My sherry amour

– A Wine Bluffer guide

Sherry, as we all know, is a fortified wine. This means a wine that is strengthened by the addition of neutral grape brandy. Huh? Neutral grape brandy is the juice of ripe, red wine grapes, distilled to just below 95% alcohol, and then adjusted down to 40% b.v (% by volume).

With Sherry this fortification process happens after the grapes have fermented and the sugars have been turned into alcohol by the yeast. Which is different to another type of fortified wine known as Port. In Port’s case the brandy is added during fermentation. The addition of the high alcohol kills the yeast and stops the fermentation process, making Port generally sweet.

Sherry is oxidised in a bodega. This is a structure above ground where the Sherry can come into contact with the air. The barrels are filled only two thirds full and the bungs left loose to allow the air to get to the wine and oxidise it. At the end of this process the wines are fractionally blended to create distinct flavours and character.

OAK N4 stocks Cesar Florido Fino and Cesar Florido Moscatel Pasas, both from Bodegas César Florido, founded in 1887. This winery is the oldest bodega in the town of Chipiona, located near Sanlúcar, Andalucia in south west Spain, and within the Jerez denomination of origin. It operates outside of the cooperative and is one of the last of the independent bodegas left bottling from its own estate of 21 hectares.

Made from Moscatel grapes. Cesar Florido Moscatel Pasas is sweet and honeyed with lots of grapey fruit, not at all cloying. It’s a perfect match for fruity puddings. While Cesar Florido Fino is very dry and makes for a classy aperitif, made from Palomino grapes. Serve both chilled.

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