Many visitors to Spain might think of sherry as a sickly sweet drink for grandmas, but here in Seville, it’s so much more!
Sherry wines in Seville are an integral part of local culture. They’re everything from the drink of choice at the April Fair to a sweet finale after an amazing meal. But what exactly is sherry, anyway? And how do you know which of the many varieties you should order? This introduction to sherry wines in Seville will answer those questions and more. Get ready to drink like a local!
What is sherry?
Simply put, sherry is a type of fortified wine hailing from sunny Andalusia. In fact, in order to officially earn the name sherry, it needs to come from one of three towns: Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María, or Sanlúcar de Barrameda. This area not far from Seville is known as the “sherry triangle.”
Want to learn more about sherry wines in Seville? The video below will take you inside Las Teresas (Calle Santa Teresa, 2), one of our favorite sherry bars in the city, where local expert Cyra shares more fun facts!
So now you know what sherry is, but which one should you order? Here’s a breakdown of the most popular sherry wines in Seville among locals. We’re sure there’s one (or more) you’ll love, too!
Fino & Manzanilla
Crisp, dry and perfectly refreshing on a hot day: that’s what you’ll get when you order a fino sherry. The lightest in color of the wines along the sherry spectrum, it’s the driest among sherry wines in Seville. Biologically aged under a layer of yeast (known as flor) for an entire year, the result is a perfectly refreshing wine with an amazing ability to stimulate your taste buds. (That’s why many locals will order a glass as an aperitif!) It’s also a popular drink among attendees at the annual feria de abril, Seville’s most famous party.
Another of the most popular sherry wines in Seville is manzanilla. While similar to fino in terms of the aging process, the main difference here is that manzanilla sherries can only be produced in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. The breezy coastal climate in this picturesque town produces a thicker layer of yeast, which in turn results in an even drier wine. In fact, manzanilla is one of the driest wines in the world!
One of the most unique sherry wines in Seville, what makes amontillado stand out is its dual aging process. It starts out under a layer of yeast, much like fino and manzanilla. Then, from there, it continues aging with no yeast on top, exposed directly to the air. This results in a lighter, smooth-tasting sherry with a beautiful amber color (though it’s still considered a white wine!).
Amontillado sherries can vary in color and taste depending on how much time they spend in each of the two stages. Those that spend more time under the yeast will be drier and lighter in color. At the same time, amontillados that spend more time without the yeast will be darker and have a nuttier flavor with more hints of wood, due to the more direct contact with the barrel.
One of the darkest on the spectrum of sherry wines in Seville, oloroso sherry is exposed completely to the air throughout the aging process. The absence of the layer of yeast results in a richer, nuttier flavor than finos and amontillados.
Oloroso sherry can reach a surprisingly high alcohol content—sometimes as much as 20 percent. This is due to its longer aging process, which gets rid of the majority of water that the wine contains. As a result, the alcohol level is stronger. However, this also allows for a greater concentration of flavor notes, resulting in a richer tasting wine.