The sherry shpectrum

There are dry sherries and sweet or sweetened sherries and a lot of types of each. This photo is from an introductory tasting at Gonzalez Byass and is not comprehensive but gives an idea of the styles.

Fino – front left (Tio Pepe) the young (or not) and pure, 3 years or more under flor and totally dry. Can be made from palomino or pedro ximenez – when the solera is in Sanlucar it is known as manzanilla (and will have a more floral, saline character).

Amontillado – behind the fino (Viña AB) is saucy, a few years with flor and a few (or a lot) without.

Oloroso – to the right of the fino (Alfonso) is mellow and oaky, made purely by oxidative/traditional ageing (no flor at all). Again, can be palomino or px. 

Pedro Ximenez – behind the oloroso (Nectar) is a sweet wine made from raisined grapes of the same name. Unbelievable fruit and sugar bomb.

Cream – behind the amontillado (Solera 1847) is generally an oloroso blended with some px (this one is about 75/25). This is the wine beloved of Miss Marple. There is also a “pale cream” (Croft) which I believe involves moscatel.

Then (at the back) we have the big boys from GB’s range: the Del Duque (very old amontillado); the Apostoles (a very old palo cortado with just a touch of px); Matusalem (very old sweetened oloroso); and Noe (very old PX).

But as I said, this is not the full range – there is also a palo cortado (Leonor), Tio Pepe en rama, four exquisite selected wines known as  Palmas (“Una Palma”, “Dos Palmas”, etc) and, when the mood takes them, some single vintage palo cortados that are frankly amazing.


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