SPAIN. Let me share with you a brief guide to the wines of nine boroughs, lands shared by the regions of Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto de Santa María, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Chipiona, Trebujena, Rota, Puerto Real, Chiclana de la Frontera and Lebrija. Within this region, the most notable production area is called “Jeréz Superior”.


Varietals approved by the consejo regulador, the regulating council for this area, are: La Palomino Fino, Pedro Ximénez, and the Moscatel.

A significant year for the Sherry wine trade was 1996, when a law was issued that only wines from the Cádiz D.O. (“Denominación de Orígen”) have the legal right to use the word “Sherry” on the labels of wine bottles.

Production of Sherry is singular; it goes by the name of the “solera system,” and takes place in oak barrels, which is a generic name that refers to a system where the oldest wines are aged.


In this system, white Palomino grapes are crushed and the juice is fermented in stainless steel or cement tanks. After this, the wine is lightly fortified with grape spirits. The fortified wine is then poured into barrels and set aside for a year or more to develop its complexity.

In addition, wines under the umbrella of this D.O. should have a minimum age of three years to be ready for consumption, and are divided in two big groups: Finos and Manzanillas.

These former groups are bred under a layer of leaveners, which helps the formation of aldehydes during the biological ageing of some wines like wines from: Jerez, Montilla, Rueda, and some from Jura (France).

Types of fine sherry available in the region include:

  • Manzanilla
  • Fino-Amontillado
  • Palo Cortado

Types of sherries-oloroso include:

  • Oloroso
  • Cream
  • Pedro Ximénez


The best foods to pair with Sherry are seafood or the well-known”Spanish tapas.” Serve the wine cold. If you serve sherry at a social event or buy it at a restaurant, make sure the sherry, fino or manzanilla, is fresh. Freshness of this wine is crucial, because it will make a difference in the quality of its flavor.

At some restaurants, once servers have opened a bottle of sherry, fino or manzanilla, the bottle often times remains open for long periods of times, which results in the oxidation of the product. Once a bottle of sherry is opened, keep it no more than one day. Fino and manzanilla, oxidize or turn rancid once exposed to air. In Jerez it’s usually sold in half bottles, which in the end is more practical and ideal for a meal. Amontillados, olorosos and creams will last much longer. Try to buy sherry from a trusted source to ensure the integrity of your next bottle of sherry. There is also the classic sweet sherry that may be paired with desserts as well.