Learn the geography, grape varieties, climate, soil, wine styles, and producers of Sherry plus the solera process and system.
What is the general climate of Jerez?
What are the 2 winds that affect Jerez?
- Levante - hot, dry wind that blows from the east (can be damaging).
- Poniente - cool, humid, westerly wind (encourages flor).
What training methods are commonly found in Jerez?
What soil type is the Jerez region known for?
What kind of soil is Albariza?
How does it help grapes grow in such a hot place like Jerez?
It is a deep, well-draining soil with high chalk content.
Albariza stores water extremely well – enough for the vines to tolerate the hot, dry summers.
It forms a hard crust that decreases water evaporation from the soil.
What condition are vines in Jerez susceptible to and why?
Vines in Jerez are susceptible to chlorosis because of the high limestone content in the soil.
Compared to other Spanish wine regions, what is the annual rainfall of Jerez?
When does it usually fall?
Jerez’s average annual rainfall compared to other regions is high (~650mm per year, falling mostly between in autumn/winter).
How do Jerez viticulturists maximize water collection for their vines?
After harvest they dig water collection troughs, or channels, between rows meant to capture any rain that falls during the autumn and winter. These troughs are purposefully dug to direct the collected water towards the vines, reducing run-off and increasing potential water retention.
These troughs are smoothed out in the spring.
What are the 3 towns in which Sherry must be matured?
- Jerez de la Frontera
- Sanlúcar de Barrameda
- El Puerto de Santa Maria
What are the 2 DOs of Sherry?
- Jerez de la Frontera DO
- Sanlúcar de Barrameda DO
What are the 3 main grapes of Jerez?
- Pedro Ximenez (PX)
- Muscat of Alexandria (aka Moscatel)
What is the most planted grape in Jerez?
Palomino accounts for the vast majority (~90%) of all plantings in Jerez.
Palomino is a neutral grape that’s uniformly low in acid.
Why is Palomino ideal for Sherry production?
Because the styles of wines in Sherry are largely defined by either biological or oxidative maturation, Palomino’s low acidity and low aromatic profile make it ideal for this kind of production.
What usually happens to Palomino grapes after they are picked?
Palomino grapes are pressed immediately to prevent unwanted oxidation.
What style of wine is the first press of Palomino usually destined for?
What is the standard cask size in Sherry?
Traditional Jerez producers will not ferment their Palomino juice in stainless steel, but rather in this vessel.
600 liter neutral oak butts
Barrels used in Sherry are typically French or American?
The use of American oak in Spain dates back to colonial times; American oak also has tight pores.
Only neutral barrels are used in Sherry production.
What is the typical fermentation temperature range for Palomino?
22º - 26ºC (72º - 79º F)
True or False:
Sherries made with Palomino grapes are always fermented dry.
True - Palomino juice is always fermented dry (Fino, Oloroso, Amontillado).
Sherries such as Medium and Cream are based on Palomino juice but have sweeteners added to them after fermentation as an adjustment.
Which two grapes in Jerez are not fermented to dryness?
Pedro Ximenez and Muscat of Alexandria
Note: Muscat of Alexandria is labeled as Moscatel in Sherry.
In Jerez, what usually happens to Pedro Ximenez grapes after they are picked?
The grapes are laid on mats to dry in the sun for 1-3 weeks, known as the soleo or asoleo process. This drying in the sun concentrates sugars.
What are the two overarching styles of Sherry?
- Biologically aged (e.g. Fino)
- Oxidatively aged (e.g. Oloroso)