristics whose variations and nuances are rarely matched elsewhere in the wine world. They range in colour from the palest, clearest greenish yellow of the biologically aged wines to the darker, more opaque mahogany of the natural sweet wines, with various shades of gold, amber and chestnut brown in between.
Generoso wines are defined by the Regulations of the Consejo Regulador as dry wines (with a maximum residual sugar quantity of five grams per litre) produced from the total fermentation of must, usually produced from palomino grapes, at the end of which process a film of yeast known as "flor" appears upon the surface of the base wine.
The decision of the bodeguero to fortify the alcoholic strength of base wine to either 15 or 17 % volume determines the type of ageing which the wine will later undergo. From this point on appear the different types of Vinos Generosos.
Generoso Liqueur Wines are defined in the Regulations of the Consejo Regulador as wines obtained from the traditional practice of "cabeceo" or blending of Generoso Wines with Naturally Sweet Wines, or in certain cases with concentrated must.
These are wines with different degrees of sweetness, but always with a sugar content of over five grams per litre. According to the type of generoso wines used as a base and the final levels of sweetness of the blend, the following types of Generoso Liqueur Sherry Wines are obtained.
Naturally Sweet Sherry Wines are those obtained from must produced from over-ripe or sunned grapes, generally of the Pedro Ximénez or Moscatel varieties. This must, rich in sugars as a consequence of the sunning process of "pasificación" (which literally converts the grapes into raisins) is only partially fermented, with the aim of conserving most of its original sweetness.
In order to achieve this, wine alcohol is added once fermentation is under way. Those wines thus obtained are then aged in direct contact with the oxygen in the surrounding atmosphere, leading to them acquire a deep mahogany colour and distinctive thickness. The following types of naturally sweet wines are produced according to the variety of grape used: